In a court document Tuesday, DC Attorney General Karl Racine’s office revealed that the former president’s son was deposed on February 11.
Filing says Trump’s deposit raises “more questions about the nature” of a hotel bill that Racine’s office has investigated. The Attorney General claims the Trump Organization signed a contract with the Loews Madison Hotel for $ 49,358.92 for a block of rooms during the 2017 inauguration, and later passed the bill to the President’s Inaugural Committee, which then paid the filing.
Trump Jr. and his brother Eric Trump, executive vice presidents of the Trump Organization who run the real estate company on a daily basis, have increasingly come to the fore as the authorities turn their attention to real estate owned by the former president’s sons.
In addition to the DC Attorney General’s lawsuit, attorneys at the Manhattan Attorney General are investigating the company’s finances and asking questions about businesses with which both brothers are closely related, including the Trump family company known as Seven Springs in New York, as well as Trump Tower and 40 skyscrapers on Wall Street, according to someone familiar with the matter.
One person said prosecutors ask “about anything under the sun about Donald, Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric, [and] Allen Weisselberg, “the Chief Financial Officer.
Eric Trump was deposed by New York attorney general investigators as part of a civil investigation into the Trump organization. Ivanka Trump sat for a deposit with the Attorney General’s Office in Washington in December.
CNN has asked Trump’s lawyers for comment.
Attorney General asks for more time
The DC Attorney General has asked for more time to gather discovery material and conduct tipping. According to the bureau, “repeated obstacles have been encountered, including misleading statements, a closed hotel and new information released after the deadline for issuing discovery requests, which passed on Feb. 8.”
Loews Madison is closed due to the pandemic and has changed hands twice, according to filing.
According to the case, ten witnesses were dismissed in the case, but only three were reported to testify about the Trump Presidential Inaugural Committee’s payment of Loews Madison’s bill. A committee spokesman declined to comment on the filing.
“These witnesses gave inconsistent reports about the purpose of the contract and why the PIC agreed to pay it, and none of the witnesses gave a full or accurate account of the circumstances of the bill,” the attorney general’s office wrote on the file.
Rick Gates, vice chairman of the president’s opening committee, testified that he received an email in July 2017 from a debt collection agency for Loews Madison’s unpaid bill.
In his deposition, Gates said the hotel rooms were booked by a man named Gentry Beach, who was a friend and chief of staff of Donald Trump Jr. Gates said Beach had told him that the rooms were for people who had donated to the PIC and that “the hotel bill should be paid by PIC,” according to Gates’ deposit, adding that there was a “donor package” the hotel room contained “if you’ve donated at a certain level”.
But Trump Jr. gave a different explanation for the names of the rooms billed to the committee, saying they were “linked to the campaign or to the Trump family,” according to the attorney general.
“For example, Mr. Trump testified that one person was a college friend, one was a Trump family driver, another was a New York Real Housewives celebrity who is also a Trump family friend,” the file said .
Notes from the collection agency that were included in the court records reveal discussions between the collection agency, PIC and the Trump Organization about who would pay the bill.
“Rick Gates will provide the payment but has to change the name,” said a July 2017 statement from the debt collection agency. “It just can’t say ‘The Trump Organization’.”
Later, an entry from the debt collection agency asks if Gates promises something in writing that he will pay for.
“I hesitate because they are all pointing their fingers and apologizing for not paying, and this seems to be another trick so that the Trump organization name is not on it,” the debt collection agency’s note read July 2017.
Gates testified that the committee ended up paying the bill. CNN asked Gates for a comment.
Trump children under the microscope
The Manhattan Attorney’s investigation into the Trump Organization is far-reaching and touches many facets of the business. Questions about senior executives are in line with an investigation seeking to understand how the Trump organization works, which includes Trump’s children who play an important role.
Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump held senior positions with the company for years before their father became president and were involved in some of the properties examined. Eric Trump has an interest in the Seven Springs property, which CNN says is under review by the New York attorney general and the prosecutor’s office.
Donald Trump Jr. has an interest in several Manhattan properties, including 40 Wall Street, which have also caught the attention of investigators investigating whether lenders have been misled about the value of certain assets. Eric Trump was dismissed by New York Attorney General investigators last fall as part of a civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances in connection with the tax treatment of the Seven Springs estate. The Manhattan Attorney’s Office has also cited information about consulting fees paid by the Trump Organization to Ivanka Trump, according to people familiar with the investigation. However, there is no indication that it will be checked for receipt of payment.
Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Weisselberg – the CFO of the Trump organization – were not accused of wrongdoing. CNN has asked the Trump Organization for comment. The organization has previously stated that it will comply with all laws.
The former president has called the prosecutor’s investigation a witch hunt. The prosecution could not be reached immediately for comment.
One insider turned informant is Michael Cohen, the former president’s fixer and personal lawyer who spent 10 years in the Trump organization. Cohen claimed in Congress that the Trump Organization wrongly increased the value of certain assets when Trump was looking for loans and insurance, and drained them when the time came to pay taxes. The New York attorney general has attributed Cohen’s allegation to starting her civil investigation. Cohen has received numerous interviews with Manhattan attorneys over the past two years.
Cohen is due to meet with prosecutors for the sixth time on Friday, the person said. An interview last week lasted several hours. In attendance were Mark Pomerantz, a former federal attorney with experience in complex financial investigations who recently joined the district attorney’s team, and Cy Vance, the district attorney, the person familiar with the matter.
Cohen has pleaded guilty to nine criminal charges, including Congressional lies, tax fraud and campaign funding allegations for facilitating hush-money payments to two women who alleged extramarital affairs with Trump prior to his presidency. Trump has denied the matter.
This story has been updated with additional details.