The Trump Organization fired longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg from some of its subsidiaries after prosecutors accused him and the company of a 15-year tax evasion scheme, documents show public and people familiar with the matter.
Mr Weisselberg’s dismissal as an officer of several Trump Organization entities comes amid discussions about potential changes in the duties, responsibilities and possibly the title of CFO at former President Donald’s company Trump, people familiar with the matter have said. Mr. Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump family since 1973, is expected to stay with the company, the people said.
A company facing charges in the same criminal case, Trump Payroll Corp., had previously listed Mr. Weisselberg as treasurer, director, vice president and secretary of business records for the Florida State Department. Now Mr. Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. is listed as executive vice president, director, secretary, treasurer and vice president on files filed late last week. His son Eric Trump is now listed as president, director and president on these issues.
Trump Payroll is managed by employees of the Trump Organization and processes the payroll of company staff, according to an indictment in New York State court. In 2015 and 2016, Mr. Trump was listed as the only officer in Trump Payroll, according to Florida records. Mr. Trump has not been charged in this case.
Mr Weisselberg was also fired last week as a director of Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited, a company linked to Mr Trump’s golf course in Scotland, according to a filing with Companies House, the company registrar. from the United Kingdom.
Earlier this summer, a grand jury indicted the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg with leading a more than 15-year-old tax evasion scheme involving unofficial payments to business executives, including Mr. Weisselberg. The case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which works with the New York attorney general’s office, represents the first criminal charges resulting from a multi-year investigation into Mr. Trump’s business affairs.
Mr. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll have pleaded not guilty and plan to fight the charges, their lawyers said. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment on Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.’s positions in affiliates.
In a statement after the arraignment earlier this month, Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the company, called the case unprecedented and said compensation cases are usually resolved by civil tax authorities.
“In our opinion, this case was brought because the name of the companies is Trump,” he said. “It is inappropriate and is unwarranted.”
In court, Carey Dunne, the district attorney’s general counsel, told the judge the case involved a “large and bold scheme of illegal payments.”
“The CFO himself has ordered the company records to be deleted to cover up his involvement in this scheme, to the knowledge of the company,” Dunne said. “Yet he remains the most senior financial trustee in the company to this day. “
Keeping a CFO in place after indictment is generally not realistic for businesses, said Daniel Zelenko, a former federal prosecutor. “How are insurers and lenders going to trust what the CFO tells them? Said Mr. Zelenko, partner at the law firm Crowell & Moring LLP. “It creates a lot of challenges for a company that continues to do business. “
Mr Zelenko said there was a possibility that the Trump Organization, a private company, would reinstate Mr Weisselberg if he was acquitted.
The Trump Organization made similar changes to the Florida filings for other related companies, including DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC, a holding company, and DT Marks Jupiter LLC, an entity believed to be related to the Jupiter Golf Club, in Florida, the company. Documents filed for both entities show that the annual reports were amended on Friday to remove Mr Weisselberg as vice president, treasurer and secretary. Both filings were electronically signed by Donald Trump Jr.
The charges against Mr Weisselberg came after prosecutors for months asked for his cooperation against his longtime boss, the Wall Street Journal reported. After lengthy discussions with the district attorney’s office that began in late May, lawyers for Mr. Weisselberg informed prosecutors that he would not cooperate, the Journal previously reported.
The main charge Mr. Weisselberg faces, second-degree robbery, carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted, although most white-collar offenders would serve a significant amount. less time and could get probation, former prosecutors mentioned.
Mr Weisselberg, 73, was an accountant and controller for the Trump Organization before becoming chief financial officer, according to the indictment. As CFO, he had authority over the company’s accounting, including payroll administration, according to the indictment.
He is a confidant of Mr. Trump and, in 2017, became a co-trustee tasked with managing the business assets of the then president.
—Rebecca Ballhaus contributed to this article.
Write to Corinne Ramey at [email protected]
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