Trump Org. comptroller said he was ordered to hide the allowances on tax forms
Trump Organization Comptroller Jeffrey McConney testified about the mechanics behind him who introduced extra pay and bonus benefits at the behest of top executives as the company’s criminal trial continued in New York on Thursday.
McConney reiterated that he followed the instructions of the former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and other Trump Org. executives to add additional benefits to their salaries in bonuses that end up not being reported to the tax authorities.
McConney also cut bonus checks through 1099 tax forms intended for independent contractors—a method that does not withhold taxes on the employer side. Those employees then did not report those bonuses as income on taxes, so they took the money tax-free for several years, he confirmed.
The treatment also allowed the Trump Corporation to pay no payroll or Medicare taxes on the bonus amount, the comptroller confirmed when asked on the stand.
In addition to the former Trump Org. CFO, Allen Weisselberg’s son Barry and his wife lived in the Central Park property for years, paying $1,000 a month in rent — well below the site’s market value — and part of that amount covered the company as an unreported fringe benefit. to the tax authorities, McConney testified.
Trump Org. Chief operating officer Matthew Calamari Sr. similarly received an independent contractor bonus and fringe benefits, including a rental car for himself and his wife and $72,000 a year in rent for a Park Avenue apartment that ended up not being reported to the IRS, McConney said.
Calamari’s son, who also works for the company, received some perks — his rent in New York’s Central Park South building was treated as an fringe benefit, and records show his father paid at least $130,000 in renovations through the company without paying taxes on it.
McConney testified that his tax advisor Trump Org. of Mazars, Donald Bender, never said that the practice of underreporting taxable income was illegal.
But he acknowledged that Bender told him he was “not a fan” of the practice of issuing bonuses using 1099 tax forms when they can be booked as part of annual compensation from the Trump Corporation and taxed using a W2 tax form.
Around 2011, Bender advised McConney to stop cutting the bonuses of in-house counsel because they could lose their law licenses for receiving them as an independent contractor, but McConney testified that he never questioned the illegality of the way they treated bonuses would apply to anyone else.
Bender has not been charged with any crime. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
McConney also admitted to filing tax forms for Weisselberg, Calamari and others by improperly reporting to the tax authorities that they did not maintain New York residency, leading them to avoid city taxes.
Trump Org. the comptroller confirmed that he and other accounting staff at the Trump Org ceased these internal accounting practices in 2017 around the time a tax consultant conducted an internal review for the Trump Org. and President Donald Trump took office.
The jury also saw the accounting books for Donald Trump which McConney said appeared to have been cured, however he could not remember if he had made any changes.
A book turned over as evidence by Mazars showed no record of items with tags mentioning Weisselberg.
Books prosecutors obtained in 2021 directly from Trump Org. in this case, show several items on Donald Trump’s personal ledger with things like tuition for Weisselberg’s grandson marked “for Allen.”
The trial will continue on Monday.
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