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A week after attorneys in Manhattan indicted Donald J. Trump’s family business and its chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, the company began removing Mr. Weisselberg from every leadership position he held at dozens of its subsidiaries, according to one person with knowledge Thing.
The move could be a potential forerunner for a wider upheaval in the business of the former president, the Trump Organization, as the reality of the indictment takes hold for Mr Trump and his officers. While Mr Weisselberg continues to work at the Trump Organization and there is no sign of Mr Trump wanting to sever ties with him, the company could try to put him in a subordinate role.
The Trump organization kicked off the change last week when it began deleting Mr Weisselberg’s name from subsidiaries or affiliates, the person with knowledge of the matter said, and public records on Monday showed he was not More linked to him was at least 20 Trump Florida-based companies. As the files will be processed in other states in the coming days and weeks, the full extent of its removal comes into focus.
The decision to remove Mr Weisselberg, who has been under increasing pressure from prosecutors to take action against Mr Trump and cooperate in the investigation, represents the latest aftermath of the tax crimes revealed against him and the Trump organization on July 1.
The indictment described what prosecutors called a 15-year program to pay Mr. Weisselberg and other employees through non-literal perks and bonuses. This enabled Mr. Weisselberg to evade nearly $ 1 million in federal, state and local taxes, prosecutors said.
“To be clear, this was a comprehensive and bold illegal payments system,” said Carey Dunne, general counsel to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., during a trial in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on the day the indictment was announced .
The charges did not concern Mr. Trump, but prosecutors have stressed that the investigation is ongoing. Knowledgeable people have said the investigation continues to focus on Mr. Trump and potential financial misconduct within the company.
Mr. Trump, a Republican, has long denied the misconduct and ridiculed the investigation as a politically motivated “witch hunt”. Representatives of Mr Vance, a Democrat, have denied any political motivation.
Mr Trump has also tried to minimize behavior at the center of the indictment and dismiss it as ordinary fringe benefits. Mr Trump’s attorneys have argued that the case should be resolved in a civil court rather than a criminal court.
However, Mr. Dunne, the general counsel, said the conduct described in the indictment was not “standard business practice” or the work of a rogue employee. “It was staged by the top executives who financially benefited themselves and the company by making secret pay rises at the expense of state and state taxpayers,” he said.
Mr. Dunne also targeted the company to retain Mr. Weisselberg as CFO and complained that “he remains the company’s senior financial trustee to this day”.
It’s unclear whether the Trump Organization will ultimately strip him of that title – or take some other measure to distance him from the company – and the company’s decision is fraught with issues of loyalty and legality. As prosecutors continue to seek Mr Weisselberg’s collaboration, any sign that the company might leave him could drive a wedge between him and Mr Trump, encouraging him to join the investigation.
The decision to remove his name from the subsidiaries served as an intermediate step and reflected the company’s realization that it was untenable for Mr. Weisselberg to act as a director of a corporation while facing criminal charges.
In Florida alone, Mr. Weisselberg’s name was removed from filings filed on Friday by more than a dozen subsidiaries of the Trump organization.
Subsidiaries included Trump Payroll Corporation, which according to the indictment misreported employee compensation to the Trump Organization, as well as a number of companies involved in the company’s real estate business in Florida.
Bloomberg and Business Insider reported last week that Mr. Weisselberg was no longer director of the company’s Scottish golf club, the first in the move. The Wall Street Journal reported that he was removed from the contracting business on Monday.
Mr Weisselberg, who pleaded not guilty, was charged with receiving nearly $ 1.8 million in valuable bonuses and perks – including an apartment, company car, and private schooling for his grandchildren – and not paying taxes on those perks.
“He will fight these allegations in court,” his attorneys Mary E. Mulligan and Bryan C. Skarlatos said in a statement after he was charged.
Ms. Mulligan declined on Monday to comment on the removal of Mr. Weisselberg’s name from the subsidiaries.
William K. Rashbaum Reporting contributed. Kitty Bennett Research contributed.