Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was filmed around 6:20 a.m. as he entered a building that housed both the criminal court and the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Weisserberg, 73, has been indicted by a grand jury charging a company named after him and Trump with tax evasion related to employee benefits including use of an apartment, car and tuition . I was to be chased in the afternoon. I told the Associated Press.
People said the indictment released on Wednesday would remain sealed until Weisserberg appeared in court. They were not allowed to speak about the ongoing investigation and did so on condition of anonymity.
In a statement, Weisselberg’s attorneys Mary Mulligan and Brian Skullatos pleaded not guilty and said they would “fight these charges in court.”
Generations of Lieutenant Trump, Weisserberg, has extensive knowledge of the former president’s business, and the case puts pressure on prosecutors to cooperate with ongoing investigations into other aspects of the company’s business. Can give you a way to play.
But until now, a man Trump’s daughter Ivanka considered a “very loyal” lieutenant “alongside my father and our family” for decades has suddenly turned them on. There is no sign of doing so.
In a statement released Thursday, the Trump Organization defended Weisselberg, and a 48-year-old employee was described by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office Cyrus Vance Jr. as “a pawn trying to harm the former president in a scorched earth operation “. He said it was being used.
“This is not justice. This is politics, ”the Trump organization said, saying neither the IRS nor other prosecutors had considered making such charges on employee benefits.
There was no sign that Trump himself would be prosecuted at this point in the investigation, followed jointly by Democrats Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Republican Trump did not respond to shouts from reporters about the incident during his visit to Texas on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, he accused New York prosecutors of being “rude, mean and completely damaging,” and his company’s behavior was “common practice throughout the American business community, ever.” It is not a crime. “
When Vance arrived at the courthouse on Thursday, he declined to comment on the case, saying simply, “Let’s meet at 2:15 pm.
Vance, who is resigning at the end of the year, has conducted extensive research on a variety of issues involving Trump and the Trump organization, including chopped money paid to women on Trump’s behalf and the veracity of real estate appraisals. Above all, the tax assessment.
Vance fought a long battle to get Trump’s tax record, submitted documents, and interviewed business executives and other Trump insiders.
While pursuing his own civil investigation, James assigned two attorneys from his office to work with Vance’s team to conduct a criminal investigation.
Weisserberg, who had lived in a modest house on Long Island for years, was placed under the watchful eye of a Vance investigator over questions about his son’s use of Trump’s apartment almost or for free. ..
Barry Weisselberg, who managed the Trump-operated rink in Central Park, said in divorce testimony in 2018 that the Trump Parc East apartment was “a corporate apartment, so there was no rent.” I testified.
Barry’s ex-wife Jen Weisselberg cooperated with both investigations and provided investigators with a large amount of tax records and other documents. In March, she told the New Yorker that part of the compensation for Trump Organization executives was offered in the form of apartments and other items, “only a small portion of the salary was reported.”
The Trump Organization is the entity in which the former president manages many of his entrepreneurial activities, including investments in office towers, hotels, golf courses, numerous marketing deals, and television companies. Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric have been in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company since he became president.
James Lepetty, a tax lawyer and professor at Boston College Law School, said companies like the Trump Organization typically pay taxes not only on wages, but also on other forms of compensation such as the use of a apartment and a car. He said he was responsible for the detention.
Such benefits are not considered taxable income if they are required as a condition of employment, Lepetti said. For example, provide an apartment for the convenience of employees who need to be in the office or work irregular hours or often, or allow the car to be used for business purposes.
Another prominent New York City real estate agent, the late Leona Helmsley, was convicted of tax evasion in federal proceedings resulting from his business paying to renovate a house without reporting it as income. Received.
The Trump Organization’s proceedings include a possible violation of New York State tax law.
“The IRS routinely looks for abuse of benefits when auditing restricted companies,” explains Lepetti. “The temptation of a business is that it claims a tax deduction for expenses when the beneficiary does not declare it in its income.”
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who is cooperating with Vance’s investigation, wrote in his book Disloyal that Trump and Weisselberg “how to allocate and classify the costs of non-trade issues.” Was the master of the past who found. “No tax. “
Weisserberg began working for Fred, the father of Trump’s real estate developer, after responding to a newspaper ad for an accountant in 1973.
With the exception of his appearance as a guest judge on Trump’s reality show The Apprentice in 2004, keeping him low-key was barely mentioned in press reports before Trump started to appear in the company. the presidency and his boss. A question arose about finances and charity.
According to Cohen, Weisselberg decided how to secretly pay off pornographic actress Stormy Daniels for $ 130,000. The CFO was in the spotlight again when it became apparent that his signature was on one of the refund checks.
Barbara Res, who oversaw the construction of the Trump Tower in Manhattan, said she was surprised to learn of Weisselberg’s seemingly important role in Trump’s affairs. She recalls that she only collected rent, paid the bills, and paid Trump’s taxes many years ago.
“He was the chief accountant, but he wasn’t in the inner circle. He would bow down and come in, “Yes, Mr. Trump. No, Mr. Trump, ”Les said. “I knew he was the only one calling him Mr. Trump. Now he’s a big guy.
Associated Press editors Bernard Condon and Tom Hayes of New York and Jill Corbin of Weslaco, Texas contributed to this report.
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