Donald Trump and Allen Weisselberg, the former president’s former chief financial officer.
Trump’s loyal ex-CFO, Allen Weisselberg, began court-ordered testimony in the NY civil fraud trial.The former top numbers man is not quite half-way through collecting $2 million in severance.On the stand Tuesday, Weisselberg called tripling the size of Trump’s penthouse a “minor” mistake
Any time New York Attorney General Letitia James details Donald Trump’s alleged hyper-exaggerations of his worth, his tripling of the square footage of a triplex penthouse in Manhattan’s Trump Tower — in five years of financial records — tops her list.
On Tuesday, Trump Organization ex-CFO, Allen Weisselberg, took the stand as James’ civil fraud trial began its second week.
Throughout the morning, he repeatedly responded to the AG lawyer’s questioning by saying he didn’t “recall” details about his work there, or minimizing errors in the company’s financial statements to banks.
First, though, there were two little bombshells. Weisselberg testified that he is still in the midst of pocketing the installments of a $2 million severance package for his work at Trump Org.
Second, the judge in the non-jury trial was shown a 1994 real estate record that accurately listed the triplex’s square feet at 10,996 – not the 30,000 square feet that Trump claimed in official banking statements in 2012 through 2016.
This document, projected on a courtroom screen, was signed by Trump personally. And it sat in a file cabinet right outside Weisselberg’s office at the Trump Organization’s headquarters, also in Trump Tower, testimony revealed.
“I just don’t recall whether there were any,” Weisselberg said when asked by Attorney Louis M. Solomon if there were file cabinets containing real estate records and appraisals just outside his office door. Solomon heads the AG’s real estate finance enforcement section.
Weisselberg repeatedly testified that he did not recall certain details of how that now-admitted error got into five years of financial statements, which Trump used to win better interest rates from banks.
The ex-CFO also downplayed the error as “minor,” even though in each of those years it added between $100 million and $200 million of what James calls fictitious worth to his then-boss’s bottom line.
“I never focused on it,” Weisselberg told the state’s lawyer. “It was a de minimus asset,” he said of the penthouse. That was never a concern of mine.”
James has called Trump’s valuing of his triplex “absurd,” noting that the $327 million valuation listed for the property in a 2015 financial statement was three times higher than any other apartment in New York had sold for at that time – including much newer and nicer ones.
This is a developing story; please check back for updates.