If we’ve learned anything about the former president, we know that accountability for his various wrongdoings are often a far-off pipe dream. He tends to find various loopholes to endlessly delay legal proceedings or politically squirm his way out of repercussions.
But today there were two bits of news that suggest he might soon have to answer for at least a fraction of his alleged financial misconduct over the years.
First this: Thursday afternoon a New York state judge ruled that ex-President Trump and his two eldest children have to comply with subpoenas for testimony in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil probe into the Trump Organization — an investigation centered on state evidence that shows Trump Org officials allegedly inflated parts of the company’s financial value for tax purposes and for securing loans. James subpoenaed the whole crew in December after her office unearthed evidence that Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. may have had a hand in inflating the value of some of the organization’s real estate properties.
In this case, Trump has done his usual Trumping around, primarily arguing the investigation is nothing more than a political hit job. Late last year, Trump filed a lawsuit in Northern District of New York to halt the investigation.
Now this: The House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) today, asking that the federal agency terminate the lease that Trump’s business holds on his Washington, D.C., hotel — and to do it promptly, before Trump can sell it. The panel cited in its letter recent news that his longtime accounting firm Mazars has decided to stop working for him.
On Monday, Mazars announced it would sever ties with Trump and the Trump Organization due to evidence from official filings in James’ case about the Trump Org’s fishy practices over the years. Mazars said in a statement that the organization’s financial records from the last decade “should no longer be relied upon.”
“New information, including that former President Trump may have submitted inaccurate financial information to the federal government to obtain this lease and that he stands to reap millions in profit from selling the lease, reinforce the serious ethical and legal concerns previously raised by the Committee,” Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gerald Connolly (D-VA) wrote in the letter to GSA.
As part of Trump’s initial bid to win the lease for the historic Old Post Office building for his D.C. hotel, Trump provided the GSA with three-years worth of past financial statements to help secure the lease. Those statements were assembled by Mazars, the very firm that just fired him. While those three-years worth of financial documents were not part of the 10-years worth of financial statements Mazars has since renounced, the panel argued it’s all part of the Trump Org’s broader financial smudging proclivities, saying the documents “contain potential misrepresentations about former President Trump’s assets that are similar to those identified by state investigators. “
Maloney and Connolly sent the request to the GSA because it is currently conducting a 45-day review of Trump’s plans to sell the Old Post Office lease to a “Miami-based investor group” for $375 million, “which appears to represent a significant premium over market rates,” the panel said. Trump would pocket about $76 million from the sale if approved, according to the committee.
“In light of these new revelations, including further evidence that the former President submitted at least one financial statement with possible material misrepresentations to GSA, we request that you consider terminating the Old Post Office Building lease to former President Trump and the Trump Organization under the authority provided in Article 27 of the lease, and end, once-and-for-all, the grave damage this inappropriate lease has done to presidential ethics and integrity in government contracting,” they wrote.
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