Monday, April 15, 2024

‘Shark Tank’ Star: Trump Verdict Will Keep Future Business Out of N.Y.

'I can’t even understand or fathom the decision at all. There’s no rationale for it...'

(Matthew Doarnberger, Headline USA) Multimillionaire investor Kevin O’Leary said Monday in an interview with Fox Business host Neil Cavuto that he would never invest anywhere in the state of New York after Judge Arthur Engoron issued a controversial $355 million verdict against former President Donald Trump for what many considered to be standard business practices.

“It was already on the top of the list of being a loser state,” said O’Leary, well known to many for his appearances on the hit show Shark Tank, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their products or ideas in the hopes of getting startup capital.

“I would never invest in New York now,” O’Leary added.

Engoron’s decree on Friday also banned Trump and his two eldest sons from doing business in the state for three years, according to The Hill.

It followed a lengthy lawfare attack from far-left state Attorney General Letitia James, who had made “Get Trump” the centerpiece of her 2018 campaign platform and devoted considerable energy and expense to targeting the former president in the civil fraud trial. 

Trump plans to appeal the decision, but in the meantime he must put a portion of the assessed penalties in escrow or risk the forfeiture of his assets, including some of his prized New York real-estate holdings.

O’Leary went on to clarify in his interview with Cavuto that his personal opinion—or that of any other investor—regarding the former president had no bearing on the decision to avoid doing business in New York after the verdict.

“I mean, just leaving the whole Trump thing out of it and seeing what occurred here … and I’m no different than any other investor—I’m shocked at this,” he said.

“I can’t even understand or fathom the decision at all,” he added. “There’s no rationale for it.”

Trump himself likewise warned in his reaction to the verdict that it would have a chilling effect on other businesses, who would now fear having the same level of scrutiny turned on their business practices for political rather than criminal reasons.

“As a result of this decision, businesses are going to leave New York state, taking thousands of jobs with them because they can’t subject themselves to this,” Trump said at a speech Saturday in Michigan, according to the New York Post.

“And if this persecution of political opponents continues nobody will want to do business in the United States of America any longer,” he added.

Part of the reason for the confusion as to how a fine of this magnitude could be applied to someone without victimizing anyone financially has to do with the financial bylaws of the state.

“The New York statute has been on the books for decades and has always been something of an anomaly in not requiring an actual victim or loss to justify disgorgement or fines,” law professor Jonathan Turley explained in a recent Post op-ed.

The backlash from business leaders was severe enough to force New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to attempt some semblance of damage control, explaining in an interview that while New York did reserve the right to wage arbitrary and capricious lawfare attacks on businesses irrespective of any actual crimes committed, it would only do so if it really, really disliked or disagreed with the offending entity.

“I think that this is really an extraordinary, unusual circumstance that the law-abiding and rule-following New Yorkers who are business people have nothing to worry about, because they’re very different than Donald Trump and his behavior,” Hochul insisted, without clarifying what made Trump’s businesses exceptional apart from his political significance.

Regardless, Hochul’s reassurances will likely do nothing to slow the massive exodus from New York to more business- and tax-friendly states.

According to census data from 2022, the state lost over 100,000 people, which was more than any other that year.

O’Leary hasn’t been the only business leader to come unexpectedly to Trump’s defense after several years in which woke ESG practices have turned much of the corporate world against the GOP.

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase spoke in his defense during January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“I wish the Democrats would think a little more carefully when they talk about MAGA,” Dimon told CNBC’s Squawk Box, warning that the Left disparaged and dismissed their political opposition as extremists at their own peril.

Trump “was kind of right about NATO, kind of right on immigration,” Dimon explained. “He grew the economy quite well. Trade tax reform worked. He was right about some of China. He wasn’t wrong about some of these critical issues, and that’s why they voted for him.”

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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