NYC prosecutor suggests probe of Trump’s company
NEW YORK — A New York City prosecutor fighting to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge Monday he was justified in demanding them because of public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation related to payoffs to two women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.
In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Vance, a Democrat, said the president wasn’t entitled to know the exact nature of the grand jury probe, which they called a “complex financial investigation.”
They noted, though, that at the time the subpoena for the tax filings was issued to Trump’s accountants, “there were public allegations of possible criminal activity” at the president’s company “dating back over a decade.”
They cited several newspaper articles, including one in which the Washington Post examined allegations that Trump had a practice of sending financial statements to potential business partners and banks that inflated the worth of his projects by claiming they were bigger or more potentially lucrative than they actually were.
Another article described congressional testimony by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who said the president would overstate the value of his business interests to impress people or lenders, but then deflate the value of assets when trying to reduce his taxes.
The attorneys also cited reports of past non-criminal investigations by New York regulators into whether the conduct described by Cohen amounted to bank or insurance fraud.
“These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders. This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” the lawyers said.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the subpoena for his tax filings was issued in bad faith and amounted to harassment of the president.
Speaking to reporters later Monday,
Trump called the district attorney’s investigation another attempt by Democrats to damage him.
“This is just a continuation of the witch hunt. It’s Democrat stuff. They failed with Mueller. They failed with everything. They failed with Congress. They failed at every stage of the game. This has been going on for three and a half, four years,” Trump said, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Supreme Court last month rejected claims by Trump’s lawyers that the president could not be criminally investigated while he was in office.
Vance’s lawyers urged U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero to swiftly reject Trump’s further arguments that the subpoenas were improper, saying the baseless claims were threatening the investigation.
“Every day that goes by is another day Plaintiff effectively achieves the ‘temporary absolute immunity’ that was rejected by this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court,” Vance’s lawyers said.
Chicago-based private equity firm GCM Grosvenor said Monday it will become a publicly traded company after a merger with an affiliate of the New York investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald.
GCM Grosvenor, which reports $57 billion in assets under management, said it will merge with CF Finance Acquisition, a Nasdaq-listed company. The combined firm will use the GCM Grosvenor name and be led by its senior managers, including Chairman Michael Sacks.
Cantor Fitzgerald, shareholders of CF Finance and other investors will own less than 30% of the new company. The deal values GCM Grosvenor at $2 billion.
Executives said the merger, subject to approval of CF Finance shareholders, should close in the fourth quarter.
Terms call for Cantor Fitzgerald to provide $30 million and for institutional investors to buy $195 million in shares at $10 each.
“We believe that becoming a publicly listed company will benefit our clients, our team members and all of our stakeholders,” Sacks said. “We have long valued having external shareholders, and we wanted to preserve the accountability and focus that comes with that.”
Sacks is an investor in SunTimes Media.
GCM Grosvenor said there will be no change in the firm’s investment and operational practices. It said cash from the deal will be used to pay down debt, expand the business and pay $150 million to selling shareholders, including Hellman & Friedman,
which has had a minority stake in GCM Grosvenor since 2007.
“We have long respected the GCM Grosvenor management team, their culture and continued ability to deliver for their clients,” said Howard Lutnick, chairman of both Cantor Fitzgerald and CF Finance. “We look forward to their growth and success as a public company.”
A source said the new outside investors include Citigroup banker Michael Klein.
Aside from its Chicago base, GCM Grosvenor has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul. It invests clients’ money in a variety of strategies.
CF Finance is a type of special purpose acquisition company, sometimes called a “blank check company,” that raises money through a stock offering to fund a future merger or acquisition. Its shares closed at $10.43 on Monday, down 4 cents for the day.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seeking President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
President Donald Trump