Ian Krysztofiak, Staff
The Trump Organization is to begin trial on Monday, Oct. 24, involving tax fraud regarding compensation for the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Jury selection begins as the prosecutor argues that executives were paid in cars, private school tuition, apartments and cash. While the Trump Organization has been the subject of legal scrutiny, this is one of the first criminal trials that the company has faced. The Trump Organization faces criminal counts of conspiracy, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. The company could face fines of $1.6 million under New York state law if convicted.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office says that the Trump Organization kept two sets of books, internal records review that chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg received compensation through Mercedes-Benz cars and private school tuition for his grandchild. Weisselberg argues that the company didn’t report these benefits to tax authorities. The Trump Organization is expected to say that the incident was an isolated practice of Mr. Weisselberg and another employee. Mr. Weisselberg is expected to take a plea deal to fully testify against the Trump Organization.
Along with Mr. Weisselberg, Donald Bender, a partner at accounting firm Mazars USA LLP, will be another witness who prepares the company’s tax returns. Mazars said earlier this year that it would drop the Trump Organization as one of its clients and that it does not stand by its prior financial statements.
Even though Mr. Trump and his family were not charged, the indictment says that the former president signed checks for private-school tuition. This trial follows a multiyear investigation by Manhattan’s district attorney’s office into the Trump Organization’s unethical conduct involving hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels among their many other civil lawsuits. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, brought a civil suit against Mr. Trump, his three children, and his company last month for the misrepresentation of the company’s assets to its lenders and insurers. However, this trial is only regarding the company’s payroll practices.