Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has expanded his criminal investigation of the Trump Organization — the outgoing president’s family business — beyond what was previously known. Publicly available details previously indicated that Vance’s investigation involved issues like the company’s role in a hush money scheme targeting women with whom the soon-to-be ex-president had affairs. Now, Vance is investigating the Trump Organization’s Westchester County, New York property known as Seven Springs, which was already the publicly known subject of a civil investigation by New York state Attorney General Letitia James. The Trump Organization is suspected of fraudulently adjusting its valuation of the property, thereby securing a tax benefit.
Joel Sachs, a lawyer for the town of Bedford, New York, confirmed that Vance’s office issued a subpoena for records from the town relating to the Seven Springs property “before Christmas.” Besides Bedford, the property also extends into nearby towns of New Castle and North Castle, and Sachs indicated that he “believed” that Vance also subpoenaed related records from those towns, according to CNBC’s summary. Roland Baroni, a lawyer for North Castle, confirmed Sachs’s comment, explaining that the subpoena demanded “the planning board files, any correspondence, [and] any email” between the town and Trump’s business. Baroni “told CNN that the town complied with the request and that prosecutors have not sought to interview any officials,” as reporter Kara Scannell summarizes.
The Trump Organization, specifically, has faced the question of whether it fraudulently adjusted the valuation of a conservation easement on the Seven Springs property in order to secure a tax boon. New York Attorney General James, whose investigation has covered other points within the Trump family business as well, started her own probe in the wake of public revelations from the president’s former longtime fixer Michael Cohen about the Trump Organization’s incessantly fraud-laced business practices. The soon-to-be ex-president’s business repeatedly presented manipulated valuations of its assets in order to potentially secure financial benefits, Cohen explained.
Once Trump leaves office in coming days, he will lose any tentative protections from criminal proceedings that the office of the presidency provided, although Vance has not publicly indicated whether he intends to bring criminal charges against anyone involved in the activity that’s under investigation. As a part of his office’s probe, he’s sought the president’s financial records. Meanwhile, as part of James’s concurrent investigation into the Seven Springs property, she recently scored a victory when Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump’s company to “produce all communications with Ralph Mastromonaco to the New York Attorney General’s office.” Mastromonaco is an engineer who worked on the Seven Springs project.