Screws Tightening On Trump Accountant’s Family
Donald Trump has long bragged about his business acumen and perfecting “the art of the deal.” So why is it that such a shrewd businessperson would pay someone double the going salary to manage a New York City skating rink? The answer is that the manager’s last name is Weisselberg and is the son of his long-time family and corporate accountant, keeper of his financial secrets, Allen Weisselberg.
Financial records now in the possession of New York investigators and statements made by the skating rink manager, Barry Weisselberg, show that Trump paid him an annual salary of more than $200,000, $40,000 in yearly bonuses and provided him with free Trump Organization-owned apartments for years. While that lucrative compensation package is legal, it has drawn the scrutiny of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. as part of his ongoing probe of the finances of Trump and the Trump Organization. At issue is whether taxes were paid on the younger Weisselberg’s overall compensation.
On Thursday, Barry Weisselberg’s ex-wife, Jennifer Weisselberg, provided documents and a laptop to Vance’s office in response to a grand jury subpoena requiring her to produce all of the records she possessed for her ex-husband’s bank accounts and credit cards plus his statements of net worth and tax filings.
Those records were entered into the couple’s divorce proceedings, which began in 2017, and some were obtained by The Washington Post this week along with a transcript of the deposition Barry Weisselberg gave as a part of that legal process. The documents show an array of payments and perks that Barry Weisselberg and his family received as a result of his employment for Trump’s company over 18 years, likely raising key questions for investigators analyzing the finances of the cash-only skating rink and working to ascertain whether the proper taxes were paid.
For his work as a manager at the rink, which only operates from October through April, Barry Weisselberg said during his divorce proceedings that he had been paid an annual salary of over $200,000 for “as long as he could remember,” according to the transcript. That’s twice what someone would earn as the manager of a year-round indoor skating rink in the Washington, D.C., region.
In the deposition, Weisselberg acknowledged making errors in explaining information about his finances. He said, for instance, that he had forgotten that he shared an investment account with his father and he misstated his salary, prompting interjections from his attorneys when repeatedly confronted with contradictory information, the transcript shows.
He could not answer some questions about his taxes, the transcript shows. When asked whether taxes had been paid on the corporate apartment where his family previously lived, he said he wasn’t sure. Asked how the company determined the size of his bonuses, he said he had “no idea.”
When pressed in the deposition to explain discrepancies between what he said he earned and what he reported on tax forms for the Internal Revenue Service, he said: “I’m not an accountant. I know what I make. I’m not too sure of certain things.”
Despite the six-figure compensation he received for his work at the rink, Barry Weisselberg admitted in his divorce testimony that his living expenses were mostly covered by his father. While they were married, Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg lived rent-free for several years in two Trump-owned apartments in Manhattan, including one on Central Park South. That upscale neighborhood’s rents are among the highest in the city.