Donald Trump and the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg (File)


The New York Attorney General’s office has confirmed a months-long criminal investigation of Allen Weisselberg, the Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization.

“People with knowledge of the matter” said the investigation is examining whether taxes were paid on fringe benefits, including cars and tens of thousands of dollars in private school tuition for at least one of Weisselberg’s grandchildren.

The office has confirmed that it subpoenaed records from Weisselberg’s bank and the private school in Manhattan which his grandchildren have attended.

ORIGINAL ENTRY, MAY 19: New York State joins the criminal investigation of the Trump Organization.

The office of Attorney General Letitia James has notified the organization that it is now working alongside the fraud inquiry of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. James’ spokesman Fabien Levy said:

We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature.

We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.

Two Assistant Attorneys General will Vance’s team.

For more than two years, the Manhattan office has collected information on potential financial crimes at the Trump Organization, including tax and bank-related fraud. The allegations include inflation of the value of Trump’s properties to obtain favorable loans, and lowered of the values to reduce taxes.

In testimony before Congress in February 2019, Trump’s long-time lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen pointed to the fraud: “Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”

Cohen submitted Trump’s financial statements for 2011 to 2013 to back his claim. After a protracted court battle with the Trump Organization, Manhattan prosecutors were granted access to eight years of Trump’s federal tax returns and financial records in February.

See also Supreme Court: Manhattan District Attorney Gets Trump’s Financial Records

The District Attorney’s office has been focusing on the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg. It has subpoenaed records from Weisselberg’s bank and the private school in Manhattan that his grandchildren have attended.

The New York Attorney General’s office will continue its civil investigation, which overlaps with some of the areas of the Manhattan criminal inquiry. James is considering Trump’s claim of about $130 million in charitable deductions that he claimed since 2005.

Both teams are looking at Trump’s properties, including a large estate in Westchester County, New York. They are also investigating Trump’s write-off of $26 million in “consulting fees” as a business expense between 2010 and 2018, with some of the money paid to his daughter Ivanka.

Investigations, by The New York Times and other outlets, have established that Trump did not pay any federal tax in 10 of 15 years and only paid $750 during his first year as President. The Internal Revenue Service is auditing a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed in 2010.

Vance’s inquiry began two years ago with the examination of $130,000 which Trump, through Cohen, paid in hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 Presidential election. Trump was trying to silence Daniels’ revelation of their sexual relationship in 2006, 18 months after he married Melania Knauss and four months after the birth of their son Barron.

Weisselberg was given immunity by federal prosecutors in the investigation of Cohen’s role in the payoff to Daniels.