Another Day, Another Criminal Investigation Into the Trump Organization
More legal trouble for Donald Trump.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Westchester County district attorney’s office has subpoenaed tax records from both Trump National Golf Club Westchester and Ossining, the town that sets its property taxes. The Times notes that District Attorney Mimi Rocah is likely concerned with whether the Trump Organization deliberately undervalued the property in order to pay less in taxes.
The Trump Organization has made a yearly habit of appealing its tax bill for the Westchester golf club by offering a much-lower assessment of the property’s value than what Ossining determined it is worth. One year, the Times notes, after Ossining said the club was worth $15 million, the company countered by claiming it was worth only $1.4 million, thus drastically reducing the taxes it paid. The practice is not out of the ordinary for country clubs, but the degree to which the Trump Organization is using it is reportedly what caught the attention of Rocah, a Democrat and onetime MSNBC talking head.
The probe, the specifics of which are unknown, is only a pebble on the ever-growing mountain of legal troubles Trump and his company have been contending with since he left office. Earlier this week, the former president sat down for a four-hour deposition for a lawsuit brought by activists who say they were assaulted while protesting outside of Trump Tower in New York in 2015. Trump will soon have to sit for another deposition for a case brought by Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, who is alleging Trump lied about not sexually harassing her. The Associated Press reported Wednesday morning that Trump is now looking to countersue Zervos.
There are also the criminal charges against the Trump Organization for a bevy of financial crimes related to handing out tax-free benefits to prominent executives. There are the election-tampering investigations in Michigan and Georgia, the latter focused on Trump appearing to instruct the secretary of state to “find” the votes necessary to overturn the 2020 election results. There are the complaints against Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, some of them from members of Congress. There’s the defamation suit from E. Jean Carroll, the writer who says Trump raped her in the Seventies. There’s a multilevel marketing suit. There’s a fraud suit related to the former Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama. The list goes on.
In fact, the investigation into potential tax chicanery at his Westchester golf club isn’t even the only legal trouble Trump is facing in Westchester County. New York Attorney General Letitia James has reportedly been investigating potential financial fraud at the Trump Organization’s Seven Springs estate. Trump bought the Westchester property for $7.5 million in 1995, failed to turn it into a golf resort, and later claimed a $21 million tax break for conserving its grounds as open space. Trump reportedly had the property appraised for $56 million, but local authorities believe it’s worth closer to $20 million — a million less than the deduction Trump claimed for the land.