Little-known Trump Organization employee takes the fall for alleged tax fraud scheme: report

Loyalist Jeffrey McConney took the blame for off-the-books payments after refusing to turn on Trump

By Travis Gettys

Published April 18, 2022 11:30AM (EDT)

US President-elect Donald Trump along with his son Donald, Jr., arrive for a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, as Allen Weisselberg (C), chief financial officer of The Trump, looks on January 11, 2017. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
US President-elect Donald Trump along with his son Donald, Jr., arrive for a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, as Allen Weisselberg (C), chief financial officer of The Trump, looks on January 11, 2017. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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A high-ranking employee of the Trump Organization has remained loyal to the former president during the Manhattan district attorney's investigation of the company's finances.

Jeffrey McConney, the company controller and chief lieutenant to former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, testified before a grand jury before he was was indicted in June 2021, but he took the blame for any off-the-books perks in Weisselberg's salary, according to court documents reviewed by "The Daily Beast".

"I didn't think or know they had to be reported," McConney told the grand jury. "Until recently, I never thought [the apartment and tuition] had to be income — included as income."

Investigators believe Weisselberg's corporate perks — an apartment, luxury car and private school tuition for his grandchildren — were kept off the books to avoid paying taxes on them, but McConney insists they were only "a generous gesture to Mr. Trump," and the company and Weisselberg say this testimony proves there was no criminal conspiracy.

Mr. McConney testified over and over before the grand jury that, at the time of the alleged events in question, he did not think he was doing anything wrong," wrote Susan R. Necheles, a lawyer for the Trump Organization. "And to the extent that certain alleged fringe benefits did not get reported as taxable income, that was an error on his part. This means that Mr. McConney did not act 'willfully,' an essential element of a criminal tax offense."

The longtime corporate accountant was in prime position to take down the Trump Organization, but he had taken the fall for the company before and appears willing to do it again.

McConney had previously told investigators that he "probably didn't know" the company should not use its donor-funded charity to pay off a lawsuit settlement or donate $25,000 to then-Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, and a source said he was "less than forthcoming" in his testimony.

It's not clear exactly what McConney told the grand jury or whether he possibly slipped up and incriminated Trump, Weisselberg or anyone else, but his cooperation allows him to avoid charges for any crimes he might have revealed in his testimony, although he could potentially be charged with perjury if he lied under oath.

Weisselberg, who is set to stand trial this summer, has been trying to get a state judge to dismiss the case, and he so far has been unwilling to cooperate in the investigation of Trump's role in the alleged tax fraud scheme.

Prosecutors have decided not to charge his son Barry Weisselberg, who ran the all-cash Wollman ice skating rink in Central Park, for receiving untaxed corporate perks, although they haven't explained that decision.


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