The ongoing investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) into the Trump Organization has apparently included a look at tax records of the Weisselbergs. Allen Weisselberg is the highest-ranking non-Trump family member at the Trump Organization, where he works as Chief Financial Officer. Bloomberg News has reported that “members of the Weisselberg family, including Trump Organization manager Barry Weisselberg and his now ex-wife, Jennifer, had received perks including years of free rent in a company-owned building adjacent to Central Park and use of the company’s accountant for personal tax filings.” These gifts for the Weisselbergs could have created unfulfilled tax liabilities. (Barry Weisselberg is Allen’s son.)
Items of value — like a place to live and accounting services — ordinarily can’t be claimed by employers under a tax exemption for gifts to employees, Bloomberg explains. Furthermore, free rent would constitute taxable income that the Weisselbergs would need to report on their tax returns, but Bloomberg says that the free rent seems absent from four years worth of Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg’s tax returns.
The Trump Organization has faced James’s investigation over potential fraudulent adjustments to valuations of their assets; these potentially fraudulent asset valuations were meant to help Trump’s business secure benefits like loans and tax breaks. Donald Trump’s former longtime “fixer” Michael Cohen helped reveal the Trump Organization’s apparent scheme to adjust asset valuations in order to secure financial benefits, and James has pledged to continue her investigation into the Trump Organization no matter the outcome of the recent presidential election, which Donald lost. As part of the James investigation, Eric Trump himself recently sat for a deposition, which he’d initially resisted doing until a judge ordered him to testify before the election. He’d sought to delay his appearance.
Trump is also facing a criminal investigation from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who is looking into possible financial crimes at the Trump Organization. Trump would not be able to use his pardon power to shield himself from state-level investigations, as presidential pardons only cover federal cases.