The Fraud Ruling Against Trump

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  • Reducing Gun Violence
  • The Embattled Speaker
  • Investing in Artistic Creators, Not Buildings
  • Bar Russian Performers
  • Chinese Truth Tellers

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Fraud by Trump Found as Judge Issues Penalties” (front page, Sept. 27):

Justice Arthur F. Engoron’s ruling that Donald Trump engaged in a pattern of widespread fraud, whereby he embellished the size and scope of his various business entities for accounting advantages, is very much in keeping with his propensity for engaging in similar grandiose fabrication as president.

In fact, literally on the very first day of his presidency, Mr. Trump found it necessary to overstate the size of the inaugural crowd to a demonstrably laughable degree. Such reflexive and self-serving exaggeration, regarding matters large and small, by Mr. Trump persisted to the end of his term, culminating in his wildly fantastical claims of election fraud.

Mr. Trump’s fraudulent business practices over a period of several years were a glaring road map, for anyone bothering to look, as to how he would conduct himself as commander in chief. His fate now rests in the combined hands of the judicial system and the electorate.

Mark Godes
Chelsea, Mass.

To the Editor:

In an extraordinary ruling, Justice Arthur F. Engoron held that Donald Trump, by illegally inflating the value of his properties, committed fraud by as much as $2.2 billion. A trial in this case, brought by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, is scheduled for Monday morning, but this ruling is a huge blow to Mr. Trump and his entire family.

The ruling called for the cancellation of some of Mr. Trump’s business certificates in New York, which could spell the end of the Trump real estate dynasty, or what’s left of it. The possible financial cost for Mr. Trump could be enormous, as Ms. James is seeking fines up to $250 million.

It seems “Teflon Don” will not slip away from the damning case against him here in New York.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York

To the Editor:

Somewhere the late Wayne Barrett is smiling. He mapped out Donald Trump’s crooked business deals years ago. The bookkeeping and tax-evading maneuvers were all laid out in his 1992 investigative biography, “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall.” Tuesday’s court ruling was long overdue.

That it took so long for someone to bring the hammer down on Mr. Trump is an indictment of a legal system that has too many escape hatches. Delay, appeal after appeal, loophole-seeking lawyers, statutes of limitations, dismissals on technical grounds — all strands woven into Mr. Trump’s web of corruption.

Fred Smith

Reducing Gun Violence

Survivors of school shootings and those who had lost loved ones to gun violence were among the hundreds of attendees at the Rose Garden event.Credit…Kent Nishimura for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Forms a New Office to Address Gun Violence” (news article, Sept. 23):

In his effort to combat gun violence, President Biden should consider issuing an executive order stating that gun manufacturers who currently market to the U.S. military must agree to sell only to our armed forces, to foreign militaries approved of by the U.S., and to American citizens who have undergone extensive background checks and are on a federal registry list.

If these manufacturers wish to continue to sell assault weapons to the public at large, then they will lose the U.S. military as a major client.

This order would be issued under the president’s authority as commander in chief and would not require congressional approval.

Susan Altman

The Embattled Speaker

Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Maybe Matt Gaetz Is Right,” by Michelle Cottle (Opinion, Sept. 21):

With the continuing threat of the Freedom Caucus to file motions to “vacate the chair” (depose the speaker), Hakeem Jeffries, the minority leader, has a golden opportunity: Form a group of 25 to 30 Democrats to either support Kevin McCarthy or find a centrist Republican member who can be elected speaker with their aid.

Then, by abolishing the rule permitting any one member from calling a vote to vacate the chair, the House could function without threats of blackmail and do the people’s business. Mr. Jeffries, go for it.

Doug McCone
Wayne, Pa.

Investing in Artistic Creators, Not Buildings

A view of the new Perelman Performing Arts Center at night, when the white marble building turns amber and becomes a beacon in Lower Manhattan.Credit…George Etheredge for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Dazzling Arts Haven Blossoms at Ground Zero,” by Michael Kimmelman (Critic’s Notebook, front page, Sept. 14):

As dazzling as the Perelman Performing Arts Center is — and it is truly dazzling — Mr. Kimmelman’s comment that the building itself cost “enough to support who knows how many existing community organizations around the city for who knows how many years” struck me as the story of America’s perpetual disregard of the arts.

The building always comes first, followed by whatever potpourri of productions the owners can scrabble together to put inside it. Can we never begin the investment with the people, the artistic creators themselves? Is it always because the donors need an edifice on which to implant his or her name?

America doesn’t believe in financing the arts; America believes the arts are a business and should finance itself.

The Times recently ran an article saying that our theaters are in crisis, as is our creative community in general. When are we going to finance the creators instead of the buildings?

Jennifer Warren
Los Angeles
The writer is a professor of directing at the U.S.C. School of Cinematic Arts and chair of the Alliance of Women Directors.

Bar Russian Performers

Netrebko bowing on the stage of the State Opera after performing in Verdi’s “Macbeth.”Credit…Annette Riedl/DPA, via Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “Receiving Boos, and an Ovation” (Arts, Sept. 18), about the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who has supported Vladimir Putin:

Your article raises the issue of whether citizens of countries with criminal regimes should be allowed to participate or perform in international events and forums. While punishing individual artists, performers and athletes for their country’s bad acts seems to be unfair, the fact is that their participation promotes their nation’s prestige and interests, even if indirectly.

In addition, changes in Russia’s behavior will occur only if the populace forces those in power to change course. The international community should not endorse Russian talent by allowing those individuals to participate in international events or competitions.

The message of the international community to the most talented Russians should be that they need to change their country. And while those individuals may be unhappy, that’s exactly the point; history shows that changes in authoritarian governments occur when the population is unhappy and demands change.

Russians should be barred from participation in all international events until Russia ends the war in Ukraine and removes its troops from all of Ukraine.

Daniel Shapiro
Suffern, N.Y.

Chinese Truth Tellers

Credit…Illustration by Linda Huang; source photograph by Tsering Dorje

To the Editor:

I write to commend you for “China’s Underground Historians,” by Ian Johnson (Opinion, Sept. 24). These are brave individuals dedicated to ensuring that their country’s past is documented as accurately as possible.

As a historian myself, I am increasingly aware of how authoritarian leaders want to cover up their country’s misdeeds, whether in the U.S. or abroad.

I stand in awe of the courage of these Chinese truth tellers.

Glenna Matthews
Sunnyvale, Calif.

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