By Molly Crane-Newman, New York Daily News (TNS)
When Donald Trump left his namesake company for the White House and put his sons in charge, they learned a top executive was cheating on his taxes. Then they gave him a raise.
That head exec, former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, testified in Manhattan Supreme Court Friday that Eric and Donald Trump Jr. gave him a $200,000 bump after they learned the family business was footing the bill for his luxury lifestyle and dodging the tax man.
“Did the company reduce your salary one penny?” Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger asked Weisselberg.
“No,” he said.
“Even with your betrayal of the trust?” said Hoffinger.
“Correct,” the 75 year old replied.
The Trump sons also learned Weisselberg and other executives, including the company’s chief operating officer Matthew Calamari, Sr., received bonuses for hundreds of thousands of dollars as freelancers, Weisselberg said.
That meant the Trump Organization wasn’t on the hook for payroll tax deductions or medicare.
All of that ended when Trump became president, so Weisselberg got a pay bump the regular way.
“Were you, in fact, given a raise” totaling $200,000?” Hoffinger asked in another line of questioning.
Weisselberg said he did and admitted to the criminal tax fraud scheme in exchange for a shorter prison sentence in exchange for his truthful testimony.
The Trump Organization, the holding company that manages around 500 Trump-owned entities, and its subsidiary Trump Payroll Corp., have pleaded not guilty to all charges. They face $1.76 million in fines if convicted.
Trump, his adult sons, and executives like Calamari, who jurors have heard also dodged taxes, have not been charged in the criminal case.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said he will publicly declare his decision on whether to bring charges against the former president. The broader investigation into Trump, which the trial case stems from, has been going on for three years.
Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August, said his summer 2021 arrest didn’t affect his good standing with the family to whose company he dedicated most of his adult life and career to.
The Trump Organization has paid him more than $1 million this year between his salary and bonus, is paying the three lawyers representing him, and is on track to give him a $500,000 bonus in January.
Nearing the end of his time on the witness stand, Trump Corporation lawyer Susan Necheles asked Weisselberg if he felt caught between two positions—loyalty to the Trump family and the prosecutors with his fate in their hands.
“What is in my mind right now is to tell the truth,” said Weisselberg. “Period.”
(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/TNS)
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