NEW YORK (AP) — Allen Weisselberg, the longtime finance chief of Donald Trump, played a crucial role in saving the ex-president’s real estate business from financial collapse in the 1990s. Recently released from jail for tax fraud, Weisselberg is now set to testify in the civil trial brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump and the Trump Organization.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Weisselberg, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, is expected to provide testimony regarding his involvement in the preparation of Trump’s annual financial statements. These documents were submitted to banks, insurers, and other entities to secure loans and initiate business deals.
The lawsuit alleges that Weisselberg falsified financial statements to meet Trump’s demands, inflating the former president’s net worth and approving inflated property appraisals despite contrary evidence.
Trump, who attended the initial three days of the trial, is not anticipated to be present in court for Weisselberg’s testimony. Last week, an appeals court rejected Trump’s attempt to halt the lawsuit as he fights to retain ownership of Trump Tower and other properties.
Weisselberg, who served a 100-day sentence for evading taxes on $1.7 million in job perks, including a Manhattan apartment and luxury cars, expressed his difficulty in recovering from the experience. He sought therapy and took medication to cope with the impact on his mental well-being.
Despite his release from prison, Weisselberg has refrained from providing interviews or making public statements.
During the trial, Jeffrey McConkey, a former controller of the Trump Organization, testified that Weisselberg asked him to participate in tax fraud, such as manipulating payroll records and ensuring his wife paid no taxes in order to qualify for Social Security benefits. McConkey complied out of fear of losing his job.
In a pre-trial ruling, Judge Arthur Angoron determined that Trump and other defendants, including Weisselberg, committed fraud by inflating the value of Trump’s assets and net worth on financial statements. As a result, a court-appointed receiver will seize control of certain Trump companies, leaving the future of Trump Tower and other prime properties uncertain.
The civil suit includes allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsification of business records. James seeks a $250 million fine and a prohibition on Trump conducting business in New York.
Weisselberg, who has been associated with the Trump family since 1973, when he started working for Trump’s father, eventually became Donald Trump’s personal accountant in 1986. He earned a salary and bonuses totaling $1.14 million annually in his final years with the organization.
Following his tax fraud scandal, Weisselberg left the company. As part of a severance agreement, he received $2 million in quarterly payments, which roughly equaled the amount he owed in back taxes, penalties, and interest.
So far, Weisselberg has received $750,000 from the severance agreement.
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