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Former daughter-in-law of Trump Org officer has talked to New York prosecutors about rent-free apartments

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One of the prosecutors in the area could be studying whether to pay the proper taxes on the apartments, people familiar with the matter said. Weisselberg was married to Barry for 14 years until they divorced in 2018. Barry Weisselberg worked for the Trump Organization for more than a decade and was involved in managing two skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park. .

“For me, when the government calls you, it’s your civic duty and there’s nothing wrong with telling the truth. It wasn’t really an election; they called me,” Weisselberg said. “I’m happy to be so honest and transparent and to be close because I have nothing to hide.”

Prosecutors have launched an extensive network and are examining whether the Trump Organization deceived lenders and insurers about the value of certain properties, the legality of certain tax deductions, including consulting fees, and the easement of conservation on a property. family known as Seven Springs. familiar with the research, say.

They are also examining a loan for a Chicago skyscraper and repayment of payments to Michael Cohen, the former lawyer, who facilitated payments to women who allegedly had relationships with Trump, according to people. Trump has denied the allegations.

Lever to press a lieutenant of Trump

Researchers have been asking questions about Weisselberg’s children in an effort to try to take advantage and pressure the father to cooperate, people familiar with the subject say. It’s a common tactic used by prosecutors to try to get people to “flip” and build a case higher up the business ladder.

Financial investigations can be particularly difficult and prosecutors often receive help from insiders. In addition to digging up the gifts Barry Weisselberg received, prosecutors are also asking questions about another son, Jack Weisselberg, who works for Ladder Capital, a company that has lent the Trump Organization more than $ 100 million, according to have reported people familiar with the research. Neither child has been charged with misdemeanors. Jack Weisselberg was unable to contact Friday.

Allen Weisselberg is a key figure in the Trump Organization and once acknowledged in a statement that he is Trump’s “eyes and ears” from an economic standpoint. It is of interest to prosecutors because of their close working relationship with the former president. When Trump became president, he ran the company’s day-to-day operations in Weisselberg, along with Trump’s two adult children. Weisselberg initially worked for Fred Trump, Donald’s father, and has been the organization’s chief financial officer for decades.

A Weisselberg lawyer, who has not been charged with any offense, declined to comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Cy Vance, declined to comment. A Trump Organization lawyer could not be contacted, but the company has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Jennifer Weisselberg said James ’office came to its first meeting in September last year and has since spoken to prosecutors at Vance’s office several times, all by video.

He said investigators arrived at his apartment and collected a lot of documents, that forensic accountants have examined the records and that he hopes to meet again with prosecutors.

Focus on both apartments

One of the benefits the couple received was an apartment in Central Park South that she said they lived from 2005 to 2013. It wasn’t far from one of the ice skating rinks that Barry and Jennifer managed recalls. having been surprised on the day of her bridal shower, when Barry took her to the apartment and said, “This is your wedding gift from Donald and Melania.”

Jennifer Weisselberg said the apartment was in the process of being renovated at the time and was allowed to make decisions about renovation, including accessories and flooring, and that she wrote a letter to Donald and Melania Trump thanking them for the gift.

During her life in the apartment, Jennifer Weisselberg said the couple never received any invoices in the mail. Instead, he said, Barry wrote checks covering “utilities and costs” that reached $ 400 a month and handed them to Trump’s assistant. They also trusted the same accountant, Donald Bender, who the Trump Organization said, adding that he believed his fees were covered by his father-in-law. Barry Weisselberg made no comment when he contacted CNN.

“It made no sense to me that this person who was an assistant director, who had just started working on it, would be given this,” Jennifer Weisselberg told CNN.

After having two children, the couple moved from the apartment in 2013 to another with more space, Jennifer Weisselberg said, and believes the apartment was renovated again and sold. Public records show the unit sold for $ 2.9 million in 2014.

Jennifer Weisselberg said it wasn’t until the divorce proceedings began in 2017 that she learned through a deposition with Barry that the apartment was not a gift, but a corporate apartment, and if so, it could be considered compensation, which may raise doubts about whether it was properly reported in the tax filing.

“I didn’t know until then, when he said it was even a corporate apartment. It opened my mouth,” Jennifer Weisselberg said.

While the couple resolved the terms of the divorce, they lived in another Trump apartment on 61st Street in the East, Manhattan, without renting while “nesting,” a common practice in which distant spouses share time with their children. separately in the home where the children live.

Jennifer Weisselberg said the life agreement was stipulated as part of the terms of the divorce. CNN has contacted family lawyer Barry Weisselberg to comment on it several times.

“They didn’t even choose me to choose,” he said. “They drove me to the place and gave me keys. Literally. It turns out that apartment is also considered a corporate apartment in the legal documents. I didn’t even know it.”

The former couple is in the middle of a contentious custody dispute and Jennifer claims that Barry, who was granted full temporary custody of her children, is pressuring her not to talk about the investigation by withholding virtual visits with the children. Jennifer spoke with Bloomberg on research in November and with The New Yorker for a March 12 story.

Barry Weisselberg has temporary custody of his children.

Jennifer Weisselberg said she feels she has nothing left to lose and said she would be willing to testify if a case arose, adding, “I’m not saying this is easy.”

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