The New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating top Trump Organization officer Allen Weisselberg’s personal tax information for months as it was revealed the AG’s office has joined a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization. Prosecutors are seeking leverage on Weisselberg to promote cooperation with authorities.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been examining perks the company gave to employees, Weisselberg’s finances, and benefits he and his son Barry, a long-time Trump Organization employee, received.
AG James has obtained documentation including 25 years of tax returns from Jennifer Weisselberg, the ex-wife of Barry Weisselberg, Allen’s son.
Among the benefits received by the Weisselberg couple included access to Trump-owned rent-free apartments and tuition for their children at a private Manhattan school, whose fees currently run about $54,000 annually per child — paid for by Allen Weisselberg.
Barry testified that the payments made by his father were “financial assistance” and not loans, as Barry could not afford private school without the assistance from his parents.
Direct payments for someone else’s tuition from a person to a school would, in themselves, not raise red flags for tax law violations, said Laura Cunningham, a Cardozo Law professor specializing in tax law. While annual limits for how much one person can gift another person are currently capped at $15,000, direct payments for tuition and medical bills are exempt from this, she said.
But it’s a different story if tuition or medical bills are paid for by an employer.
In April, Jennifer Weisselberg told CNN she believes that at least some of her two children’s tuition payments were paid for by Donald Trump saying Trump paid for one child and Allen paid for the other. “I know for a fact Donald wrote those checks,” she told CNN in April.
When asked during the 2018 deposition if Donald Trump personally paid for any household or personal expenses during his marriage, Barry Weisselberg said, “I don’t know.”
Story at CNN