US

Trump accountant says financial statements should ‘no longer be relied upon’

Donald Trump’s longtime accountant, Mazars, has told the Trump Organization that a decade of financial statements it helped prepare for the former president should no longer be relied upon.

The firm’s US general counsel, William Kelly, wrote to the Trump Organization’s lawyer, Alan Garten, last week, informing him that it no longer stood behind statements of financial condition for Trump from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2020.

The letter was included in a court filing by the New York attorney-general, Letitia James, who is seeking to compel Trump and two of his adult children to testify under oath in a civil investigation of the Trump Organization.

“We have come to this conclusion based, in part, upon the filings made by the New York Attorney General on January 18, 2022, our own investigation, and information received from internal and external sources,” Kelly wrote, asking Garten to inform other parties that might be relying on the statements.

Mazars, he added, had not concluded that the documents contain “material discrepancies”, but believed they should no longer be relied upon “based on the totality of the circumstances”.

Kelly also wrote that the firm could no longer work with the Trump Organization because the investigation and the “totality of circumstances” had created a conflict of interest.

Still, he stood by Mazars work, writing: “Mazars performed its work in accordance with professional standards. A subsequent review of those work papers confirms this.”

In a 160-page court filing last month, James said she had found “significant evidence” of fraud committed by the family property business. The attorney-general laid out numerous instances in which the Trump Organization appeared to inflate the value of office buildings, golf clubs and other assets, allegedly with the aim of securing financial benefits.

In one case, according to James, Trump claimed his penthouse apartment at Trump Plaza was worth $327mn — an overstatement of some $200mn “give or take”, according to testimony from Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer.

Much of the evidence the attorney-general cited came from an annual statement of financial condition that Trump produced for lenders and prospective business partners to demonstrate his wealth. It was processed by Mazars based on information supplied by Trump executives — including the former president’s son Eric — and contractors.

“As the most recent filings demonstrate, the evidence continues to mount showing that Donald J Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain economic benefit,” James said in a statement.

The Trump Organization said it was “disappointed” that Mazars had chosen to part ways, but that the firm’s subsequent finding that its work did not contain “material discrepancies” rendered “moot” the attorney-general’s investigation as well as a criminal probe being carried out by the Manhattan district attorney.

The company has repeatedly derided the investigations as a political “witch hunt” led by Democratic politicians.

Mazars did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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