Trumps had role in fraud scheme, Allen Weisselberg testifies at company’s trial

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Former Chief Financial Officer of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg testified in court on Thursday, describing how Donald Trump and two of his children allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud the IRS.

Weisselberg said Donald Trump, or sometimes Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr., signed checks to pay up to $100,000 for private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandchildren. Weisselberg said he then instructed the company’s controller to deduct the $100,000 from his salary so he could report a lower income. Copies of some of the checks signed by the Trumps have been displayed in court.

Weisselberg said the first time Trump signed a tuition check, Weisselberg told him, “Remember, I’m going to pay you back for this.” The payback, he said, was the pay cut.

Two entities from the Trump Organization and Weisselberg are charged with more than a dozen counts of fraud and tax evasion. Weisselberg an admission of guilt admitted in August that he had been charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office with receiving more than $1.7 million in untaxed compensation.

Weisselberg, who is still on the payroll of the Trump Organization, testified for the first two days described a litany of benefits he and several other executives who he said received similarly reduced salaries to avoid taxes.

He said for himself and several other executives that the salary cuts were then mitigated by hefty bonus checks paid to the executives as if they were independent contractors for Trump Organization entities.

“Donald Trump always wanted to sign the bonus checks” before he became president in 2017, Weisselberg said.

That practice ceased in the following two years an internal review led to changes at the company, he said.

“We were in a company-wide cleanup process to make sure that since Mr. Trump was now president, everything was done right,” Weisselberg said.

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Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg testifies at the company’s New York fraud allegations trial.

Jane Rosenberg


Weisselberg said the funds provided as payments to independent contractors were used to set up Keogh retirement plans, tax-deferred retirement accounts designed for self-employed people.

Defense attorneys for the Trump Organization have said the company did nothing wrong, laying the plan squarely at Weisselberg’s feet, saying he hid the salary cuts and payments to independent contractors from the Trumps.

Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas asked Weisselberg on Thursday, “Which human being have you been making plans with?”

Weisselberg replied, “Jeff McConney,” referring to the company’s controller, who previously testified during the process. McConney was granted immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony in the case and blamed Weisselberg for the scheme.

Futerfas went on to ask to distinguish the Trumps from the executives who worked under them.

“Have you colluded with a member of the Trump family?” Futerfas asked.

“No,” replied Weisselberg.

“Have you made plans with Jeff McConney?” Futerfas asked.

“Yes,” replied Weisselberg.

“Have you made plans with a member of the Trump family?” Futerfas asked.

“No,” replied Weisselberg.

Later, Futerfas asked, “Apart from relatives, you were among the most trusted people they knew. Is that right?’

“Right,” Weisselberg replied.

Soon after, Futerfas asked, “Are you ashamed of what you’ve done?”

Weisselberg choked and replied, “More than you can imagine.”

Earlier Thursday, under questioning by a prosecutor, Weisselberg said other executives at the company were active participants in and beneficiaries of similar salary and bonus plans.

Weisselberg described arranging his son Barry’s family to live in a newly renovated apartment in New York’s tony Central Park South. He said the location suited Barry Weisselberg’s job as manager of an ice rink and carousel run by the Trump Organization in Central Park. Allen Weisselberg said his son paid $500 out of pocket and $500 of his salary per month to rent the apartment, which he described as a “below market price”.

At the time, Allen Weisselberg and his wife lived in an $8,200-a-month apartment owned by the company under a lease signed by Donald Trump himself.

Allen Weisselberg said he provided his son’s tax papers for preparation to the external auditor in charge of the annual tax bill for the entire Trump organization. Allen Weisselberg said his son’s reported salary was “probably lower than it should have been” at the time.

Peter Stambleck, a lawyer for Barry Weisselberg, declined to comment.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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