Politics Exclusive: New York City tax agency subpoenaed in Trump criminal probe
Ga. prosecutors launch criminal probe of Trump's efforts to overturn election
Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, have opened a criminal investigation into former President Trump's efforts to pressure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to "find" enough votes to reverse his 2020 electoral loss in the state, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.Fulton County's new district attorney, Fani Willis, sent a letter to state officials on Wednesday asking them to retain documents regarding a Jan. 2 phone call Trump made to Raffensperger, in which the now-former president pressed the state's top elections official to "find" 11,780 votes, enough to hand him a victory over President Biden in Georgia.
By Peter Eisler and Jason Szep
(Reuters) - The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has subpoenaed a New York City property tax agency as part of a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s company, the agency confirmed on Friday, suggesting prosecutors are examining the former president’s efforts to reduce his commercial real-estate taxes for possible evidence of fraud.
The subpoena is the latest indication that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is looking at the values Trump assigned to several commercial properties in tax filings and loan documents.
Pandemic, stimulus checks complicate tax-filing season for millions
The tax-filing season is now underway after a delayed start, and it's expected to bring challenges and confusion as taxpayers and the IRS navigate pandemic-related issues, including some pertaining to stimulus checks.The IRS started accepting 2020 tax returns on Friday, a couple of weeks later than the usual, after a coronavirus relief law was enacted in late December.Many Americans saw significant changes to the amount and sources of their income last year because of the pandemic, and they will have to file returns that take those into account.
Along with information already subpoenaed from creditors, the tax agency documents would help investigators determine whether Trump’s business inflated the value of his properties to secure favorable terms on loans while deflating those values to lower tax bills for those same properties.
New York City Tax Commission President Frances Henn confirmed the subpoena in response to an inquiry from Reuters.
The subpoena likely would compel the agency to provide detailed income and expense statements the Trump Organization would have filed as part of an effort to lower tax assessments on some of its commercial properties, according to people familiar with the commission’s operations. Trump's holdings include Trump Tower and Trump Plaza.
Washington state capital gains tax gets downsized ahead of potential Senate vote
Washington's first capital gains tax is one step closer to becoming law after surviving two dozen amendments by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. © Provided by Washington Examiner Sponsored by Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, Substitute Senate Bill 5096 would create a capital gains income tax, a first for Washington. “It’s a reasonable way of asking those wealthy few to join the rest of us in building a stronger, healthier state for all Washingtonians, a state in which they have thrived,” Robinson said.
Those filings typically would include valuations submitted by the company to challenge the market values assigned to Trump’s property by the city’s tax assessors, they added.
Subpoenas also have been issued to at least two creditors that helped finance Trump’s real-estate holdings, Deutsche Bank AG and Ladder Capital Finance LLC, Reuters has previously reported.
Vance’s office declined to comment on the tax commission subpoena. Deutsche Bank also declined to comment. Ladder Capital did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for Trump and a lawyer for the Trump Organization also did not respond to requests for comment.
Vance has not commented specifically on the focus of his investigation but noted in court filings that his office is exploring “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organization, including possible falsification of records as well as insurance and tax fraud.
Michael Cohen will be interviewed by Manhattan DA in Trump probe
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is set to interview Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen on Friday, DailyMail.com can reveal.Sources say the move could mean indictment of the former president and members of the Trump Organization in the financial fraud inquiry.
Vance’s investigation is the only known criminal probe of Trump’s real-estate business. New York State Attorney General Letitia James is leading a separate civil probe into whether Trump’s company falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.
The tax commission is New York City’s forum for adjudicating appeals of tax assessments set by the city’s Department of Finance, which manages property tax bills and collections. A spokeswoman for the New York City mayor’s office said the department had not been subpoenaed.
The tax assessments are based on a property’s market value, as determined by the department, so challenges require detailed documentation to show that the assigned value is not accurate, including revenue and occupancy data.
If Trump’s business claimed a substantially lower value for a property in its tax filings than it did in documents it submitted to creditors, the discrepancy could help back up a fraud charge, according to Daniel J. Horwitz, a white-collar defense lawyer who previously prosecuted tax and complex fraud cases during more than eight years in the Manhattan district attorney's office.
If there’s a “material difference” between the property values claimed in tax filings and the values claimed in loan documents, he added, “that’s fairly compelling.”
The annoyingly simple legal strategy Trump is using to avoid criminal charges .
Financial investigations are time consuming, and a U.S. president under criminal investigation has a number of tools at his disposal that can burn up even more time.Trump technically lost the court battle not to have to produce his tax materials, but he may have won the longer-term war — to slow the progress of the criminal investigations, perhaps to a point where prosecutors can no longer bring certain cases that have passed their statutes of limitations. Recently, the New York Legislature passed a new law that pauses the statute of limitations for the period of time when a president is in office; Congress has started a similar effort, but it needs to move faster.