Banks Subpoenaed in New York Over Trump Claims

New York Attorney General Letitia James smiles during her inauguration on Jan. 6, 2019. A person familiar with the inquiry said James issued subpoenas on March 11 to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank, seeking records related to four Trump real estate projects and his failed 2014 bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

MANHATTAN (CN) – As the House charts a path to President Donald Trump’s elusive tax returns with testimony from his ex-attorney Michael Cohen, two banks that Trump courted for a loan in 2014 now face subpoenas from New York’s attorney general.

A person familiar with the investigation said New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas Monday to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank, seeking loan records related to Trump’s unsuccessful attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills football team in 2014, as well as mortgages, credit lines and other documents related to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., buildings in Chicago and New York, and a golf course in the Miami area.

First reported by The New York Times, the subpoenas come two weeks after Cohen testified before Congress that it was common for Trump to exaggerate his wealth when dealing with the news media or banks, but understate it when it came time to pay his taxes. 

Cohen claimed that Trump manipulated his wealth on financial statements to improve his odds at obtaining financing from Deutsche Bank to buy the Bills.

According to records Cohen brought to Congress, Trump claimed to have a net worth of $4.5 billion in 2011 when he first inquired about a loan to buy the Bills but that number ballooned to $8.6 billion just two years later.

When asked by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez whether anyone would have the records demonstrating that Trump inflated his assets, Cohen handily identified Trump Organization officials Alan Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari.

“Do you think we need to review his financial statements and his tax returns in order to compare them,” Ocasio-Cortez asked.

“Yes,” Cohen replied. “You’d find it at the Trump Org.”

Federal prosecutors granted immunity back in August to Weisselberg, the Trump family’s longtime accountant and the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, for his cooperation pertaining to investigations of Cohen. 

Weisselberg began working for the Trump family in Brooklyn in 1973 under Fred Trump. After the 2016 election, the mild-mannered money man was named as the only non-family member to help Eric and Don Jr. manage the trust set up to hold the president’s business assets while he is in office.

Cohen mentioned Weisselberg several times in his public House Oversight testimony, linking him to hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with the president.

Neither Weisselberg or longtime Trump Organization counsel Alan Garten responded to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

After her election to New York’s Attorney General’s Office in November, James pledged that she’d be “shining a bright light into every dark corner of [Trump’s] real estate dealings and every dealing.”

Trump has punched back, opining that the Democratic James is waging a politically motivated vendetta against him.

James’ predecessor in the state office, Eric Schneiderman, sued Trump over the operations of Trump University, his real estate school, which resulted in a $25 million class action settlement.

Representatives for Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Trump has said Cohen is lying to try to get out of a prison sentence. Last week, a different New York agency that regulates insurance companies subpoenaed the insurance company Aon for claims tied to the Trump Organization.

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