Bucolic Westchester Estate Could Snare Trump In Tax Probe
March 12, 2021
A 213-acre Westchester County estate featuring a classic Georgian-style mansion “could end up being one of his bigger legal nightmares,” according to an AP News article by reporter Michael Sisak. Trump bought the property in 1995 for $7.5 million and although a linked AP video shows nary a sign of gold plate or TRUMP logo, a Trump limited liability company remains the owner.
The mansion was contracted in 1919 by Eugene Meyer, who later would become owner of the Washington post. What was originally a more than 700 acre estate stayed with the family for much of its first hundred years, but by the time it was acquired by Trump some had already gone to the Nature Conservancy and what remained belonged to Rockefeller University. Trump’s initial plan for a golf course was stymied by local opposition, as were two successive plans for housing developments, the latter of which Trump touted as “super-high-end residential, the likes of which has never been seen on the East Coast.” In 2009 the estate, and Trump, made the news because Trump had made a rental deal with Moammar Gadhafi, allowing him to pitch a large Bedouin-style tent on the grounds and stay there during a visit to the UN. Trump made a lot of money, the AP reports, even though local officials halted the work and Gaddafi never stayed there.
Trump’s potential legal difficulties pertain to alleged – or possibly to be alleged – manipulations of valuations, higher or lower depending on what the organization’s business purposes were, per a modus operandi that was recounted in testimony by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Both New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are investigating. (“The investigators have yet to determine whether any law was broken,” the article notes.) Among areas of inquiry is an easement for a conservation land trust which netted Trump a tax break based on a professional valuation that was more than twice as high as a valuation from local government assessors.
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