Donald Trump’s questionable business practices and lack of honesty have him in serious legal jeopardy yet again, and this time he and his company, the Trump Organization, are under the legal microscope in the president’s home state.
Politico reports that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has forwarded documents which allege possible tax fraud by the Trump Organization to the District Attorney of Manhattan:
“The de Blasio administration has referred findings from a review of the Trump Organization’s property tax filings to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday morning.”
Late last year, a blockbuster report from ProPublica and WNYC revealed that Trump’s company regularly cited lower income from its properties when reporting to New York tax authorities and then bragged about higher property values when trying to lure investors for real estate projects:
“In this case, the Trump Organization filed an appeal with the city’s Tax Commission, which handles challenges to property tax assessments made by the Department of Finance. ProPublica reviewed the contents of that appeal and compared it to a loan document that also included information about 40 Wall Street’s finances.”
As ProPublica noted in their October report, experts on taxation say there is clear evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump Organization:
“A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. ‘This kind of stuff is not OK.'”
The state of New York makes it clear on tax forms that any false statements can result in serious penalties:
“New York City’s property tax forms state that the person signing them ‘affirms the truth of the statements made’ and that ‘false filings are subject to all applicable civil and criminal penalties.’
“The punishments for lying to tax officials, or to lenders, can be significant, ranging from fines to criminal fraud charges.”
Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, can also corroborate that Trump’s company committed fraud on numerous occasions. He has testified under oath that Trump boosted his assets when talking to investors and then turned around and devalued those same properties when it was time to pay taxes.
Quite clearly, New York is not playing around, and both Trump and the Trump Organization are on the hook for some major felonies. Even worse for Trump is the fact that he has almost no friends in high places back in his home state. Also, he cannot pardon anyone in order to buy their silence.
Time for Trump to pay a price for his crimes.