A longtime executive of Donald Trump’s real-estate company admitted that he regularly included fake mansions and valued rent-stabilized apartments as market rate when calculating the former president’s net worth, wrapping up the first week of the civil fraud trial in Manhattan.
(Bloomberg) — A longtime executive of Donald Trump’s real-estate company admitted that he regularly included fake mansions and valued rent-stabilized apartments as market rate when calculating the former president’s net worth, wrapping up the first week of the civil fraud trial in Manhattan.
Jeffrey McConney, who joined the Trump Organization in 1987 and is a defendant with Trump in the case, testified on Friday that he added tens of millions of dollars a year to the former president’s annual financial statements for the value of mansions on his Seven Springs New York estate that did not exist.
The unbuilt mansions, valued at $35 million apiece, resulted in $161 million being added to Trump’s net worth annually for several years.
The rent-stabilized units at Trump Park Avenue and the unbuilt mansions in nearby Westchester County are among several groups of assets that Trump allegedly relied on to inflate his value of his assets by billions of dollars a year from 2011 to 2021. The monthslong civil trial is the first of six trials that Trump faces as he seeks to return to the White House.
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“You were aware that Park Avenue had these rent-stabilized units when you prepared these evaluations, correct?” asked Andrew Amer, a lawyer for New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“Yes,” replied McConney, the first witness in the case who worked at the Trump Organization and the first defendant to testify.
James alleges Trump reaped $250 million in “illegal profit” by inflating his assets and duping banks into giving him better terms on loans. She’s seeking repayment of that amount as well as a ban on Trump and his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, from running businesses in New York. The judge already ruled the Trumps are liable for fraud and ordered the dissolution of some of their business entities.
Trump’s lawyers on Friday asked a New York appeals court to pause the civil fraud trial while they fight the ruling.
Trump, who denies wrongdoing, unexpectedly attended the first three days of the trial, treating it like a campaign event and railing against James for suing him. The former president was hit with a gag order earlier in the week for attacking the judge’s clerk on social media.
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McConney worked closely for decades with Trump’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who last year pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges in a separate case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. In that case, a jury in December found two Trump companies guilty of engaging in a scheme that allowed Weisselberg and other executives to evade taxes for years on company-paid perks including free apartments and luxury cars.
McConney’s role in Trump’s company was previously put under the microscope in Bragg’s case. He worked closely with Weisselberg on financial matters for many years, and the former CFO accused his subordinate of participating in the tax scheme in that case. The controller reportedly testified before the New York grand jury which investigated the case under a grant of immunity.
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