Fraud trial: Trump acknowledged penthouse size at 11,000 square feet, not 30,000 he later claimed

Allen Weisselberg, Donald Trump's longtime finance chief, left, sits inside New York Supreme Court Tuesday in New York.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK — Donald Trump signed a document 30 years ago that gave the true size of his New York penthouse which was later listed as far larger on financial statements, according to evidence Tuesday at the former president’s civil business fraud trial.

The evidence appeared in an email attachment shown as Allen Weisselberg, the former finance chief of Trump’s company, testified in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ fraud lawsuit against Trump and his Trump Organization. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

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The attachment was a 1994 document, signed by Trump, that pegged his Trump Tower triplex at 10,996 square feet — not the 30,000 square feet later claimed for years on financial statements that were given to banks, insurers and others to make deals and secure loans.

Weisselberg said he recalled seeing the email but not the attachment, explaining that the attachments were documents he already had on file in the company’s offices. But in any event, he said, he didn’t pay much mind to the apartment’s size because its value amounted to a fraction of Trump’s wealth.

“I never even thought about the apartment. It was de minimis, in my mind,” Weisselberg said, using a Latin term that means, essentially, too small to care about.

“It was not something that was that important to me when looking at a $6 billion, $5 billion net worth,” said Weisselberg.

Later, Weisselberg was asked about an appraisal that came in $230 million below what Trump’s financial statements showed for his Seven Springs estate north of New York City. Weisselberg said he was aware of the appraisal but didn’t think the disparity was worth flagging to the outside accountants who prepared the statements.

Nevertheless, Weisselberg acknowledged signing documents certifying that financial summaries given to banks to meet loan requirements were “true, correct, and completely and fairly” represented Trump’s financial condition.

Weisselberg repeatedly said he couldn’t remember whether he discussed the financial statements with Trump while they were being finalized. The ex-CFO said he reviewed drafts “from a 30,000-foot level” (9,100-meter level) but paid special attention to something “very important” to Trump: the descriptions of his properties.

“It was a little bit of a marketing piece for banks to read about our properties, how well they’re taken care of, that they’re first-class properties,” said Weisselberg, who added that Trump scrutinized the language used in such descriptions. “He might say, ‘Don’t use the word “beautiful” — use the word “magnificent,”’ or something like that,” Weisselberg testified.

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