Trump’s company conducted an internal tax audit after he became president, CEO says

Trump’s company conducted an internal tax audit after he became president, CEO says

A longtime Trump lawyer oversaw an internal investigation into the Trump Organization’s tax practices in 2017 and 2018, leading the company to “do things differently,” the executive testified Tuesday.

The revelation came in the middle of the second day under oath by Trump Organization comptroller Jeffrey McConneywho was the first witness called by the government in a New York criminal company fraud trial.

McConney said the investigation was led by Sheri Dillon, an attorney best known for a January 2017 press conference held by then-President-elect Donald Trump in which she and Trump displayed a stack of papers they said were related to his companies’ taxes.

Donald Trump holds a press conference in 2017
Stacks of papers and files are shown as President-elect Donald Trump holds a news conference on January 11, 2017 in New York.


In 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office charged former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and the company, through two corporate entities — Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation — with more than a dozen felonies related to allegations that they provided certain executives with untaxed “indirect employee benefits .” Weisselberg entered a guilty plea in the case in August. The company remains innocent of all charges.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger said during her opening statement Monday that the company’s executives had been avoiding taxes for years, “but the evidence will show that when Donald Trump was elected president in late 2016, these companies finally had to clean up these fraudulent tax returns.” practices.”

McConney said Tuesday that Dillon — a tax attorney at the law firm Morgan Lewis who has worked for more than a decade on matters related to the Trump Organization — was brought in after Trump left the company in 2017 to assume the presidency.

The prosecutor asked if Dillon “basically directed you to clean things up at the Trump Organization?”

“It is,” McConney replied.

He said the investigation resulted in a memorandum, which was completed either in late 2017 or early 2018.

“From now on I was instructed to do things differently,” McConnie said.

Dillon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

As McConaughey began to describe the memo, lawyers for the Trump Organization objected, invoking attorney-client privilege, and the judge called a sidebar. Discussion of the memo was limited at the time.

Prosecutors allege that company executives used various methods to “hide” luxury benefits from tax authorities since at least 2005.

Lawyers for the company said in their opening statements Monday that it was only Weisselberg who concealed his failure to pay taxes on the benefits.

Weisselberg is expected to be called as a witness during the trial. Weiselberg entered a guilty plea in the case in August and agreed to testify as part of a plea deal. He will be sentenced after the trial, which will last up to six weeks.

McConney testified on Monday that his personal lawyer is being paid by the Trump Organization, and that he met with the company’s lawyers on Sunday, among others.

Judge Juan Mercan rejected the prosecutor’s request to treat him as a hostile witness.

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