Donald Trump Jr. has come right out and acknowledged that one of the counts in the 15-felony indictment against his dad’s Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, is true.
In a rambling 13-minute video posted to Facebook on Thursday, Junior said that, yes, his father, former President Donald Trump, paid the private school tuition for Weisselberg’s grandkids. “My dad did that,” he said, because he’s a “good guy.”
MSNBC’s Ari Melber said on “The Beat” Friday that Don Jr. may have made things “worse” for the Trump Organization and Weisselberg with his remarks. “This is about off-the-books tax crime allegations,” Melber said. (Check out the video up top.)
A count in the indictment filed Thursday against Weisselberg and the former president’s business details the tuition payments — made in lieu of an equal portion of Weisselberg’s salary — as a part of an alleged wide-ranging scheme to defraud the government of taxes owed by both the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, by paying the CFO some of his earned compensation “off the books.”
According to prosecutors, the tuition money was part of Weisselberg’s salary — not charity from Trump. It was paid directly to the school so the Trump Organization could dodge payroll taxes on the money and Weisselberg could shirk income taxes, according to the indictment.
“The payment of tuition expenses for Weisselberg’s family members constituted employee compensation and taxable income” to Weisselberg that was “treated as part of Weisselberg’s annual compensation in internal records maintained by the Trump Corporation,” the indictment says. It was not, however, reported as income, prosecutors noted, and Weisselberg allegedly avoided paying taxes on nearly $360,000 paid directly as tuition.
The tuition was one of many similar “off the books” pay arrangements, the indictment alleges.
Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As for questionable compensation schemes, Trump’s oldest children could also be in trouble.
The New York Times reported Friday that New York City and state investigators issued subpoenas last year for information on Trump Organization tax write-offs for “millions of dollars of consulting fees” paid to TTT Consulting — a limited liability company set up for Trump’s three eldest children.
“Some of those fees appear to have been paid” to Ivanka Trump, the newspaper reported last year.
On a 2017 disclosure she filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, Ivanka “reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia,” the Times reported.
Ivanka Trump was a full-time employee of the Trump companies that made the payments, meaning she “appears to have been treated as a consultant while also working for the company” as a senior executive, the Times noted.
Eric Trump said he isn’t worried about indictments against him or his siblings. “We’ve always lived amazingly clean lives,” he told Newsmax Friday.
Twitter critics couldn’t wait to weigh in on the issue.
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