Donald Trump and the then-Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg (File)
UPDATE, AUGUST 18, 2022:
The former Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud.
Weiselberg, Donald Trump’s senior executive for decades, has agreed to testify about the company’s affairs.
Appearing in court on Thursday, Weisselberg said, “Yes, your honor” when asked by Judge Juan Merchan if he was pleading guilty of his own choice to the 15 felony charges.
He admitted he failed to pay taxes on $1.7 million in income and luxury benefits, including rent and utilities for a Manhattan apartment, leases for a pair of Mercedes-Benz cars, and private school tuition for his grandchildren.
Weisselberg acknowledged he concealed the benefits from his accountant to under-report his income and knowingly omitted the information from his personal tax returns.
In addition to testifying against the Trump Organization, Weisselberg will pay nearly $2 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties and will waive any right to appeal.
Judge Merchan said Weisselberg will serve a five-month sentence, followed by five years of probation, after the Trump Organization’s trial.
If Weisselberg does not meet all the conditions of the agreement, Merchan said that he will be “at liberty to impose any lawful sentence, which in your case includes imprisonment from 5 to 15 years”.
UPDATE, JULY 13, 2021:
The Trump Organization has removed Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg from his roles at more than 40 subsidiary companies, following his indictment and that of the company on tax and finance charges.
The Organization removed Weisselberg from the operation of its golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was stripped of positions at more than 40 subsidiaries in Florida, including a holding company that owns many Trump businesses and a corporate entity responsible for payroll for many Trump employees.
Weisselberg had held the leadership roles alongside Donald Trump Sr., Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump.
The Chief Financial Officer’s removal appears to be a tactic to avoid questions from regulators, lenders, or vendors.
However, in practice the subsidiaries are run by Trump Organization executives with little regard to who is named formally as a primary executive.
UPDATE, 1515 GMT: Allen Weisselberg, Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization, surrendered to authorities at 6:20 a.m. New York Times.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Mary Mulligan, Weisselberg walked into the Lower Manhattan building with the criminal courts and the District Attorney’s office.
Mulligan and fellow attorney Bryan Skarlatos said Weisselberg will plead not guilty in an afternoon hearing.
UPDATE, JULY 1, 2021:
The Trump Organization and its long-time Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg will be indicted on financial charges on Thursday.
“Two people familiar with the matter” confirmed reports that the indictments over Donald Trump’s business include alleged tax violations over benefits to top executives, including cars, use of apartments, and school tuition.
Weisselberg, who has worked for Donald Trump since 1973, and other company representatives are expected in a New York court today.
The Trump Organization and Weisselberg’s lawyer declined to comment. However, amid dozens of frenzied tweets and retweets, Trump advisor Jason Miller insisted that the indictments are “politically terrible for the Democrats”.
He downplayed the allegations against Weisselberg, 73, who reportedly did not declare his receipt of cars and school tuition for at least one of his grandchildren: “Their Witch Hunt is persecuting an innocent 80 year-old man for maybe taking free parking!”
Trump, making a PR appearance in Texas on the US-Mexico border, did not respond to questions from reporters.
Trump attorney Ronald Fischetti said, “There is no indictment coming down this week against the former President. I can’t say he’s out of the woods yet completely.”
Weisselberg’s daughter-in-law Jen Weisselberg has been cooperating with prosecutors for months, handing over tax records and other documents.
The Trump Organization’s long-time Senior Vice President and Controller Jeffrey McConney was subpoenaed to testify in front of the grand jury this spring.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JUNE 29, 2021: Trump Organization attorneys meet for a second time with New York prosecutors, a sign that indictments may be on the way against company executives.
“Three people familiar with the meeting” said the discussion with the prosecutors, part of the investigations by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James, came on the last day that the organization’s lawyers could make their case.
Neither side issued a statement but Trump betrayed his concern with a written blast from his New Jersey golf resort, saying he was being punished because of his politics. He claimed his Organization’s activities were “standard practice throughout the US business community, and in no way a crime”.
Trump referred to possible charges against Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, over undeclared benefits such as cars and private school tuition for at least one of his grandchildren, and prosecutors’ effort to flip him into testimony against his long-time boss.
They continue to be ‘in search of a crime’ and will do anything to frighten people into making up the stories or lies that they want, but have been totally unable to get.
The Washington Post has reported that prosecutors see Weisselberg as a potential witness, but have been frustrated by his lack of cooperation.
Trump attorney Ron Fischetti, who did not attend the meeting, said he believed the charges will focus on whether proper taxes were paid on benefits given to executives, such as free apartments or company cars.
The New York Times wrote last week that District Attorney Vance’s office had informed Trump’s lawyers that criminal charges were being considered against Weisselberg. The newspaper said the first meeting between the two sides was last Thursday.