Former U.S. President Donald Trump in New York City.
REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Trump Organization executive Jeffrey McConney has testified twice for the grand jury investigating the company.
He’s the second-in-command to CFO Allen Weisselberg, who’s been charged with tax fraud.
McConney may be able to give prosecutors a better understanding of the company’s finances.
For months, prosecutors investigating the Trump Organization’s finances have struggled to get the cooperation of Allen Weisselberg, former President Donald Trump’s main money man.
But they have had success getting information from his second-in-command: Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney.
McConney has testified at least twice to a grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The Manhattan prosecutors, along with the New York State Attorney General’s office, are investigating the Trump Organization’s finances and examining whether the company broke tax, insurance, or bank laws.
Prosecutors brought charges in July against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, its CFO. Weisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the special grand jury investigation remains ongoing.
Weisselberg has worked for former President Donald Trump’s company and family since 1973, and arguably knows more about Trump’s finances than anyone else on the planet.
Prosecutors have sought to “flip” Weisselberg into cooperating with the investigation. Several witnesses, including Michael Cohen and Jennifer Weisselberg, his former daughter-in-law, believe he ultimately will – if he hasn’t already. But there’s no public indication the executive is cooperating just yet.
McConney has worked for the Trump Organization since 1987, according to his LinkedIn profile, working closely with Weisselberg. In 2017, the CFO told investigators in the New York Attorney General’s office that he trusted McConney so much, he’d sign documents he prepared without even looking at them.
“Knowing that it went through Jeff McConney, who provided the original information, then he told me it’s okay to sign, I would go ahead and sign these things,” Weisselberg said in the interview.
McConney helps manage the Trump Organization’s finances
The 66-year-old McConney is a staunch Trump supporter by all accounts. He’s a “rank-and-file Republican voter” and sometimes wears Trump-branded neckties, according to The Daily Beast. His home in Marlboro, New Jersey, is a short drive away from Trump’s golf club in Colt’s Neck.
Barbara Res, who oversaw Trump Organization construction projects in the 1980s and 1990s – and who also thinks Weisselberg may flip – told Insider that McConney handled billing when they overlapped at the company.
“We were spending money, and someone had to go over what we were spending,” Res said.
McConney was eventually promoted to be the company’s controller and a senior vice president. In an interview he gave to state investigators in 2017, which was reviewed by the Daily Beast, he said his team oversaw paperwork for bank loans, tracked checks, maintained tax documents, and prepared Trump’s personal financial statements. McConney also helped prepare tax returns for the Trump family’s charity organization, Weisselberg told investigators in 2017.
The Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg in September.
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
Prosecutors obtained at least 6 million pages of evidence for its July indictment against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg. Much of that evidence consists of subpoenaed financial documents, which experts say include tax returns and preparation documents. McConney may be able to walk through those documents for grand jurors and prosecutors.
The interviews McConney and Weisselberg gave to the New York Attorney General’s Office were for an investigation into the Trump Foundation. The charity shuttered in 2019 after the investigation found that Trump used its funds to advance his political career and for his own personal gain.
McConney, who handled day-to-day matters for the foundation, told investigators that it wrongly used $120,000 in funds to pay fines and settle lawsuits on Trump’s behalf, according to The Daily Beast. He also said he regretted a $25,000 payment to a political campaign for Pam Bondi, who as Florida attorney general declined to investigate fraud claims against Trump University.
“Anything and everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” McConney said.
He has links to Trump’s 2016 campaign
According to Weisselberg, McConney jumped to help Trump’s campaign for president.
In January 2016, Weisselberg and McConney tagged along as Trump skipped a Republican debate and instead hosted a fundraiser for veterans’ charities.
“I asked Jeff McConney if he’d like to go with me. And he said sure,” Weisselberg told investigators in 2017. “So he grabbed the checkbook.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to veterans at Drake University on January 28, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
McConney worked with Brad Parscale, then the digital director of Trump’s campaign, to set up a fundraising website. He also worked with Cory Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, to select charities to direct money to, emails obtained by investigators and reviewed by Insider show.
McConney’s son arguably gave Trump the biggest contribution of all: Instructions for using Twitter.
Justin McConney, who ran the Trump Organization’s social media between 2011 and 2017, recalled in an interview with Politico how he encouraged Trump to use the app.
“The moment I found out Trump could tweet himself was comparable to the moment in ‘Jurassic Park’ when Dr. Grant realized that velociraptors could open doors,” the younger McConney said. “I was like, ‘Oh no.'”
McConney testified twice for the Manhattan grand jury, and is reportedly referenced in charging documents
Prosecutors brought McConney to testify for grand jurors twice, in July and September.
At least one of those times, according to disclosures from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, McConney had complied with a subpoena. The Trump Organization previously asked courts to block prosecutors’ subpoenas, including for documentation related to McConney’s work, but the Supreme Court ruled in February that it had to comply.
Under New York state law, witnesses who are subpoenaed to testify in front of grand juries automatically receive “transactional immunity,” which blocks prosecutions for crimes related to the activity they testify about. However, if McConney came to a cooperation agreement with prosecutors prior to being subpoenaed, they may still be able to bring charges against him.
Patricia Pileggi, an attorney representing McConney, didn’t respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Donald Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Donald Trump Jr. in 2017.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
Prosecutors also appeared to reference McConney in their July indictment. “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1” – who according to the Wall Street Journal is McConney – “agreed to and implemented” a compensation scheme that prosecutors allege underreported Weisselberg’s income and allowed him to avoid certain taxes.
McConney also reportedly made an appearance in 2017 charging documents federal prosecutors in New York brought against Cohen. In 2016 Cohen, who at the time worked as a lawyer for the Trump Organization and for Trump personally, paid off two women who said they had affairs with the then-presidential candidate to ensure their silence ahead of the election.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance charges for the payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Manhattan prosecutors are said to be examining whether the payments broke state-level campaign finance laws as well.
At least one of those payments were processed by two executives at the Trump Organization, federal prosecutors said in their indictment. One of them was Weisselberg, according to Cohen; the other, according to the Journal, was McConney.