Nov 23, 2022
In the red? Trump lost almost $1 BILLION in two years and reported tax returns losses every year for nearly a decade, his accountant testifies
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An accountant for former President Donald Trump testified Tuesday that the businessman reported annual losses for nearly 10 straight years on his tax returns, at one point reporting almost $1 billion lost in a two-year time period.
Donald Bender, a partner at accounting firm Mazars USA, spoke in front of the Manhattan Supreme Court earlier this week during the criminal tax fraud case against the Trump Organization.
The shocking revelation comes after years of pushing from the Manhattan district attorney's office to get ahold of Trump's tax returns, a key topic of debate during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
Susan Hoffinger, the prosecutor in the case, asked the accountant about the major losses during cross-examination.
Former President Donald Trump at one point lost nearly $1 billion in a two year time frame, according to a former accountant who worked on his tax returns
Donald Bender, a partner at accounting firm Mazars USA, said the former president reported losses for nearly 10 years straight
'Do you recall in 2010 Donald Trump had losses of almost $200 million on his personal tax returns?' Hoffinger asked Bender.
'I believe so,' Bender said.
'Do you recall in 2009, Donald Trump had, his personal tax returns had losses around $700 million?' she continued.
'Sounds about right,' Bender replied.RELATED ARTICLES
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Additionally, when asked by Hoffinger if the former president had in fact reported losses for nearly ten years, from 2009 to 2018.
'There are losses for all these years,' Bender said Tuesday in court.
The losses confirmed in court seem to echo a September 2020 report from the New York Times which showed a series of losses for Trump.
That report also showed that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2020 and 2021, due to his significant losses.
Susan Hoffinger, the prosecutor in the case, asked Bender about the losses during cross examination
Bender said in court he 'would've had a heart attack' if he had seen any wrongdoing within the organization, including payments and perks given to top execs
Mazars, the company where Bender is a partner, prepped the taxes for Trump and the Trump Organization until February when they cut ties over false statements made by the former president regarding his financials.
The account also denied that he knew of any wrongdoing including former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, whom he handled the taxes for.
When asked how he could be sure he had never seen any compensation that was not above board for Weisselberg and other execs within the company, the accountant said he felt confident he had never been party to the incidents.
'Because I probably would've had a heart attack,' Bender said.
Weisselberg was allegedly paid rent, utilities, money to provide Christmas trips to his doorman, among other perks by the Trump Organization for 12 years.
Last week, the former CFO said it was his 'own personal greed that let to this case.'
Weisselberg will serve five months in prison after agreeing to a plea deal.
Allen Weisselberg was allegedly paid rent, utilities, and other perks from the Trump Organization
'At any time before the year 2021, did you actually know that The Trump Corporation and Donald Trump were paying these personal expenses as part of Allen Weisselberg's compensation and not reporting them to the tax authorities?' the prosecutor asked.
'No, ma'am,' Bender replied.
'If you had known all of that at that time, what would you and Mazars have done?' Hoffinger asked.
'We would have had a serious conversation about continuing with the client,' Bender said.
Weisselberg and other top execs were paid in perks using money that went unreported, according to law enforcement officials
The former CFO is expected to serve five months in prison after agreeing to a plea deal
Despite that claim, Bender also admitted that the 'Trump account' made up a massive portion of the Mazars annual revenue.
'Fair to say the Trump account represented roughly two-thirds of the revenue you brought into Mazars?' asked defense attorney Bob Brennan Tuesday afternoon.
'Closer to 60 [percent],' Bender said.
'But it was your largest account?' Brennan responded.
'Yes sir,' Bender said.
While Trump is not personally charged in the case, the Trump organization is accused of underpaying taxes by paying the top execs with unreported income for more than a decade.
If found guilty, the company will face upwards of $1.5 million in fines.Read more:
- Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance - The New York Times
- Trump accountant says former president claimed decade of huge tax losses
News Source: dailymail.co.uk
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After more than 70 years, Griffith Park Pony Rides to close this month
Griffith Park’s beloved and historic pony ride will close for good in the coming weeks, after more than 70 years in operation.
Griffith Park Pony Rides, which opened in 1948 and also features a petting zoo, will shutter Dec. 21, owner Steve Weeks announced Sunday on Facebook. Weeks said that the city of Los Angeles decided not to renew his business’ contract.
“In the days ahead I will be attempting to find forever homes for our many ponies,” Weeks wrote on Facebook. “I am determined to find homes for our ponies with qualified horse-people who will care as much about our ponies as I do.”
The pony rides have been under scrutiny in recent years by animal welfare activists who claimed that horses at the facility are overworked. Last year, the Los Angeles Alliance for Animals called for a citywide ban on commercial pony rides.
“The pony rides concession is animal cruelty disguised as child entertainment,” the group said in a statement in December 2021.
In response, two City Council members asked the Department of Recreation and Parks to hire an outside equestrian expert to assess the well-being of horses used in the popular attraction. It is unclear whether those assessments took place.
In a statement Sunday, the Department of Recreation and Parks confirmed its decision to not extend the attraction’s contract, but did not explain why the city made that choice.
“At the request of the City Council, the Department will undertake a community input process to re-imagine the recreational and educational activities offered at this location in Griffith Park to continue providing youth and families an affordable and enjoyable experience,” the statement read.
Weeks, who has owned the business for the last six years, told The Times last year that protests at his facility have resulted in a lot of unhappy customers. Children have been screamed at by protesters, he said, and he has had to refund birthday party fees.
The founder of the Los Angeles Alliance for Animals, Zohra Fahim, said in 2021 that she recorded video that shows handlers neglecting and abusing horses at the facility. Fahim claims the general public does not spend enough time at the corral to see the treatment the horses receive.
Weeks has denied any abuse of his horses, and told The Times last year that two veterinarians check on the animals regularly. “I have nothing to hide about our operations,” Weeks said.