Paragraph 4 of the Weisselberg/Trump Organization indictment has a direct statement that the scam benefited more than just Weisselberg. It states: “The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books.’” The indictment goes on to repeatedly discuss the scammers in the plural:
“the beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means, with compensation that was unreported or misreported by the Trump Corporation or TrumpPayroll Corp. to the tax authorities. The scheme was intended to allow certain employees to substantially understate their compensation from the Trump Organization, so that they could and did pay federal, state, and local taxes in amounts that were significantly less than the amounts that should have been paid.”
The grand jury is clearly aware of other participants and beneficiaries in this scam but at this time Weisselberg is the only individual indicted. Who might the others be? One thing for sure, they know who they are and they have to be very worried right now.
I thought the choice of the word “executives” was interesting and I wondered if it was deliberate, and a clue. I searched for Trump Organization executives and the first hit was to THIS Trump Organization website on its leadership.
I clicked expecting a rather long list of leaders. In fact, only two leaders are mentioned. They are both described as “executive vice presidents” of the company. They are Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
In regards to Eric we are told that as “Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization, Eric is responsible for all aspects of management and operation of the global real estate empire.” As for the Junior Donald he “actively oversees The Trump Organization’s extensive property portfolio. He is involved in all aspects of the company’s development, from deal evaluation, analysis and pre-development planning to construction, branding, marketing, operations, sales and leasing.” Both biographies list specific projects and areas that the two manage. Junior, for example, was heavily involved in “management of all current and future Trump projects” while “Eric is directly responsible for overseeing the construction, management and daily operations of each Trump Golf property.”
Paragraph 1 of the indictment seems to discuss such people:
“the Trump Corporation serves as the employer of a group of senior managers of the Trump Organization, including Allen Weisselberg. These senior managers oversee many of the operating entities doing business as the Trump Organization, and they are based in Trump Tower. As the employer of Weisselberg and other senior managers, the Tramp Corporation was obligated report to federal, state, and local tax authorities the amount of compensation provided to its employees.”
It should be also be noted the indictment specifically includes a property leasing scam and that Junior’s bio expressly states that he “is also responsible for all of the commercial leasing for the Trump Organization.”
Another interesting thing to consider has been the reaction of the Trumps. They, and their attorneys, don’t seem to even be attempting to refute the facts of the ironclad allegations presented by the grand jury. Rather, they are arguing their own version of a “but everyone does it” defense and that such matters are addressed civilly, not criminally. Last night, Eric appeared on Fox News and had this to say:
”These are employments perks. A corporate car which everybody has, I guarantee there are people on this network who have corporate cars. I guarantee you there are people in every company in the country that have corporate vehicles. This is what they are going after, this isn’t a criminal matter.” —Eric Trump
Of course Eric leaves out the tiny problem that these are untaxed employment perks, which is the entire problem. One does wonder if Eric too has a “corporate car.”
Still it provides great insight into the potential mindset of the schemers. Naturally, they believed they would not be caught, and for 15 years they were not. However, they believed that in the unlikely event they were caught it would be as simple as paying a civil penalty and moving on. The whole possibility of jail has some folks very nervous.
By the way Eric, the “political prosecution” defense never works.
Are there others the grand jury could be referring to when it makes clear more were involved in the scheme. Yes, but at least some circumstantial evidence points in the direction of Eric and Donald Junior.