In Bankruptcy, Giuliani Set a $43,000 Monthly Budget. Creditors Are Skeptical.

In Bankruptcy, Giuliani Set a ,000 Monthly Budget. Creditors Are Skeptical.

Besieged by creditors and with his income drying up, Rudolph W. Giuliani laid out an austerity program of sorts in January for a federal bankruptcy court.

He would stick to a $43,000-a-month budget, he said in court filings, roughly in line with the income he drew from his retirement accounts and Social Security. That amount would cover, among other expenses, $5,000 in alimony payments to his ex-wife Judith Giuliani, $1,050 for food and housekeeping supplies and $425 for “personal care products and services.” He was also obliged to cover $13,500 in monthly nursing-home expenses for his former mother-in-law; she died in March.

Suggesting that he was mindful of the $153 million he owes to creditors, including two Georgia election workers he defamed in the aftermath of the 2020 election, he budgeted nothing for entertainment, clubs and subscriptions.

It did not take him long to blow his budget. In another bankruptcy filing, he said he actually spent nearly $120,000 in January. The accounting of his spending that he provided to the court was spotty and incomplete. He later provided more information to the creditors’ lawyers, listing 60 transactions on Amazon, multiple entertainment subscriptions, various Apple services and products, Uber rides and payment of some of his business partner’s personal credit card bill.

It is not clear whether he has pared back his spending to within his budget in the months since January, because he has failed to submit required disclosures to the bankruptcy court. But his spending, and his inability or unwillingness to give the bankruptcy court a fuller look at his financial status, have left his creditors suspicious and angry.

A spokesman for Mr. Giuliani did not answer questions about his finances.

Once the mayor of New York City and later the personal lawyer to former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Giuliani filed for bankruptcy in December after a federal judge ordered him to pay $148 million to the two Georgia election workers for falsely accusing them of rigging the outcome in President Biden’s favor. (Mr. Giuliani plans to appeal that judgment.)

His filing listed $11 million in assets, including his Upper East Side apartment, which he put on the market last year for $6.5 million, took off the market this winter and plans to re-list, and his condo in Palm Beach, Fla., which he valued at $3.5 million.

Four months into the bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Giuliani’s financial disclosures have been incomplete, inaccurate and in some cases completely absent. His creditors have asked for more details and clarifications, hired a forensic accounting firm and made a broad request for information to see if he is hiding money and assets.

The creditors’ lawyers recently issued a slew of subpoenas for documents, communications and information to Mr. Giuliani, people who work or have worked for him and even his son.

Every additional penny that can be found in Mr. Giuliani’s pocket means a larger payout for his creditors, even if it is far less than what he actually owes them.

That is why they also want him to collect $2 million that Mr. Giuliani claims he is owed in legal fees from Mr. Trump for the work he did leading the effort to overturn the 2020 election results.

Mr. Giuliani lived a fairly frugal life during his mob-busting prosecutor and mayoral days.

“Giuliani and money is a story in and of itself,” said Andrew Kirtzman, who wrote a book on the former mayor. “It begins with him leading a very unpretentious life.”

But after leaving office, Mr. Giuliani began living a very different life, flying on private Gulfstream jets during the lucrative years of his private consulting and investment advisory businesses.

These days, Mr. Giuliani brings in about $550,000 a year through disbursements from his dwindling retirement accounts and Social Security. His creditors want him to sell his properties in New York and Florida. But Mr. Giuliani recently told the bankruptcy court he would like to keep the Florida condo and live in it, suggesting that his creditors would not want him to be homeless.

His creditors are skeptical.

“It seems hardly worth pointing out that there is a vast gulf of housing options available between residing in an approximately $3.5 million Palm Beach condominium and homelessness,” lawyers for the creditors wrote in a court filing.

His creditors also do not trust that he is being honest about the assets he does disclose.

For example, Mr. Giuliani lists among his assets an undisclosed number of shares in Uber, the ride-share service. He declared that he has $30,000 worth of jewelry, but that includes three World Series rings from the New York Yankees that creditors estimate are worth about $15,000 each.

He also failed to disclose a publishing contract for his upcoming book, “The Biden Crime Family.”

“As my mother would say, they don’t trust Giuliani as far as they could throw him,” Bruce A. Markell, a bankruptcy law professor at Northwestern’s Pritzker law school, said of the creditors, based on the actions they have taken in bankruptcy court so far.

His spending report for January was incomplete, with a list of two dozen charges to his American Express card, but no details. Lawyers for the creditors say he provided them a more detailed account, but it was not filed publicly in the court, as missing details typically are. And as of April 26, Mr. Giuliani had not provided details for his Discover card charges in January. The U.S. trustee assigned to his case did not respond to a question about why the additional details were not filed publicly in the court.

One of the two Georgia election workers he defamed, Shaye Moss, was selected by Mr. Giuliani’s creditors to serve on a three-person committee to represent their interests throughout the bankruptcy case.

The other committee members are Noelle Dunphy, a former employee who claims that Mr. Giuliani harassed and assaulted her beginning in 2019; and Lindsey Kurtz, the general counsel at Dominion Voting Systems, one of the largest voting machine vendors in the country, which has accused Mr. Giuliani of peddling falsehoods about it after the 2020 election.

“The committee has no intention of letting the debtor drive his case and the creditors off a cliff,” the lawyers wrote in a recent motion.

Mr. Giuliani entered his bankruptcy proceedings with a poor track record responding to discovery requests. Last year, a federal judge told jurors he intentionally hid information about his finances to shield his assets and make his net worth seem smaller.

In bankruptcy, the debtor has an obligation to disclose all of his assets in a way that his creditors can understand what he has and the transactions he is making, Professor Markell said. Incomplete filings and failing to file requested material could end with the case being dismissed, which would open a debtor to foreclosures and collections.

“The more there is a pushback and an ignorance of the ability to comply — especially from someone like Giuliani, who is a lawyer — the more concern there is that there is actually something being hidden,” the professor said.

Mr. Giuliani has missed the filing deadlines for his February and March spending reports. Weeks ago, one of Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers, Gary C. Fischoff, said some filings have been delayed because “the accountant got upset at one point and wanted out.”

“He’s calmed down,” the lawyer added, “and we persuaded him to stick with the case.” Mr. Giuliani’s accountants did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Giuliani’s unresponsiveness, the creditors said, “leads one to question what he is hiding.”

Bankruptcy law allows creditors to get even older information from the debtor as well as from his associates. Mr. Giuliani’s creditors have asked the court to use this broad discovery request to obtain details about his finances going back to 2019, as well as information from his associates.

This request could unearth details about Mr. Giuliani’s foreign work, which has previously drawn scrutiny from the F.B.I. The forensic accounting team hired by the creditors is comprised of former intelligence officials with experience in countries where Mr. Giuliani did business, such as Ukraine, Turkey, Venezuela and Qatar.

Mr. Giuliani’s age presents its own challenge to creditors getting paid.

His circumstance differs from that of Alex Jones, 50, the bankrupt Infowars conspiracy broadcaster. Depending on the outcome of upcoming bankruptcy talks, Mr. Jones could work for decades to pay hefty damages to families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims for spreading lies about them. Mr. Giuliani turns 80 in May, and his future potential income is hampered by suspended law licenses in New York and Washington, D.C.

The financial statements he filed in the court show he is losing money on his revenue-making businesses, such as his WABC radio show in New York.

Mr. Giuliani continues to need lawyers in and out of bankruptcy court where he faces additional lawsuits, including a criminal indictment in Georgia for his and others’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. And he was recently indicted in Arizona, where and others are also accused of trying to change the 2020 results.

Friends have set up two legal defense funds. One is a political action committee, and donors include Elizabeth Ailes, the wife of the late media mogul Roger E. Ailes; Arnold Gumowitz, a New York real estate developer; and James Liautaud, the founder of the sandwich chain Jimmy John’s. Another donor is Matthew Martorano, a Puerto Rico-based businessman who is a defendant in a federal fraud case.

The other fund, the Rudy Giuliani Freedom Fund, does not disclose the donors or the amount raised.

According to a court filing, as of the end of January, Mr. Giuliani had drawn more than $1.2 million from the two funds to pay his lawyers. The total amount raised from both funds has not been publicly disclosed.

His creditors’ lawyers have issued subpoenas for the names of the donors to his defense funds and receipts.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optimized by Optimole