12.8 C
New York
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Note in Trump’s personal ledger was ‘deleted’ before copy was sent to grand jury, Trump Organization exec says

A note in Donald Trump’s personal ledger was deleted before his company turned over a copy to a grand jury investigating the Trump Organization for fraud, a company executive acknowledged in court Thursday.

The revelation came during the third day of sworn testimony by Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney, whose appearance in the company’s criminal report in New York. fraud trial stalled for more than a week after tested positive for COVID-19 November 1st.

McConney was shown a page from Trump’s ledger, an accounting of expenses paid from Trump’s personal coffers, provided to prosecutors by the accounting firm Mazars USA. Beneath a ledger entry for a 2012 payment of more than $30,000 to a private school is the phrase “by Allen Weisselberg,” referring to the company’s former chief financial officer who in August entered a guilty plea to fraud and tax evasion.

McConney was then shown a copy of the same 2012 personal ledger page provided by the Trump Organization to a Manhattan grand jury in 2021. The phrase “by Allen Weisselberg” appeared to be missing.

“Somebody can log into the general ledger program, they can change the descriptions,” McConney testified.

“Are you saying that someone came in and deleted the phrase ‘per Allen Weisselberg’?” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked.

“Yes,” McConney replied. Under further questioning, McConney was unable to say who deleted the entry.

Senior Vice President and Controller of the Trump Organization Jeffrey McConney
Trump Organization Senior Vice President and Controller Jeffrey McConney returns to court after a break in the company’s fraud trial, on November 1, 2022, in New York.

Seth Wenig/AP

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in 2021 indicted the Trump and Weisselberg Organization on more than a dozen criminal charges related to allegations that certain executives received “indirect” tax-free compensation in the form of luxury perks, including apartments. in Manhattan and private school tuition. The company maintains its innocence of all charges.

McConney was the first witness called by prosecutors to the stand, but his testimony came to an abrupt halt during the second day of the trial on Nov. 1, when he tested positive for COVID. Earlier in the day, McConney testified that after Trump took office as President of the United States in 2017, longtime company counsel oversaw an internal review of the company’s tax practices, prompting the Trump Organization to “do things differently.”

Steinglass then asked if the review led to changes in “some of the practices that gave rise to these charges.”

McConney said, “Yes, sir.”

Prosecutors allege that company executives for more than a decade used a variety of methods to “hide” luxury benefits from tax authorities.

One method alleged by prosecutors is that the executives were paid in part each year as if they were independent contractors for various entities of the Trump Organization.

McConney said Thursday that a Mazars accountant at one point told him not to pay a Trump Organization lawyer that way, because “there was concern that (he) might lose his legal license.”

“Made [the accountant] tell you that he was not a ‘fan’ of this practice for any employee?” Steinglass asked.

“I think those are the words he used, yes,” McConney replied.

McConney said Thursday that the company stopped this payment practice in 2017 or 2018. Asked by Steinglass if the “2017 cleanup” was started because Trump became president, McConney said he believed it was a “coincidence.”

“No one specifically told me that this change was because Mr. Trump became President Trump,” McConney said.

In February, Mazars USA notified the Trump Organization that it was retraction of a decade of annual financial statements prepared for Trump and his businesses, writing in a letter to the company that “they should no longer be trusted.” Mazars cited information that had emerged in police investigations into his decision to cut ties with the Trump Organization.

The company’s lawyers said in their opening statements that there was no company fraud scheme, but that Weisselberg only concealed that he was not paying taxes on the profits.

Weisselberg, who agreed to testify in the case as part of his plea deal, is expected to be called as a witness during the trial. He will be sentenced after the company trial.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles