Trump Organization facing criminal probe over Westchester golf course

Westchester DA examining Trump National Golf Club financials

Donald Trump with the Trump National Golf Club Westchester (Trump National Westchester, Getty)
Donald Trump with the Trump National Golf Club Westchester (Trump National Westchester, Getty)

The Trump Organization is reportedly facing another investigation, this time into dealings at the Trump National Golf Club Westchester in Briarcliff Manor.

The business is facing a criminal investigation led by Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah, according to The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the matter. The office has so far subpoenaed records from the golf course and Ossining, responsible for the golf club’s property taxes.

Rocah appears to be looking at whether or not the property value was manipulated to lower taxes, the Times reports. Nobody has been accused of wrongdoing at this stage.

The Trump Organization hasn’t commented on the investigation into one of the 16 golf courses owned or operated by the business.

Since 2015, the Trump Organization has each year contested the golf course’s tax bill in court. The business often gives a lower value than Ossining officials do, once accounting for a $13.6 million difference. On federal disclosure forms during his presidency, Donald Trump appraised his club at more than $50 million.

Ossining seems interested in trying to make the issues with the Trump Organization go away. The town struck a deal in July with the course after losing a court battle against an unrelated golf club, agreeing to cut its assessed value of Trump National by 30 percent and issuing an $875,000 refund to the business.

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Some local lawmakers tried to smoothe out the tax controversy in 2019 with legislation that would force the appraisal of properties by “highest and best use rather than current use.” However, the bill faced stark resistance.

Trump’s golf entities are facing scrutiny on both sides of the Mario Cuomo Bridge. At the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, New York City authorities are looking to replace the Trump Organization as operator due to the Jan. 6 riot. The Trump Organization has a Nov. 14 deadline to leave the course.

On July 1, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg was indicted on 15 felony counts, including charges of tax fraud and grand larceny in the first criminal case against the company.

The Times reports a trial could proceed in August or September of 2022 and in the meantime, Manhattan prosecutors are attempting to pressure Weisselberg into cooperating by turning on the former president.

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[NYT] — Holden Walter-Warner