President Donald Trump’s niece sued the president and several other family members on Thursday, alleging fraud.
Mary Trump alleges Trump and his siblings bilked her of financial earnings and properties she stood to gain through inheritance.
Following the death of her father, Trump’s brother, in 1981, both Mary and her brother, Fred Trump III, gained minority interests in the Trump property empire.
The minors had no knowledge or understanding of the assets, which were controlled by Trump, his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, and his surviving brother, Robert Trump, who died this year, according to the lawsuit. Irwin Durben, appointed to act as Mary’s trustee, was also allegedly part of the scheme.
“By the 1990s, Defendants were maneuvering to take control of Fred Sr’s empire” as the Trump’s father, Mary’s grandfather, approached his nineties, the suit states.
“Gripped with Alzheimer’s dementia, Fred Sr. was increasingly prone to bouts of confusion and memory loss and progressively less able to participate in the management of the Trump family business,” it continued.
“His decline presented Defendants with an opportunity to position themselves to profit from his impending death. And while at first they competed with one another—with palace intrigue reminiscent of the HBO series Succession—ultimately Defendants worked together to consolidate their power and advance their own interests at the expense of everyone else, including Mary.”
Three fraudulent schemes were carried out against Mary, her lawyers wrote: defendants siphoned value from Mary’s interests to entities they controlled, hiding what was happening through bunk business transactions, they depressed the value of Mary’s interests, and forced Mary to the negotiating table by threatening to bankrupt Mary’s interests.
Mary Trump is seeking in excess of $500,000 in compensation, as well as attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.
An attorney for the president, who is being sued in his personal capacity, did not respond to a request for comment.
“The only fraud committed there was Mary Trump recording one of her relatives and she’s really discredited herself,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at the White House in Washington on Thursday.
Mary Trump recently published a book about her dealings with her family.
Over 1 million copies have been sold, according to publisher Simon & Schuster.