• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg worried about prosecutors getting his financial documents in 2018, ex-daughter-in-law says

·10 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jennifer Weisselberg
Jennifer Weisselberg carries boxes of documents and a laptop to prosecutors outside her apartment in Manhattan on April 8. Jeenah Moon for The Washington Post via Getty Images
  • Allen Weisselberg avoided showing pay stubs amid the Michael Cohen probe, Jennifer Weisselberg says.

  • He made an unusual rental arrangement that's leading to her eviction, his ex-daughter-in-law said.

  • The Trump Organization CFO is a key figure in the Manhattan DA's investigation of the company.

  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg took measures as far back as 2018 to keep his financial documents from prosecutors examining the company's practices, his former daughter-in-law said.

In a series of interviews with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg described in detail how the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, who CNN reported was a target in the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into the company, made an unusual housing arrangement for her as she divorced his son Barry. The arrangement allowed Allen Weisselberg to act as a guarantor on an Upper West Side apartment without showing any proof of income, she said.

Complications from that arrangement arose in recent weeks, as court records show her landlord is trying to evict her - a measure she alleges is retaliation for her cooperation with prosecutors.

Allen Weisselberg's arrangement has allowed her to live in an apartment building managed by one of his friends in the real-estate business, she said. The friend, Laurence Gluck, permitted her to live in the unit without requiring her or Allen Weisselberg to show any proof of income, she said.

Read more: Matt Gaetz's former classmates say he's an embarrassment to William & Mary Law School and should resign

Rental agreements typically require tenants and guarantors to show pay stubs or tax forms demonstrating income of at least 40 times the monthly rent amount. Jennifer Weisselberg said the arrangement allowed Allen Weisselberg to avoid showing pay stubs from the Trump Organization.

She also said she preferred to live in a different apartment building but Allen Weisselberg forced her to live in that location because of Gluck's closeness to him and to President Donald Trump.

"I found several other apartments," Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider. "And he said, 'No, you're going to have to move. I called Larry Gluck. And because Donald and Larry and I have a long history of doing real estate together for decades, he's going to allow me to be the guarantor without having to show any actual financial documents.'"

Allen Weisselberg took the measures to ensure no one would see Trump Organization payroll documents, she said.

Following the publication of this story, a spokesperson for Gluck's company Stellar Management said Allen Weisselberg submitted standard financial forms to be a guarantor on the lease.

"Mr. Weisselberg shared all the standard financial forms needed to demonstrate his ability to be a guarantor on the lease in question," the spokesperson said. "Any commentary from the resident about personal conversations with Mr. Gluck or representatives of Stellar Management and the Trump Organization surrounding the lease approval process are completely false."

An attorney for Allen Weisselberg declined to comment.

It's "highly unusual" for a landlord to agree not to scrutinize a tenant's and guarantor's income to rent out an apartment, according to Samuel Himmelstein, a New York City tenant-rights lawyer.

"I've never seen a situation where the landlord didn't scrutinize the income of the guarantor in that situation," Himmelstein said. "Because then he'd potentially have two people who weren't able to cover the rent."

The Trump Organization CFO was worried about federal prosecutors, according to Jennifer Weisselberg

Jennifer Weisselberg said the rental arrangement was made at a time when federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating Michael Cohen, who at the time was a Trump Organization executive and personal lawyer for Trump.

The lease agreement was signed in October 2018 and has been renewed since then, contracts reviewed by Insider show.

Earlier that year, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York raided Cohen's office. Prosecutors ultimately secured a guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and campaign-finance violations for a plot that involved Cohen using Trump Organization funds to pay off and silence Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who said she had an affair with Trump. Trump was openly furious about the investigation and Cohen's plea agreement.

Allen Weisselberg was worried about becoming ensnared in the investigation himself, his former daughter-in-law said.

"It's because he didn't want to share financials during the SDNY investigation," Jennifer Weisselberg said. "He doesn't want them out there."

michael cohen trump tower elevator
Michael Cohen in Trump Tower in 2016. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In sentencing memos filed that December, federal prosecutors made clear that Cohen acted at Trump's direction. As president of the United States, Trump was immune from federal prosecution at the time. Since Trump left office in January, neither federal prosecutors in Manhattan or any other division of the Justice Department have given any public indication that they seek to charge him in the case, Insider's C. Ryan Barber and Warren Rojas previously reported.

While federal prosecutors may be leaving the Trump Organization alone, Cohen's comments and public testimony about how the Trump Organization handles its finances sparked multiple state-level investigations in New York.

Allen Weisselberg is now a key figure in those investigations. Prosecutors are seeking his cooperation and examining whether he should be charged with criminal conduct, CNN reported.

Allen Weisselberg is a key figure in Trump investigations in New York

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is in the end stages of an investigation into whether the company and Trump himself distorted property valuations in order to reap tax, loan, and insurance benefits. Those acts could lead to charges for tax, wire, and insurance fraud, legal experts say.

That investigation is running in tandem with an inquiry in the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, which is examining many of the same issues. Vance's office has impaneled a special grand jury, and ABC News reported earlier this month the grand jury heard testimony from Trump Organization Controller Jeff McConney, who is said to work closely with Allen Weisselberg.

Allen Weisselberg has worked with the Trump family for more than 40 years, overseeing their personal finances in addition to his role as the Trump Organization's CFO. Prosecutors have been seeking his cooperation to help guide them through the possibly hundreds of thousands of pages of financial documents they already subpoenaed from the company.

donald trump jr allen weisselberg
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Jennifer Weisselberg has been cooperating with investigators from both offices since last fall. She's given interviews with investigators several times, she said, and handed over "several boxes of documents" stemming from her divorce, which included financial documents related to the Trump Organization. She told Insider that prosecutors had asked her about how the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg operate and pressured family members in order to get Weisselberg to "flip."

It's not clear whether Allen Weisselberg has already agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, or whether he has been asked to testify in front of the grand jury. Prosecutors typically strive to secure a cooperation agreement with witnesses before calling them before a grand jury so that the witnesses don't receive immunity for their testimony.

Jennifer Weisselberg says her former father-in-law is behind an effort to evict her

The legal complications stemming from Jennifer and Allen Weisselberg's unusual rent agreement have reached a new phase in recent weeks.

In early 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic struck, Jennifer Weisselberg said she lost her job managing musical-theater acts and fell behind on rent payments for the apartment.

In November, Columbus Manor LLC, the entity that owns the Upper West Side apartment building, sued Jennifer and Allen Weisselberg and alleged they owed $54,450 in unpaid rent that had accrued since February 2020. The company is owned by Stellar Management, which is run by Gluck.

Columbia Manor LLC withdrew the lawsuit on April 29 without Allen or Jennifer Weisselberg filing a response in court, records reviewed by Insider show. CBS News first reported on the existence of the lawsuit.

Donald Trump
Trump. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that in April, her building manager told her that her back pay was "made whole." She said the manager, Trevor Matwey, said the back pay was provided by a law firm directly through Stellar Management and he could not produce a receipt for her. She said she believed Allen Weisselberg made the payment.

"They won't show me proof that it's been paid," Jennifer Weisselberg said. "Trevor Matwey in the management office said, 'Jenn, you're good to go. All of the back pay has been worked out. You're good. You don't owe anything.'"

After the lawsuit was withdrawn and she believed her rent had been paid, she said she signed papers to renew her lease for May. But on May 18, Columbus Manor LLC filed a new lawsuit naming only Jennifer Weisselberg as the defendant. The new lawsuit says that her lease expired on April 30, that "no renewal is required" for the lease, and that she should be evicted.

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider that because she believed the rent had been made whole, she should not be evicted from her apartment. She said she believed Allen Weisselberg was behind the eviction lawsuit from Stellar Management because she had cooperated with the investigations into the Trump Organization and spoken with the media about it.

jennifer weisselberg manhattan da investigator
A DA investigator carries boxes of documents and a laptop from Jennifer Weisselberg. Jeenah Moon for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The new lawsuit says that Jennifer Weisselberg should further owe the real-estate company the agreed-upon $6,050 monthly rent for the apartment until she leaves the premises. It does not mention the $54,450 the company previously said she owed.

A spokesperson for Stellar management said in a statement after publication of this story that Allen Weisselberg was removed as the guarantor for his former daughter-in-law's lease after paying the back rent, and that Jennifer Weisselberg did not renew her lease.

"Following an extended period of nonpayment, Stellar Management reached out to the guarantor to make payment on the outstanding balance. Mr. Weisselberg paid the rent owed on the apartment and at his request he was removed from the lease moving forward," the spokesperson said. "The current resident was offered to renew in the normal course of business without the guarantor as we do with all tenants to whom we are offering renewals. The Tenant not only refused to respond to the offer, she further failed to respond to a courtesy reminder and continues to not pay rent."

Columbia Manor LLC is seeking to evict Jennifer Weisselberg through an ejection order in New York state court. Himmelstein told Insider that landlords rarely file for eviction through that mechanism without also seeking back rent.

Kevin Cullen, the attorney leading the eviction litigation against Jennifer Weisselberg, declined to comment. Matwey didn't respond to requests for comment.

Jennifer Weisselberg told Insider she expected to be able to remain in her apartment for now because of New York's eviction moratorium, which runs through September. She said she expected to owe thousands of dollars more in legal fees to fight the lawsuit.

allen weisselberg mike pence and donald trump in trump tower 2017
Allen Weisselberg, Mike Pence, and Trump in Trump Tower in 2017. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

She said she had already liquidated part of her 401(k) to pay for civil litigation with her ex-husband over matrimonial disputes, which she believes Allen Weisselberg controls and finances, she said. The attorney representing Barry Weisselberg in the case didn't respond to Insider's request for comment.

Jennifer Weisselberg said that the eviction was yet another way her former father-in-law has exerted control over her - and Barry's - life. In earlier interviews with Insider, she described how she said the Trump Organization arranged for the couple to receive perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of a regular salary to avoid taxes and influence their decisions.

"It's so controlling," she told Insider in March. "Because if you want to leave and make the same money - you live there. If you want to leave, where are you going to live?"

This article has been updated with a comment from a Stellar Management spokesperson.

Read the original article on Business Insider