Politics

Manhattan district attorney expands criminal probe of Trump company to Westchester County property

Key Points
  • The Manhattan district attorney's office has expanded its criminal probe of President Donald Trump's company to include its Seven Springs Estate property in Westchester County, New York.
  • Vance's office already was known to be investigating hush money payments made to women who said they had sex with Trump, as well as possible tax fraud, and bank and insurance fraud.
  • Trump was impeached this week by the House of Representatives for inciting a riot by his supporters, who invaded the Capitol in protest of the election of Joe Biden as president.
President Trump's Seven Springs estate in Mount Kisco, New York, seen here Sept. 30, 2020.
Johnny Milano | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney's office has expanded its criminal probe of President Donald Trump's company to include a sprawling property in Westchester County, New York.

A lawyer for the town of Bedford, New York, told CNBC that DA Cyrus Vance Jr.'s office issued a subpoena to the town for records related to the Trump Organization's Seven Springs Estate site sometime "before Christmas" as part of a criminal investigation.

Bedford's lawyer, Joel Sachs, said he believed that in addition to Bedford, the towns of New Castle and North Castle also had records subpoenaed by Vance's office for the criminal probe, because the 213-acre property spans all three towns.

The company's valuation of Seven Springs for a number of months has been the focus of a civil fraud investigation by the New York attorney general's office.

AG Letitia James has said she is probing whether Trump's company fraudulently inflated the value of Seven Springs on annual financial statements used to obtain loans, as well as to get economic and tax benefits. Trump bought the property for only $7.5 million in 1996. In 2012, he valued the property at a whopping $291 million.

Vance's office already was known to be investigating hush money payments made to women who said they had sex with Trump, as well as possible tax, bank and insurance fraud. Trump has denied having sex with the women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Trump has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a subpoena for years of tax and financial records from his accountants, which was issued by a Manhattan grand jury acting at Vance's request. The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether it will hear Trump's appeal of lower-court rulings that the firm Mazars USA must surrender those documents.

On Friday, The Associated Press reported that investigators in Vance's office interviewed Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for hours on Thursday, asking him about the president's business dealings, with particular focus on his relationship with Deutsche Bank, Trump's biggest lender.

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Cohen testified before Congress in 2019 that the president's annual financial statement inflated to the values of his assets to obtain favorable terms for loans and insurance coverage, while deflating the value of other assets in order to reduce real estate taxes due on them.

New Castle Town Supervisor Ivy Pool declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. North Castle officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vance spokesman Danny Frost declined to comment.

A Trump Organization spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the expansion of Vance's investigation to include Seven Springs.

AG James' office in a court filing related to her probe noted that, "Valuations of Seven Springs were used to claim an apparent $21.1 million tax deduction for donating a conservation easement on the property in tax year 2015, and in submissions to financial institutions as a component of Mr. Trump's net worth."

James' probe also is eyeing the valuation of other Trump properties, at 40 Wall St. in Manhattan, the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, and Trump National Golf Club — Los Angeles.

Eric Trump, the president's son and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, last fall was compelled to answer questions from James' investigators for their probe after he failed to convince a judge to postpone his testimony until after the presidential election, which his father lost to Joe Biden.

Eric Trump has run the Trump Organization with his brother, Donald Trump Jr., while their father has been president.

Donald Trump was impeached for the second time Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

He is accused in that proceeding of inciting a mob of supporters who rioted at the U.S Capitol, disrupting the confirmation by a joint session of Congress of Biden's election. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer who was killed by the mob, died as a result of the incident.

Biden is due to be sworn into office on Wednesday.