Another criminal investigation has been kickstarted against former President Donald Trump and his family business, according to a new report from The New York Times. The new investigation is examining whether the Trump Organization lied to authorities about the value of a golf course in Westchester County, New York, in an attempt to get out of paying higher taxes. So far, the investigation has included subpoenas for records from both the Trump Organization and officials in the town of Ossining, which is responsible for establishing and collecting property taxes for the golf course in question.
As explained by the Times, “the district attorney, Mimi E. Rocah, appears to be focused at least in part on whether Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, misled local officials about the property’s value to reduce its taxes, one of the people said.” The scope of the investigation is thus similar to investigative efforts that have proceeded elsewhere, but it targets a different property. A criminal investigation that currently includes Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and New York state Attorney General Letitia James has featured an examination of whether the Trump Organization fraudulently adjusted the valuations of its assets in order to obtain benefits like tax breaks and favorable loan terms. The Westchester golf course, however, has not appeared to be a part of the James/ Vance investigation.
The Times noted that “Rocah, a Democrat, has not accused anyone at the company of wrongdoing, and it is unclear whether the investigation is examining Mr. Trump’s conduct or if it would ultimately lead to any charges” — but such likely could have been said about the James/ Vance investigation at one point, which has now culminated in criminal charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg. Those charges are in response to an alleged years-long scheme at the Trump Organization to dole out pricey benefits to executives without paying the required taxes. Weisselberg himself, for instance, even saw the provision of huge sums of money from the Trump company to pay for his grandchildren’s tuition — hardly a required company expense. The James/ Vance investigation is continuing, with a trial on those charges set for late next year.
The Times explains that the “Westchester investigation is being led by Elliott B. Jacobson, who spent more than three decades as a prosecutor in the Southern District [of New York], much of it in the White Plains office, where he worked with Ms. Rocah investigating white collar crime.” Jacobson apparently “came out of retirement in February to work with Ms. Rocah’s public corruption bureau and cold case unit before also taking on the Trump golf course investigation,” according to the Times. Unsurprisingly, Trump has fought investigative efforts targeting him and his company — which he’s long been said to have been closely involved with the running of. His efforts have been met with failure, though — for instance, he failed to keep his tax returns from Vance’s investigators. Read more at this link.