Manhattan DA subpoenas lender for Trump’s Chicago skyscraper in sign of expanding investigation 


Donald Trump has arrived back in New York City for the first time since leaving the White House on a trip designed to allow him to ‘look under the hood’ of his family firm, as prosecutors in the city continue to investigate him for fraud, in an inquiry that has spread to Chicago.

The Manhattan district attorney subpoenaed documents from a company that invested in a Chicago skyscraper built by the former president, CNN reported on Monday.

The request was made late last year, and sought information from Fortress Investment Group.

They were handed a grand jury subpoena relating to the $130 million it provided to the Trump Organization for the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was completed in 2009.

Trump is seen arriving at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan on Sunday evening

Supporters of the former president gathered outside Trump Tower on Monday to welcome him

Supporters of the former president gathered outside Trump Tower on Monday to welcome him

Trump's opponents and critics were also out in Manhattan on Monday, demanding prosecution

Trump’s opponents and critics were also out in Manhattan on Monday, demanding prosecution

By 2012, Fortress, a New York-based investment management firm focused on real estate, had forgiven more than $100 million of the Trump loan, according to CNN, in order to secure a partial payoff.

The loan forgiveness came at a time of severe economic strain stemming from the financial crisis.

Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan district attorney, is reportedly looking into whether Trump and his company reported the forgiven portions of the loan as income, and paid taxes on it, as required by law.

Vance’s inquiry appears focused on whether the Trump Organization misrepresented the value of assets in order to secure bank loans and lower tax rates.

The investigation will look into possible criminal insurance, bank and tax fraud.

Prosecutors are expected to meet in person on Wednesday with Michael Cohen, the ex-president’s former personal lawyer – his seventh interview with Vance’s team.

Vance is also scrutinizing the actions of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer, and asking questions about his family.

‘They want him to turn’ on Trump, a person familiar with the probe told Reuters on Sunday.

The inquiry – one of several involving the former president – poses the biggest current legal threat to Trump.

A lender involved in the construction of Trump Tower Chicago has been subpoenaed

A lender involved in the construction of Trump Tower Chicago has been subpoenaed

Duncan Levin, a former fraud prosecutor in Vance’s office, said it’s significant that the DA is looking at real estate projects outside of New York as part of his Trump investigation.

‘It sounds like they’re leaving no stone unturned,’ Levin told The New York Daily News.

‘It sounds like they are looking into every deal the Trump Org has done, whether those deals were in New York or beyond.’

Letitia James, the New York attorney general, is also investigating Trump for fraud, but on a civil level.

Her office recently obtained reams of tax records from the Trump Organization relating to its Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, a 213-acre swath of nature surrounding a Georgian-style mansion where the company once claimed a $21.2 million tax deduction.

Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan district attorney, is investigating Trump for fraud

Cyrus Vance Jr, the Manhattan district attorney, is investigating Trump for fraud

Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, is set to speak to Vance's team this week about the case

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, is set to speak to Vance’s team this week about the case

The estate was bought by Trump in 1995 for $7.5 million, and is listed on his website as a family retreat, although Trump hasn’t been there in more than four years.

At the heart of the estate is the mansion built as a summer getaway in 1919 by Eugene Meyer, who went on to become Federal Reserve chairman and owner of The Washington Post.

In 2006, while pushing a plan to build luxury homes on the property near Mount Kisco, Trump floated the idea that he and his family were going to move into the mansion, but that never happened.

In 2009, Trump made a splash by allowing Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi to pitch his Bedouin-style tent there because he had no other place to stay for a U.N. visit: he said he ‘made a lot of money’ renting the land to the Libyan leader, although local officials halted work on the tent and Gaddafi never stayed there.

Cohen testified that Trump had financial statements saying Seven Springs was worth $291 million as of 2012.

He gave copies of three of Trump’s financial statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during his testimony.

Cohen said the statements, from 2011, 2012 and 2013, were ones Trump gave to his main lender, Deutsche Bank, to inquire about a loan to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and to Forbes magazine to substantiate his claim to a place on its list of the world’s wealthiest people.

Trump, on his annual financial disclosure forms while president, said the property was worth between $25 million and $50 million.

Levin told AP: ‘While a tax issue related to a conservation arrangement might not be as sexy as a hush-money payment, prosecutors are likely to focus on any violation of law that they find.

‘Remember, the authorities got Al Capone on tax evasion.’

The news came as Trump was in Manhattan, for the first time since January 20.

He was seen arriving at his Trump Tower apartment in midtown Manhattan on Sunday night and was not spotted on Monday.

The 74-year-old is said to be keen on getting back to his family business, and ‘a major part’ of his trip is about that, The New York Daily News reported.

‘He’s quite curious about his businesses and his employees, his organization, and is eager to look under the hood,’ the source told the Daily News.

‘He’s not entirely sure of the role he will play, but he misses it, for sure.’

Trump, a full-time Florida resident, is expected to stay in the city until Tuesday.



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