Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, lied in sworn testimony on Tuesday when questioned about Donald Trump’s penthouse atop Trump Tower.
Weisselberg was on the stand as part of a $250 million lawsuit that the New York attorney general is waging against Trump and his associates, including Weisselberg, accusing them of lying about Trump’s net worth to financial institutions. To arrive at inflated figures, the Trump Organization used demonstrably incorrect facts, such as valuing Trump’s penthouse as if it contained 30,000 square feet, when it in fact consisted of 10,996.
Under questioning, Weisselberg acknowledged that the 30,000-square-foot figure was wrong. He tried to suggest, however, that he had little to do with the bogus calculation, batting away a series of questions about the financial documents and discussions with Forbes, which has been valuing Trump’s fortune since 1982. “I never focused on the triplex, to be honest with you,” Weisselberg said. “It was almost de minimis relative to his net worth, so I really didn’t focus on it.”
He repeated similar lines as his testimony continued. “I never focused on the apartment Mr. Trump owned,” he said at one point. At another: “I didn’t correlate the square footage of Donald’s apartment. I never focused on it. It was always in my mind a de minimis asset of the overall of Donald J. Trump’s statement of financial condition. That was never a concern of mine. I never even thought about the apartment. It was de minimis in my mind.”
But that’s not true. A review of old emails and notes, some of which the attorney general’s office does not possess, show that Weisselberg absolutely thought about Trump’s apartment—and played a key role in trying to convince Forbes over the course of several years that it was worth more than it really was. Given the fact that these discussions continued for years, and that Weisselberg took a very detailed approach in reviewing Trump’s assets with Forbes, it defies all logic to think he truly believes what he is now saying in court. [Continue reading…]