Prosecutors in Manhattan have expanded their criminal investigation of the Trump Organization beyond what was previously publicly known. The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that the prosecutors are “investigating financial dealings around some of Donald Trump’s signature Manhattan properties, extending the known range of the criminal probe of the former president and his company, according to people familiar with the matter.” The properties subject to the newly expanded investigation include Trump’s prominent Trump Tower building, 40 Wall St., Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle, and Trump Plaza, which is an apartment building. Prosecutors are investigating loans supporting each of these properties.
WSJ scoop: New York prosecutors are investigating financial dealings around some of Trump’s signature Manhattan properties, extending the known range of the criminal probe of the former president and his company. @coryramey @EmilyGlazer https://t.co/0jVnczTRI4
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) February 13, 2021
According to the Journal, “All of the loans under scrutiny were made to Mr. Trump by subsidiaries of Ladder Capital Corp., a New York City-based real-estate investment trust” where Jack Weisselberg — Trump Org Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg’s son — has worked. As summarized by the same publication, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has stated “that it is pursuing a complex investigation into alleged insurance and bank fraud by the Trump Organization and its officers.” Potential criminal behavior includes potential discrepancies in financial records that could reveal fraudulent attempts to secure financial benefits for the Trump family business.
Besides the loans for the New York properties in question, Vance’s office has also been investigating a Trump Organization property in Westchester County known as the Seven Springs estate, where the Trump family business may have also messed with numbers for their financial benefit. They received tax breaks because of a wildly high valuation for a claimed conservation easement on the property, and Vance’s office has subpoenaed records about the property from local town-level authorities. New York state Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating the same property, although her office’s efforts are oriented around a civil rather than criminal investigation.
Going forward, Trump has lost any protection from criminal proceedings that he had while in office, and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — whose jurisdiction is in the Atlanta area — recently launched a criminal investigation of Trump’s efforts to subvert the documented presidential election outcome in the state, where Biden won.