New York’s attorney general continues to gather information about President Donald Trump’s business, obtaining financial records this month from the family of the Trump Organization’s CFO that could provide further insights into the company’s operations and tax strategies.
The office of Attorney General Letitia James is reviewing tax records associated with a son and ex-daughter-in-law of Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, according to a person familiar with the matter. James’s office is conducting a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to secure loans or tax benefits, she has said.
Bloomberg News reported on Nov. 2 that members of the Weisselberg family, including Trump Organization manager Barry Weisselberg and his now ex-wife, Jennifer, had received perks including years of free rent in a company-owned building adjacent to Central Park and use of the company’s accountant for personal tax filings. The Bloomberg report was based, in part, on documents provided by Jennifer Weisselberg.
Mary Mulligan, a lawyer for Allen Weisselberg, said that her client had done nothing wrong.
The attorney general’s office and Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, declined to comment. Barry Weisselberg didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Many of the benefits could create tax liabilities for the Weisselbergs, the Trump Organization or both, according to legal experts.
For example, employers normally can’t take a gift exemption for things of value provided to employees, according to tax and compensation lawyers who reviewed the transactions for Bloomberg but didn’t want to comment publicly about Trump’s business. Also free rent would constitute taxable income for employees unless an exemption applies, they said. Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg’s tax returns for four of the years they lived on Central Park South don’t appear to account for the perk.
Allen Weisselberg, who managed finances for Trump as well as his father, Fred, is the company’s highest-ranking non-family employee and was appointed to help oversee the trust set up by the president while he’s in the White House.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
In a 13-page executive summary of the investigation’s findings reviewed by NBC News, the Office of Professional Responsibility said it was Acosta who “made the pivotal decision to resolve the federal investigation of Epstein through a state-based plea and either developed or approved the terms of the initial offer to the defense that set the beginning point for the subsequent negotiations that led to the” non-prosecution agreement.
“The NPA was a flawed mechanism for satisfying the federal interest that caused the government to open its investigation of Epstein,” the report says.
In the course of the review, the office said members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office had concerns about “legal issues, witness credibility, and the impact of a trial on the victims” that led them to ultimately go for the non-prosecution agreement and avoid trial.
As a result, “OPR does not find that Acosta engaged in professional misconduct by resolving the federal investigation of Epstein in the way he did or that the other subjects committed professional misconduct through their implementation of Acosta’s decisions.”
The report also says that Acosta’s decision to bring charges against Epstein through the state led to a lack of transparency and left victims “feeling confused and ill-treated by the government.”
“In sum, OPR concludes that the victims were not treated with the forthrightness and sensitivity expected by the department.”
Acosta could not immediately be reached for comment.
As the dust settles from the 2020 presidential election, one disappointed Mississippi lawmaker has a proposition for the Magnolia State. Instead of being governed by President-elect Joe Biden, state Rep. Price Wallace (R) reportedly said on Twitter that Mississippi should “succeed” from the rest of the United States and form its own country.On Monday, the state’s attorney general became one of 10 across the country who pledged to join Trump’s attempt to stop Pennsylvania from counting mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day. Even before the race was called, Mississippi’s five Republicans in Congress released a joint statement that warned, without evidence, about the existence of “voting irregularities” across the country.
Despite the misspelling, his since-deleted tweet on Saturday afternoon, posted hours after the election was called for Biden, appeared to be an overt throwback to the Confederacy — in a part of the Deep South that only voted to remove the Confederate battle flag symbol from its own state flag earlier this year.
Although a small but growing number of GOP lawmakers have congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris on their victory, many others — including most of the state’s top Republicans — have backed President Trump’s efforts to challenge the results, according to the Mississippi Free Press.
But Wallace, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post, made a far more extreme claim: The Magnolia State should simply leave the United States.
It started with a Twitter thread from Robert Foster, a former Mississippi state representative and 2019 gubernatorial candidate who, in response to Biden’s victory, said that more votes needed to be counted before settling the race.
“The majority does not rule, the law derived from a Constitution has the final say,” Foster wrote, claiming the United States is a constitutional republic and not a democracy. “Democrats and their Fake News Cheerleaders are about to get a hard lesson in civics.”
Infighting has broken out between two leading members of the Proud Boys group, with one announcing he will be taking control of the far-right organisation to address "White Genocide" and the "failures of multiculturalism."
White nationalist Kyle Chapman—who set up the "tactical defense arm" of the Proud Boys, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK)—has criticized the group's chairman Enrique Tarrio while announcing a so-called rebranding of the organization.
Writing on encrypted messaging app Telegram, Chapman used racial slurs against Tarrio and other neo-Nazi rhetoric while announcing that the "grifting leaders" had been deposed and the group would be renamed the Proud Goys. The term "goy"—a Hebrew word for a non-Jewish person—is sometimes used by white supremacists to signal their anti-Semitic beliefs, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"Due to the recent failure of Proud Boy Chairman Enrique Tarrio to conduct himself with honor and courage on the battlefield, it has been decided that I Kyle Chapman reassume my post as President of Proud Boys effective immediately," Chapman wrote. "Our logo will forthwith be changed to reflect the core beliefs of Proud Boy members.
"We will no longer cuck to the left by appointing token negroes as our leaders. We will no longer allow homosexuals or other 'undesirables' into our ranks. We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilization.
"We recognize that the West was built by the White Race alone and we owe nothing to any other race."
Chapman, who goes by the nickname "Based Stickman" after he was photographed beating a protester with a stick at a Trump rally in Berkeley, California, in March 2017, went on to say the Proud Goys would fight for white people to "have their own countries where White interests are written into law."
The message was posted one day after Chapman criticized Tarrio's "inaction and fear" over a video that appeared to show the moment Tarrio and two other people were injured during a knife attack in Washington, DC in the early hours of November 4.
- President-elect Joe Biden is expected to start naming his White House and Cabinet picks soon, starting with Biden's former VP Chief of Staff Ronald Klain as White House Chief of Staff.
- California seismological researchers believe oil field fracking operations may have triggered several small earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault over the last decade.
- UN human rights officials are warning Yemen is facing another famine in 2021 as 80% of the population are unable to feed themselves and require food aid.
- UK PM Boris Johnson is facing the resignation of communications director Lee Cain, Johnson faces a growing revolt from Tory lawmakers over his response to the UK's growing COVID-19 crisis.
- Google says it will stop offering an unlimited storage plan for its Photos app, after May 2021 new high quality photos will now count against a user's Google Drive quota.