Potential Criminal Liability For Trump Jr. Over Construction Fraud Revealed

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Circumstances associated with a defunct company in which Donald Trump Jr. was involved could leave the former president’s son vulnerable to criminal charges, according to a new report in a publication called The New Republic.

The company claimed and promoted plans for the mass construction of low-cost housing for low-income people around the world, although items shipped out from the company — known as Titan Atlas Manufacturing — repeatedly fell below basic expectations and weren’t meaningfully functional. Back in 2017, news emerged the company was previously hit with a total of 18 federal and state tax liens representing over $100,000 in taxes left unpaid. “It turns out that a majority of the owed taxes are related to a practice the company regularly engaged in, according to the tax liens on file, of deducting its employees’ federal and state taxes and Social Security payments but failing to turn them over to the IRS and the South Carolina Department of Revenue,” The New Republic explains. Deducting taxes and keeping that money rather than transmitting it to the government can lead to prosecution.

“The IRS and the Justice Department regularly prosecute taxpayer trust fund schemes,” The New Republic adds. “As a principal in the company, Don Jr., along with his other partners, would appear to be responsible for the debt and could be prosecuted, according to IRS and DOJ web pages that discourage the practice.” The taxes are referred to as trust fund taxes because an individual company involved in the payment of these costs holds employee money to pay the taxes in trust before eventually paying authorities.

The tax liens are hardly the only serious issue with which Titan Atlas Manufacturing was hit: among other examples of company problems, the firm was also sued in 2011 by a temp staffing company called Alternative Staffing in connection to 26 weeks of missed payments the Jr.-tied company previously agreed to make. Titan Atlas alleged in court that it held back payments because workers provided by Alternative Staffing had criminal records. It’s worth noting that the individual at Titan who signed the Alternative Staffing contract, Kimble Blackburn, had a criminal history himself. As for the products provided by Titan Atlas Manufacturing, which never actually got large-scale manufacturing efforts off-the-ground, they were a disaster. An apparently Haitian man named Jean Claude Assali received a wind turbine from the company that he didn’t order and characterized the parts he was shipped as unable to even assemble a completed turbine.

Five turbines were sold to the city of North Charleston, South Carolina, and the turbines were installed at City Hall. “But the turbines apparently never produced any measurably significant energy and were quietly torn down at the city’s expense in 2014, a few years after they were installed,” The New Republic says. A shipment of three housing kits purchased by an entity called Tactic Homes contained “no windows, no doors, no cabinets, no plumbing, no electrical, no cables, no reinforcing bars,” according to someone involved on the Tactic Homes side of that purchase. In other words, it sounds as though the company completely failed to deliver on basic promises it made. The whole debacle, of course — in which Trump Jr. was alleged by a Trump-associated attorney to have simply been a passive investor, although he was personally involved in key actions associated with the company — mirrors the path the Trump Organization itself has taken, involving years of messy business deals, litigation, and egotistical decision-making that fails to deliver. Read more here.