The Trump Organization — which is being run by President Donald Trump’s two eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric while their father is in office — paid bribes to New York City tax assessors in exchange for lower property tax bills on buildings owned by Trump in Manhattan, according to a blockbuster new investigative report from ProPublica:
“Two of the five city employees said they personally took bribes to lower the assessment on a Trump property; the other three said they had indirect knowledge of the payments.”
Those five employees were among 18 indicted on charges of accepting bribes and later pleaded guilty in federal court.
Amazingly, none of the building owners who allegedly paid the bribes were charged. It remains unclear if Trump knew the bribes had been paid, as they were funneled through middlemen who passed the cash incentives along to guarantee lower tax bills on commercial property.
Though the Trump Organization has denied it had any role in the bribery scandal, court documents and the ProPublica report make it clear that investigators suspected Trump’s company of being a part of the bribes:
“The moment that corrupt assessors told their co-conspirators that the Trump Organization had agreed to pay bribes was memorable, said Frank Valvo, a former city assessor who served a year and a half in prison for his role in the scheme.
“The excitement was palpable in the office, Valvo recalled, as one of the assessors broached the news. He says, ‘We got Trump!’” Valvo recalled. ‘Wow. Holy Smokes.'”
Additionally, two former city employees also confirmed that the Trump Organization was indeed paying bribes to lower its tax assessment:
“Two former city employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told ProPublica and WNYC that they accepted money from middlemen representing the Trump Organization to lower assessments on 40 Wall St. after Trump took over the skyscraper in 1995.”
Even though the statute of limitations has expired on the illegal activities and the Trump Organization cannot be charged now, such behavior is evidence of a larger conspiracy by the president’s company and can be used by New York Attorney General Tish James to shut down the corporation under the Martin Act, a 1921 law which allows for what is known as “corporate death,” i.e. the complete dissolution of a company if a pattern of fraud can be proven.
Everything is falling apart for Donald Trump. Politically, professionally, and personally. Beware the Ides of March, Donnie!