By Kara Scannell, CNN
Former President Donald Trump’s longtime accounting firm advised the Trump Organization last week that it should no longer rely on nearly 10 years of financial statements and that they would no longer be their accountants, citing a conflict of interest.
“We have reached this conclusion based, in part, on documents filed by the New York Attorney General on January 18, 2022, our own investigation, and information received from internal and external sources,” Mazars wrote in a letter. at Trump. organization’s legal director, advising them to no longer rely on financial statements ending June 2011 through June 2020.
“Although we have not concluded that the various financial statements, taken together, contain material differences, based on the totality of the circumstances, we believe that our advice to no longer rely on these financial statements is appropriate. .”
The company also advised the Trump Organization to advise all recipients of the statements, such as lenders or insurers, not to rely on the statements.
On Monday, Mazars said he would no longer act as Trump’s accountant, citing a “conflict of interest that cannot be waived.” The accounting firm said the only work not completed was the filing of tax returns for Trump and Melania Trump. He says they’re still looking for information about an apartment for Matthew Calamari Jr., the company’s head of security, which they’ve searched for months but haven’t received. Trump’s chief accountant, Donald Bender, testified before the grand jury investigating the Trump Organization last year, sources told CNN.
The letter was included in a filing by the New York Attorney General’s Office, which attempted to enforce a subpoena for documents from Trump and to seek his testimony as well as that of Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump Jr. Ivanka Trump. A court hearing is set for Thursday.
“While we are disappointed that Mazars has chosen to separate, its letter dated February 9, 2022 confirms that after conducting a subsequent review of all prior financial statements, Mazars’ work has been carried out in accordance with all standards and applicable accounting principles and that these financial disclosure statements do not contain any material misstatements,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said Monday. “This confirmation effectively renders the investigations of the DA and AG moot.”
Mazars did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
Some lawyers say it’s likely Mazars issued the warning since they had previously signed the financial statements, and with recent allegations that they are inaccurate, they would like to protect themselves and sound the alarm that they shouldn’t count anymore.
The New York Attorney General and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigated the accuracy of Trump’s financial statements to determine whether insurers, lenders or others were misled. Trump has previously said in depositions in civil inquests that he would give his opinion on the value of certain properties and it was ‘primarily’ the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who decided on the final number .
Mazars compiled the statements and included a two-page introduction saying Trump was responsible for the valuations, but they noted that in many respects they failed to follow US accounting rules.
In a lengthy court filing last month, the New York Attorney General’s office claimed to have found “significant” evidence “indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or deceptive asset valuations to obtain a multitude economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage and taxes”. deductions. On the financial statements, they alleged, there were numerous “misleading statements and omissions”.
Citing Mazars’ letter, attorneys for the New York Attorney General’s office wrote Monday, “This development further reinforces what previous OAG submissions have already shown: the Court should order defendants to comply with OAG documents and subpoenas”.
Lawyers working for New York Attorney General Letitia James also pushed back against Trump’s argument that she’s trying to ‘end the run’ of the grand jury process by soliciting their testimony as part of the trial. city investigation while a criminal investigation is underway. Trump’s team argued that James, whose office announced he was teaming with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in the criminal case, was politically motivated.
In Monday’s filing, James’ office said two attorneys were assigned to work with the district attorney, but said they “report to and operate under the direction” of district attorney Alvin Bragg.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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