• The Financial District


Mary Trump, President Donald Trump's niece, filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing the President and his siblings of committing fraud in order to deprive her of her interests in the family real-estate empire built by Fred Trump Sr., Erica Orden reported for CNN.

In the lawsuit, filed in New York state court against the President, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry and the estate of their late brother Robert Trump, Mary Trump asserts that for the Trumps, "fraud was not just the family business—it was a way of life." The lawsuit accuses her two uncles and her aunt, a retired federal judge, of conspiring among themselves and with several other parties, including a trustee appointed to act on Mary's behalf, to give her "a stack of fraudulent valuations" and force her to sign a settlement agreement that "fleeced her of tens of millions of dollars or more. Rather than protect Mary's interests, they designed and carried out a complex scheme to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited."

Mary Trump was 16 at the time of her father's death in 1981, and she and her brother, Fred Trump III, inherited minority interests in his vast real-estate holdings. Because Mary was a teenager, the lawsuit says, a lawyer named Irwin Durben, who had been Trump Sr.'s attorney and an executive at Trump-related entities, was appointed to act as a trustee on her behalf. But Durben, who died in 2016, was "irredeemably conflicted," siding with Mary's family members over her own interests, "and ultimately acquiesced in Defendants' campaign to squeeze her out of the family business entirely."

By the 1990s, with Trump Sr. suffering from Alzheimer's, Mary Trump's lawsuit alleges, his sons Donald and Robert and his daughter Maryanne at first competed with each other, "with palace intrigue reminiscent of the HBO series Succession," but then worked together to advance their interests to the detriment of others. In 1991, Donald secretly approached Durben, according to the lawsuit, to get him to draft a codicil to give Donald complete control of his father's estate, the lawsuit says. After his father rejected the codicil, Maryanne "finished the job," securing a revised will that named her, Donald and Robert the executors of their father's estate.

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