Letitia James Subpoenaed Trump Over $21.5M Shady Tax Dodge


Former President Trump, who’s under criminal investigation for potential fraud at his business, has had one particular New York property examined quite closely, as newly released subpoenas reveal. Investigators associated with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance have examined the question of whether Trump fraudulently adjusted the value of a conservation easement on the property in question — which is in Westchester County, New York, and is known as the Seven Springs estate — thereby obtaining a tax break. Trump took a $21.1 million tax deduction in 2015 over the easement.

The subpoenas had not previously been available publicly. As reported by The Daily Beast in reference to the newly released subpoenas, “Investigators asked for a trove of documents related to Donald Trump’s failed attempts to develop a luxury golf course on a 212-acre, forested estate that spans across those three towns and includes several mansions.” The subpoenas went out to those towns in which the property sits. The towns, named Bedford, New Castle, and North Castle, complied with the demands for documents.

In November of 2019, James’s team subpoenaed “zoning, property planning, or other building and construction permissions” that Trump’s business went after for the property, The Daily Beast says. In December of 2020, meanwhile, Vance’s team subpoenaed “items like planning board meeting minutes, which would help show whether Trump ever really stood a chance at building on the land, and they sought records dating back more than 15 years in some cases,” the publication adds. Vance’s investigators stopped by to pick up documents “as recently as two months ago,” The Daily Beast notes, based on remarks from a local town clerk.

It’s not clear at this point whether criminal charges for anyone (including Trump) may emerge in connection to the ongoing investigation — in which James and Vance recently merged their efforts — but prosecutors have set up a grand jury in connection to the probe, which suggests that they may be contemplating issuing charges. The grand jury would (among other functions) approve those potential charges.