The reported investigation would fall under the purview of Westchester County’s Democrat District Attorney Mimi Rocah
The Trump Organization is dismissing a newly reported criminal inquiry led by a district attorney who donated to Joe Biden in 2020 as a ‘witch hunt’ on Wednesday.
Westchester County prosecutors have set their sights on Donald Trump’s family business over claims that the company misled local officials on the value of a golf course in Ossining, New York, people familiar with the matter told the New York Times.
A lower property value would’ve meant lower taxes for the upscale Trump National Golf Club Westchester, a private club just north of New York City.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told DailyMail.com that the matter was ‘amicably resolved’ by local officials earlier this year and denied ‘inappropriate’ actions.
‘The Club’s request for a review of its tax assessments was amicably resolved earlier this year and signed off by the Town Board, the Town Assessor, Special Counsel for the Town (who determined the settlement to be both ‘appropriate and in the best interests of the Town of Ossining’), the Briarcliff Manor School District, the Office of the Westchester County Attorney and the Westchester County Supreme Court judge presiding over the matter,’ the company said.
‘Accordingly, the suggestion that anything was inappropriate is completely false and incredibly irresponsible. The witch hunt continues…’
The Westchester County District Attorney’s office declined to comment when asked by DailyMail.com, but a local Ossining official confirmed the town was complying with requests for information from the DA.
The newly revealed investigation into Trump’s upstate New York golf course would fall under the purview of Democratic Westchester County District Attorney Miriam ‘Mimi’ Rocah.
Rocah has reportedly not accused anyone of wrongdoing yet and it’s not certain if her investigation will lead to charges.
A view of the clubhouse at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester. Rocah has reportedly subpoenaed records from the exclusive golf course
Trump Organization lawyer have valued the sprawling property at less than $2 million when the town it’s in estimated its worth to be more than $10 million on a number of occasions
Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York City after his deposition. The newly-revealed investigation is the second criminal probe Trump’s family business faces in the state of New York
But she has subpoenaed records from the golf course as well as the town of Ossining itself.
Ossining town supervisor Dana Levenberg told DailyMail.com that the town is ‘fully cooperating with the Westchester DA’s office.’
Formerly a senior federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, Rocah beat out the incumbent district attorney, also a Democrat, to take up the job in January.
Public campaign finance disclosures show Rocah made modest donations to a number of Democrat campaigns in 2020, including five to Joe Biden that amount to a total of $3,000.
She was also a legal commentator on both MSNBC and NBC, where she frequently criticized Trump while he was in office.
On social media Rocah espoused anti-Trump sentiments even after she took office as district attorney.
‘So [Senate Republicans] saying Trump can’t be impeached for 1/6 since he’s now a private citizen will certainly agree that he can be criminally investigated (& prosecuted if warranted) by DOJ since he’s now a private citizen…’ she wrote in January, nearly a year before news of her own possible investigation broke.
In July 2020 she joked on Twitter with a picture of her dog, ‘I realized today that there are only two things that unite my feuding kids: their love for Ace below & their absolute passionate disdain for Trump. And I am proud.’
Rocah, a former MSNBC and NBC legal analyst, criticized Trump on her social media on a number of occasions
The former president’s company and its longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg are already under indictment in Manhattan.
Earlier this year prosecutors there indicted Weisselberg and the Trump Organization for ‘sweeping and audacious’ tax and fraud crimes, led by retiring Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Trump himself wasn’t charged.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James is working with the criminal investigation while also running a civil probe into the company.
He’s also under investigation in Fulton County, Georgia over his efforts to pressure state officials to sway the 2020 election toward himself.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has frequently dismissed those probes as ‘witch hunts’ as well.
The Times reported that Rocah tapped fellow SDNY alum Elliott B. Jacobson to lead the Westchester probe. A white collar crime prosecutor with more than 30 years’ experience, Jacobson came out of retirement soon after Rocah was sworn in to work within her office, people familiar told the outlet.
Spanning from January through June 2020 Jacobson wrote pieces in the New York Law Journal critical of officials in Trump’s orbit as well as Republicans in the Senate.
Trump himself is a frequent golfer (pictured attending the Westchester club’s grand opening in 2002)
Former President Donald Trump golfing with US Senator Lindsey Graham at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida
People with knowledge of the investigation told the Times Rocah is examining the company’s self-reported property value in Westchester.
Since 2015, the Trump Organization has challenged Ossining officials’ property value estimates of the luxury golf course by appealing the tax bill in court.
On one occasion in 2015, Trump tried to cut his local property taxes by 90 percent when he challenged the estimated $13.5 million valuation by claiming his 140-acre course was only worth $1.4 million.
In 2017, after the town valued it at $15.1 million, the Trump Organization lobbied to lower the value to $7.5 million.
According to federal disclosure forms obtained in the Wednesday report, Trump as president valued the club at more than $50 million.
‘The president inflates the value when it suits him, and deflates it when it comes to paying his taxes,’ Levenberg told a local outlet.
Ossining residents demonstrated outside of Trump’s club in 2019 demanding they ‘pay fair taxes.’
This past July the town brokered a compromise with the Trump Organization to cut its property value assessment by 30 percent going back several years, to avoid a potentially ugly outcome in court.
It entitled the Trump Organization to a refund of nearly $900,000.
Levenberg told the Times the settlement was ‘in the best interests of the town’s residents and businesses’ and that the value was more in line with what was ‘presented by the town than the golf club.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk