- Prosecutors subpoenaed a private school for a Trump investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- They’re reportedly examining whether tuition payments for the Trump Organization CFO broke tax laws.
- The school received more than $500,000 in tuition overall, according to Jennifer Weisselberg.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
New York prosecutors have subpoenaed an elite private school in Manhattan as part of an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his Trump Organization, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sources told The Journal that Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School was subpoenaed by prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg’s grandchildren are students at the school. Prosecutors are reportedly trying to “flip” Weisselberg, who also oversees the Trump family’s finances, into cooperating with the investigation into irregularities in Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances.
Jennifer Weisselberg – the childrens’ mother – previously told Insider that Trump would include school tuition in the compensation package for her former husband, Barry Weisselberg. She is a cooperating witness in investigations from both the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the New York Attorney General’s office.
Prosecutors could be examining whether the tuition arrangement allowed Barry or Allen Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes, according to The Journal.
Jennifer Weisselberg told The Journal that more than $500,000 in tuition was paid for with checks written either by Trump or Allen Weisselberg. But the records in her possession don’t show who made the payments, The Journal reported.
The subpoenas for the elite Upper West Side school will allow prosecutors to obtain copies of the transactions for tuition payments, which could tell them whether they came from Trump, Allen Weisselberg, Barry Weisselberg, the Trump Organization, or some other source.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office have already gone to the Supreme Court to subpoena reams of financial documents from the Trump Organization, including tax filings. They have also subpoenaed Allen Weisselberg’s bank records.
The Trumps and Weisselbergs have ties to Columbia Prep
Michael Cohen, a former executive at the Trump Organization and personal lawyer for Trump, was previously the chairman of Columbia Prep’s board. He helped make sure the Weisselberg grandchildren would be considered for admission, Jennifer Weisselberg previously told Insider.
The children of Jack Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg’s other son, have also attended Columbia Prep, according to The Journal.
Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, attended the school when he lived in New York City.
And the Trump Foundation – Donald Trump’s now-dissolved charity organization – donated $150,000 to the school between 2014 and 2016, according to The Journal’s review of tax filings.
A court ordered the dissolution of the Trump Foundation in 2019, after New York Attorney General Letitia James brought a lawsuit accusing it of misusing funds.
James’ office is conducting its own investigation into Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances. It has made fewer public moves than the investigation from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Vance is set to retire in December and is widely expected to make a decision about whether to bring charges against Trump or the Trump Organization before then.
Trump faces numerous other legal headaches, including investigations into his conduct as president, lawsuits over sexual-misconduct allegations, and an investigation in Georgia into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results there.
In an earlier interview with Insider, Jennifer Weisselberg said the Trump Organization would pay employees like her former husband with perks like tuition and housing instead of cash as a way to control their lives.
“They want you to do crimes and not talk about it and don’t leave,” she said.