NEW YORK — The Trump Organization’s long-serving financial gatekeeper pleaded guilty to 15 felonies on Thursday and directly implicated Donald Trump’s family real estate business in a multi-year criminal tax fraud scheme.
Allen Weisselberg admitted to receiving more than $1.7 million in off-the-books perks while chief financial officer of the Trump Organization on top of his handsome salary, defrauding the taxpayers and Uncle Sam by disguising them as work expenses.
Weisselberg also implicated Jeff McConney, the senior vice president and controller of the Trump Organization. McConney, who the judge identified as “unindicted co-conspirator number one” was the first Trump employee to testify before the special grand jury that heard evidence against the former president in 2021 and has been with the company for more than 36 years.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass said prosecutors will recommend “significant state prison” time for Weisselberg — 5 to 15 years — if he breaks any of the rules of his agreement.
“If you fail to testify truthfully at the upcoming trial of the Trump Organization,” Judge Juan Merchan told Weisselberg, “I would then not be bound by my sentence promise.”
The Daily News spotted Weisselberg arriving for his plea hearing at around 9:30 a.m., entering the lower Manhattan courthouse via Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office. His guilty plea could have devastating consequences for the former president’s family real estate business, which was indicted alongside him in summer 2021 and has not agreed to a deal.
Weisselberg, whose June 2021 indictment came after he refused to flip on Trump, will not cooperate with prosecutors against Trump or his eponymous business, but he will testify against the Trump Organization and Trump Payroll Corporation when they go on trial in the fall, if he is called as a witness.
Originally from Brownsville, Brooklyn, Weisselberg, 75, who once appeared on “The Apprentice,” commuted to Trump Tower from his modest one-story in Wantagh, Long Island.
He was hired by Fred Trump as a bookkeeper in 1973 and started working full-time for his son, Donald, around 1986, helping with ground leases in Atlantic City and the accounting for the Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.
He shared those details and more about slowly and steadily rising to become company CFO on a salary of around $450,000 during a 2015 deposition tied to the now defunct Trump University.
The trusted company man described himself as a “stickler” for details who didn’t take vacations and worked on the same floor as his boss in Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan.
“Am I his eyes and ears for his investments? From an economic standpoint,” Weisselberg said of Trump.