Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was indicted on Thursday for financial crimes. The man who has managed Donald Trump’s accounts for nearly 40 years is the priority of all investigators interested in the affairs of the former US president.
On the one hand, there is the Trump Organization, a faceless and sprawling entity that oversees the real estate empire of the former US president. On the other, there is Allen Weisselberg, a little man of 73 years with a bald head who wears glasses, a mustache and has been keeping Donald Trump’s accounts for almost half a century.
The two were indicted Thursday, July 1, for tax offenses by New York prosecutor Cyrus Vance. Allen Weisselberg, financial director of the Trump Org., Thus becomes the only natural person to be sued by name by the New York authorities in the context of this procedure started three years ago.
This shows if this accountant is important in the eyes of investigators who want to know more about the affairs of Donald Trump. Allen Weisselberg may be little known to the general public, know how to be discreet and have adopted the look of a simple anonymous office scraper, he is a central cog of Trump Inc.
He is one of the employees in whom the former US president trusts the most … and for the longest time. When Donald Trump entered the White House in November 2016, he entrusted the keys of his empire to his two sons and to Allen Weisselberg.
He has been nicknamed the boss’s “Mr Loyal”, his good little soldier who is always ready to carry out orders and anticipate them. He and Donald Trump “are like Batman and Robin. They are a team that works perfectly ”, explained Jenny Weisselberg, the ex-wife of Allen Weisselberg’s son, interviewed by the New York Times. “If Donald had caught a cold, Allen was sneezing”, told the Wall Street Journal a former Trump Organization employee on condition of anonymity.
A symbiotic relationship that did not happen overnight. Allen Weisselberg entered the service of the Trump family in the early 1970s when the great leader was Fred Trump, the much feared family patriarch.
Allen Weisselberg started at the bottom of the ladder, as a simple accountant. From the beginning of the 1980s, he was noticed by Donald Trump, then trying to set up his own real estate empire.
In his spare time, the accountant puts himself at the service of the boss’s son. He spends his evenings and weekends putting Junior’s accounts in order, tells the New Yorker in an article published in 2018, devoted to Allen Weisselberg.
A dedication rewarded in 1986 when Donald Trump offered him to work full time for him. Allen Weisselberg will then climb the ladder of the nascent real estate empire, getting involved body and soul in his work. This is how he built his professional legend: that of the employee who always arrives first at the office, and leaves last. He also often bragged about never taking a vacation, says ProRepublica, an American investigative journalism site.
The man of all secrets ….
In 2000, he finally obtained the position of financial director. First only Donald Trump’s casinos, then all of the group’s activities.
He then becomes the person within the Trump Empire with the most comprehensive view of all the affairs of the group. Especially since he is known to want to oversee everything down to the smallest detail, says the Washington Post.
From there, he began to gain fame among those who closely followed the rise of the real estate mogul to President of the United States. “Journalists covering Donald Trump’s affairs have all heard someone they talk to say in one form or another, ‘I don’t know, Allen knows about it,’” said Adam Davidson, reporter at New Yorker, interviewed by the Washington Post.
Allen Weisselberg had a front row seat when Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt in 2002. He handled the accounts of the controversial Trump Foundation, which had long served as a slush fund for Donald Trump. He is also the one who takes care of the financial aspect of the expansion of the Trump empire internationally.
Finally, he also handled more sensitive issues … such as finding a financial arrangement with Stormy Daniels, a former porn star who threatens to reveal his affair with Donald Trump as the latter prepares to launch his campaign to become President of the States -United.
This file will be worth to Allen Weisselberg his first setbacks with the justice system. It is Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer of Donald Trump, who will implicate the financial director of the Trump Org. in this case in 2018. He tells investigators that Allen Weisselberg is the one who has all the answers about the money paid to the porn star.
… Is he going to sit at the table?
When the US Department of Justice announces that Allen Weisselberg will be granted immunity in exchange for his testimony in this case, the planet Trump holds its breath. The man who knows where the smallest penny of the fortune of the former president is hiding will he sit down to table?
Finally, the “Mr. Loyal” did not seem then to have been ready to unpack everything. Those close to Donald Trump are all the more delighted that the immunity guarantees Allen Weisselberg no longer to be questioned in the context of federal investigations concerning his boss.
But Trump’s CFO is not immune at the state level. And the New York attorney is interested in his compensation. Not his official salary – about $ 400,000 a year plus bonuses of up to $ 500,000 – but the benefits that Allen Weisselberg allegedly forgot to report to the tax authorities. These include free accommodation in one of Donald Trump’s luxury resorts, a free car, a scholarship for one of his children to go to one of the best private schools on the Coast. East, etc.
For the New York Times, these accusations of tax crimes are a way “to increase the pressure on Allen Weisselberg, so that he brings information to feed the investigation in progress” on the affairs of Donald Trump. He may not have cracked the Stormy Daniels case, but “the prospect of serving up to ten years in prison [pour ces délits fiscaux, NDLR] could convince him, ”notes the New York daily.
Donald Trump does not want to believe it. He has said in the past to trust Allen Weisselberg “100%”. And after the announcement of the indictment of his financial director, he denounced a “witch hunt” against a real “man of honor”. An interesting terminological choice, since it is also one of the nicknames given to the Mafiosi who swear not to break the omerta.