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Trump's longtime accountant says a decade of his financial statements are unreliable

A taxi passes by Trump Tower, the headquarters of the Trump Organization, in New York City in 2021.
Ted Shaffrey
/
AP
A taxi passes by Trump Tower, the headquarters of the Trump Organization, in New York City in 2021.

Updated February 14, 2022 at 6:18 PM ET

Mazars USA, the longtime accounting firm for the Trump Organization, former President Donald Trump's family business, ended its relationship with the company last week and called into question the trustworthiness of a decade's worth of financial statements prepared for the Trump Organization.

The development was revealed in court documents filed Monday as part of an investigation by the New York state attorney general's office into the Trump Organization's business practices.

Mazars' move could have big consequences for both Trump's financial future and the legal probes that he and his family's business are now facing.

In a letter dated Feb. 9 to the Trump Organization's executive vice president and chief legal officer, Mazars' attorney warned that financial statements from 2011 to 2020 "should no longer be relied upon" and said the company should inform any recipients of that information not to depend on those files.

"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," William Kelly, Mazars' general counsel, wrote.

In a statement, Trump Organization spokesperson Kimberly Benza said the company is "disappointed that Mazars has chosen to part ways."

Trump has long accused New York State Attorney General Letitia James of running a politically motivated investigation.

But James pushed back in a statement on Monday, arguing that "evidence continues to mount showing that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain economic benefit."

The revelation about Mazars comes more than seven months after then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, in 2021 for crimes in connection with an alleged tax fraud scheme. Weisselberg and attorneys for the company have pleaded not guilty, and a court trial for that case is likely to begin as early as August.

James started a civil investigation of the business practices of the Trump Organization in 2019 after Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress that Trump lowered his real estate tax obligations and obtained bank loans through manipulating his property values.

James' office has also been partnering with the Manhattan district attorney's office in a criminal probe into Trump's family business.

The company has hundreds of millions of dollars of debt coming due in the next several years. Over the past decade, the Trump Organization bought a golf course outside Miami, secured the lease for the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., which it has operated as the Trump International Hotel, and sought business deals around the world, often with bank financing.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ilya Marritz
Hansi Lo Wang (he/him) is a national correspondent for NPR reporting on the people, power and money behind the U.S. census.