Trump Organization executives can’t stomach prison time and may flip if faced with criminal charges, former EVP says

donald trump in black car outside trump tower manhattan nyc
Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in Manhattan on March 9, 2021 in New York City.

  • Top Trump Organization executives may cooperate with prosecutors if facing criminal charges, a former EVP at the company said.
  • Allen Weisselberg and Matthew Calamari can’t stomach prison time, according to Barbara Res.
  • Res said they don’t have “black hearts” like former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former Trump Organization executive says that two top employees reportedly under scrutiny in the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into the company might cooperate if prosecutors introduce criminal charges against them.

Barbara Res, a former executive vice president at the Trump Organization, told Insider she believes Allen Weisselberg and Matthew Calamari wouldn’t be able to stomach prison time, nor risk criminal charges against their sons – both of whom are employed at the company.

“If you introduce the notion of criminal charges against any one of them, or their children, you change the game completely,” she said.

Res noted she doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of the Manhattan District Attorney’s or New York Attorney General’s investigation, and hasn’t been contacted by prosecutors from either office.

For two years, investigators have examined whether the Trump Organization or its executives committed tax, bank, or insurance fraud. The Manhattan DA’s office gave the company a Monday afternoon deadline to complete its arguments against being charged, according to the Washington Post.

People with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times that prosecutors may announce criminal charges against Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer and the company and family bookkeeper of 40 years, as soon as this week.

Manhattan prosecutors have sought Weisselberg’s cooperation and examined the finances of his son, Barry Weisselberg, who is also a Trump Organization employee. Jennifer Weisselberg, Barry Weisselberg’s ex-wife and a cooperating witness in the investigation, previously told Insider that the couple received tax-free perks from the company.

Prosecutors also told Calamari, the Trump Organization’s chief operating officer, to hire an attorney, according to the Wall Street Journal. They’ve asked about the possibility that Calamari skirted taxes on company perks, the Journal reported.

The former executive said Weisselberg and Calamari can’t stomach prison time

Res worked for the Trump Organization between 1980 and 1998, overseeing construction projects. During the 2020 election, she wrote a book about Trump and what she described as his condescending treatment of employees.

She told Insider that Weisselberg and Calamari, both colleagues during her years at the company, have been loyal to Trump. But she thinks neither could stomach prison time.

“It’s a very different thing than just doing a favor for Trump or engendering his admiration,” she said. “Now you’re asking people to take their loyalty to Trump, and keep it, even though they may have to go to jail for it – or worse, their child may have to go to jail.”

“I don’t know that either Calamari or Weisselberg can do that,” she added.

Matthew Calamari
Matthew Calamari.

Ronald Fischetti, an attorney representing the Trump Organization, told NBC News on Friday that Allen Weisselberg was not cooperating with prosecutors, who wanted him to implicate Trump in wrongdoing.

“They could not get him to cooperate because he would not say that Donald Trump had knowledge or any information that he may have been not deducting properly the use of cars or an apartment,” he said.

Jennifer Weisselberg previously told Insider she expected her former father-in-law to cooperate. She said that Allen Weisselberg holds Trump in high esteem, but would do anything to protect his son.

donald trump jr allen weisselberg
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017.

Legal experts told Insider that Weisselberg may be holding out for as long as possible to increase his leverage and ensure he won’t have to go to prison.

Manhattan prosecutors have empaneled a special grand jury that may bring charges against the Trump Organization, particular executives, or Trump himself. They have not made any accusations of wrongdoing at this point, and it’s possible no charges will be brought.

Trump himself has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has described the investigations into his conduct as politically motivated.

Top Trump Organization brass aren’t ‘evil’ like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, the former executive said

Res drew a distinction between Weisselberg and Calamari, and Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, both Trump loyalists.

Manafort, a longtime Republican operative who led Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was convicted of numerous crimes including fraud and witness tampering. Stone, another longtime Republican operative who worked for Trump, was convicted of lying to the FBI and witness tampering.

Res said she believes Manafort and Stone refused to cooperate with prosecutors because they knew Trump would pardon them. Trump pardoned Manafort and commuted Stone’s prison sentence shortly before the end of his presidential term.

Weisselberg and Calamari, she pointed out, have no shot at a pardon: They’re being investigated under state law in New York, where the governor is a Democrat.

“There is no pardon,” Res said. “There’s no get out of jail free card. It’s different.”

Manafort
Paul Manafort in 2019.

Res, who’s known Calamari and Weisselberg for decades, said neither of them had the inherent darkness of the Trump loyalists who were convicted.

“Manafort and Stone – Those guys are animals. They have evil hearts,” she said. “I knew Matt very well, and I know Allen pretty well. I don’t see them as having evil hearts like Trump and Manafort and Roger Stone.”

Neither Weisselberg nor Calamari have made public statements or been photographed much since Trump took office. Res said she believes the two executives are likely uncomfortable with the attention around the investigation.

Now, reporters are looking into Weisselberg’s and Calamari’s personal lives, apartments, and grandchildren’s schools.

“We hardly heard their names for four years when Trump was president,” Res said. “Now all of a sudden they’re in every paper.”

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Trump Org CFO’s ex-daughter-in-law has ‘several boxes of documents’ left to give prosecutors, her lawyer says

donald trump pause mouth anxious
Donald Trump in 2018.

  • Jennifer Weisselberg has more documents to give prosecutors, her lawyer said.
  • She’s the ex-wife of a Trump Org employee and cooperating with investigations into Trump’s finances.
  • Weisselberg hired a former top official in the Manhattan DA’s office to sift through the documents.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Jennifer Weisselberg, a cooperating witness in investigations into Donald Trump’s finances, still has “several boxes of materials” she has yet to give prosecutors, her lawyer told Insider.

The attorney, Duncan Levin, said in an interview that he was hired to conduct his own analysis of the reams of documents Weisselberg has, which include Trump Organization financial records and show how intertwined the company is with the Weisselberg family’s finances.

“We’re basically culling through it methodically, and we will turn over documents and information to law enforcement as is helpful,” Levin said.

Weisselberg has been speaking with prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the New York State Attorney General’s office as they investigate the finances of both Trump and the Trump Organization. The offices appear to be running parallel investigations into whether the former president and his company misrepresented the values of properties and other assets in order to pay less in taxes and procure favorable loan terms.

Weisselberg obtained the documents through a contentious divorce from Barry Weisselberg, who she was married to between 2014 and 2018, after a judge forced him to submit for a deposition and subpoenaed his financial information. Barry Weisselberg is the son of Allen Weisselberg, the longtime CFO of the Trump Organization who also manages the Trump family’s personal finances, and is a key Trump Organization employee in his own right as the manager of the company-run Wollman Rink in Central Park.

Read more: The Manhattan DA’s office picked up the pace of its investigation into Trump’s finances once it hired a prosecutor who used to pursue mob bosses, a cooperating witness says

Levin, himself a former top official in Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office, is determining which documents might be relevant for the investigations before handing them over.

“She has joint bank account information, credit cards, tax records, tax returns – that’s the meat of what we’re looking at, to see what types of patterns we might be able to find,” Levin said.

Trump himself has disparaged the investigations as politically motivated. Allen Weisselberg’s attorney has declined to comment on his role in the investigations.

Weisselberg’s lawyer is an expert in financial fraud

In an earlier interview with Insider, Weisselberg said she gave “seven boxes of documents” to investigators in both offices, and that she had been cooperating with them since the fall.

She said investigators she spoke with appeared to be interested in information about the Trump Organization’s finances, how the company operates, and in potentially “flipping” her former father-in-law into a cooperating witness himself.

“They picked up documents many times. They ended up taking seven boxes of my documents and scanning them, going through them,” she said, adding that “they took depositions, they took checks, routing numbers, bank-account [information], and things like that.”

cyrus vance jr federal court
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Vance’s investigation in particular appears to be heating up. Shortly after Trump left office, Vance hired Mark Pomerantz, a seasoned prosecutor of white-collar crimes and mob bosses, to help the investigation. Pomerantz has interviewed Jennifer Weisselberg several times, she told Insider. And Vance is widely expected to bring indictments before he leaves office at the end of this year.

“It was my distinct impression that things are heating up and that this investigation is of intense focus for prosecutors at the DA’s office,” Levin said. “They are staffed up and ramped up to investigate every aspect of this that they can.”

Levin, now a partner with his firm Tucker Levin PLLC, worked as the head of the Asset Forfeiture division for Vance between 2011 and 2014. Prior to that, he held positions as a prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and in private practice with Vance, along with an earlier stint at the Manhattan DA’s office under Vance’s predecessor, Robert Morgenthau.

Together with a forensic accountant, Levin said he’s sorting through the remaining documents in Weisselberg’s possession.

“I’ve been building complex financial fraud cases for 20 years now,” Levin said. “I have been in close contact with the prosecutors’ offices. We have indicated to them that we are going through these documents in a very sophisticated way.”

donald trump jr allen weisselberg
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017.

Levin said the documents he’s reviewed show just how intertwined the Trump Organization’s finances were with the Weisselberg family’s finances. As Bloomberg News initially reported and Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider, Allen Weisselberg ensured his own family members got perks like apartment buildings and tuition payments through the Trump Organization – benefits that are now being scrutinized by prosecutors.

“I can’t comment on any specific documents that may or may not belong to the Trump Organization, but I can say that the source of funds for their lifestyle was largely from the Trump Organization,” Levin said.

Jennifer Weisselberg previously told Insider that the Trump Organization would give those perks in lieu of raises as a way to control employees.

“They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” she said. “It’s so controlling.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Jennifer Weisselberg said she gave investigators probing Trump’s finances ‘7 boxes of documents’ she got in her divorce from the Trump Org CFO’s son

trump troubled
Donald Trump in September.

  • Jennifer Weisselberg says she gave prosecutors looking into Trump “seven boxes” of documents.
  • The Trump Organization documents came from a divorce case with the company’s CFO’s son.
  • The Manhattan DA’s office got a fuller picture of Trump Org finances after a subpoena in February.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Prosecutors learned details about the Trump Organization’s finances after a key employee tried to withhold them in his divorce case, that employee’s ex-wife told Insider.

The move backfired. The judge in the divorce case forced him to sit for a deposition and hand over the documents as part of a subpoena, according to Jennifer Weisselberg.

Jennifer Weisselberg, now a cooperating witness in investigations into Trump’s finances, said she ultimately got “seven boxes” of financial documents and gave them to investigators last fall.

“They picked up documents many times. They ended up taking seven boxes of my documents and scanning them, going through them,” she told Insider, adding: “They took depositions, they took checks, routing numbers, bank account [information], and things like that.”

Prosecutors in the New York Attorney General’s office and Manhattan District Attorney’s office are running parallel investigations into Trump’s and his company’s finances, looking into whether they distorted financial information in tax and loan documents. The Manhattan DA’s office successfully subpoenaed the Trump Organization for millions of pages of documents in February, gaining a fuller picture of the company’s financial affairs.

But an earlier peek into those finances came in September, when Jennifer Weisselberg handed her documents over. Weisselberg was married to Barry Weisselberg, the son of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, between 2004 and 2018. Barry Weisselberg is also a key employee of the Trump Organization in his own right, managing the Wollman Rink in Central Park in Manhattan.

Barry Weisselberg initially withheld financial information from Jennifer during divorce proceedings, she said. The divorce judge recognized perks he received from the Trump Organization – like their shared apartment – could have monetary value and should be considered during divorce negotiations, she said.

“The judge said there was a lot of imputed money,” Jennifer Weisselberg said. “They subpoenaed a lot of things after Barry’s deposition.”

An attorney representing Barry Weisselberg didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

‘I don’t think they realized that I had that stuff’

Donald and Melania Trump gave Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg an apartment in the Trump Parc East Building in Manhattan as a wedding gift. It was part of many perks the Trump Organizations offered members of the Weisselberg family, as reported by Bloomberg’s Cabe Melby in November.

Following the publication of that article, investigators in the New York Attorney General’s office expressed renewed interest in the documents Jennifer Weisselberg gave them, she said.

“Since the Bloomberg article came out – I don’t think they realized that I had that stuff,” Weisselberg told Insider. “The AG came and they started picking up more boxes.”

donald trump tower standing pose
Donald Trump poses for photographs in his Trump Tower office on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, in New York.

Weisselberg said the perks the Trump Organization offered, like the apartment and payments for their children’s tuition, were used in lieu of normal salary raises. They functionally allowed the company to exercise a measure of control over their lives, she said.

“It’s so controlling,” she continued. “Because if you want to leave and make the same money – you live there. If you want to leave, where are you going to live?”

Jennifer Weisselberg said she’s now glad to have left Trumpworld.

“I don’t want anything to do with them,” she said. “I don’t want their money. I’m good.”

Prosecutors in the Manhattan DA’s office are now interested in “flipping” Allen Weisselberg to guide them through the millions of documents they’ve obtained, according to The Washington Post. They are looking into whether perks like the apartment broke tax laws, according to Bloomberg.

The office recently hired Mark Pomerantz, who has experience as a prosecutor pursuing mob bosses. It also sent a forensic accountant with experience analyzing mob finances to review Jennifer Weisselberg’s documents, she said.

Representatives for the Trump Organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. Representatives for Allen Weisselberg, the Manhattan DA’s office, and the New York Attorney General’s office declined to comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Trump Organization controlled employees by giving them houses and paying for their kids’ tuition instead of giving raises, the ex-wife of a key employee says

donald trump tower elevator
Donald Trump boards the elevator at Trump Tower in New York City on January 16, 2017.

  • The Trump Org uses unusual financial arrangements to control employees, a cooperating witness said.
  • It paid for apartments and tuition instead of normal salary raises, Jennifer Weisselberg said.
  • The Manhattan DA office hired investigators who have experience studying mob finances.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The former wife of a key Trump Organization employee scrutinized by prosecutors said the company holds sway over employees through unusual financial arrangements, including paying for her home and tuition for her children.

“They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” Jennifer Weisselberg said in an interview with Insider. “It’s so controlling.”

Weisselberg is a cooperating witness in investigations into Donald Trump’s finances. Between 2004 and 2018, she was married to Barry Weisselberg, the son of Trump’s loyal longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg. Barry Weisselberg is also a significant employee for the company in his own right, as the manager of the Trump Organization-operated Wollman Rink in Central Park.

Jennifer Weisselberg said she handed over “seven boxes” of documents that came out of her divorce proceedings to prosecutors. Prosecutors in both the Manhattan District Attorney’s and New York Attorney General’s offices are investigating the finances of Trump and the Trump Organization. The Manhattan DA’s office is analyzing whether they violated tax laws by distorting financial information to receive favorable loan terms and pay little in taxes.

The office successfully subpoenaed millions of pages of tax documents from the Trump Organization in February. Prosecutors there are now seeking to “flip” Allen Weisselberg into guiding them through those pages, the Washington Post reported.

Jennifer Weisselberg says the company retains a grip on key employees by withholding raises. In yearly compensation meetings with Barry Weisselberg, she said, Trump or Allen Weisselberg would offer to pay the tuition of their children instead of giving raises. She said her ex-husband’s base salary didn’t change substantially in the roughly 20 years he’s worked there.

“It was like Allen designing a plan,” she said. ‘It was like, ‘Okay, the way we’re going to maestro this is instead of a raise, we’re going to pay my daughter’s tuition. Instead of a raise, we’re going to pay for the apartment.'”

‘If you want to leave, where are you going to live?’

Donald and Melania Trump gave Jennifer and Barry Weisselberg an apartment in their Trump Parc East building by Central Park in Manhattan as a wedding gift, as Bloomberg News first reported. The couple paid only $400 per month in utilities and other fees – far below the market rate for rent. Prosecutors are examining whether the way the arrangement was reported in tax documents violated tax laws, according to Bloomberg News.

These arrangements, while generous on the surface, also served as a way to keep Trump Organization employees in line, Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider.

“Obviously, it’s not a gift when you get the same salary for 20 years,” she said.

“It’s so controlling,” she continued. “Because if you want to leave and make the same money – you live there. If you want to leave, where are you going to live?”

donald trump tower sitting desk smiling smile
Donald Trump at his desk in his office in Trump Tower.

Since Allen Weisselberg handled the finances for both the Trump Organization and her family, gifts like that also served as a way to avoid paying taxes, Jennifer Weisselberg said.

“That’s the compensation. They just pay for everything, instead of paying on the books,” she said. “It was a way Allen decided to [benefit] Donald, or to avoid employee taxes, state taxes, gift taxes. I mean, if you want to get compensated and thank Donald – great. But you got to pay taxes on it.”

In February, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. hired Mark Pomerantz, a well-regarded white-collar attorney with experience investigating mob organizations, to join the team looking into the Trump Organization. Jennifer Weisselberg has spoken with Pomerantz several times since, she told Insider. The office also sent a forensic accountant with experience analyzing mob finances to look at her documents, she said.

Representatives for the Trump Organization and for Barry Weisselberg didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story. Representatives for Allen Weisselberg, the Manhattan DA’s office, and the New York Attorney General’s office declined to comment.

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