De Blasio Reports Trump Organization Tax Practices Referred To DA

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The De Blasio administration has referred findings from a review of the Trump Organization’s property tax filings to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Mayor Bill De Blasio said on January 10, 2019.

In October, WNYC and ProPublica reported that President Donald Trump’s business portfolio cited lower income from one of its properties — 40 Wall Street — in an appeal of its property tax assessment, but reported higher values on a loan document for the same building.

In October, WNYC reported that President Donald Trump’s business portfolio would cite lower income from its properties when reporting to the Department of Finance, which is in charge of levying property taxes, but would report higher values when speaking with investors.

WNYC’s Ilya Marritz followed up with the mayor during a radio appearance Friday, inquiring if the city had looked into the discrepancies.

“It was looked at, and one of the specific issues within your story — or ProPublica story originally — was referred to the district attorney because there is the possibility of a criminal act having been committed,” de Blasio said.

The mayor did not elaborate on the status of the investigation.

The desire to shrink property taxes has spawned a cottage industry in New York. Each year, landlords big and small hire tax certiorari firms to contest assessments from the finance department in an attempt to revise them downward. However, WNYC cited experts in its report that said the discrepancies in the Trump Organization’s reported income may rise to the level of fraud, Marritz said.

In this case, the Trump Organization filed an appeal with the city’s Tax Commission, which handles challenges to property tax assessments made by the Department of Finance. ProPublica reviewed the contents of that appeal and compared it to a loan document that also included information about 40 Wall Street’s finances.

“ProPublica and WNYC’s investigation raised questions about what was reported to the Tax Commission versus bank lenders,” mayoral spokesperson Laura Feyer said in a statement. “The Manhattan [district attorney] is the proper jurisdiction to investigate these claims, as the city can only review what is directly reported to us. The [district attorney] has the jurisdiction to take appropriate steps if they find wrongdoing.”

Sources:

Politico: De Blasio says Trump Organization tax practices referred to DA

Featured and Top Image Courtesy Of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr – Creative Commons License

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