This Week in Conflicts: Trump Org. CFO Given Immunity, Ivanka Trump’s Brand Website Shuts Down and the President’s Involvement in FBI HQ Plans


President Donald Trump, joined by First Daughter Ivanka Trump talks with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer onboard the International Space Station Monday, April 24, 2017 from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

This week, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization has been given immunity by federal prosecutors, the Ivanka Trump brand website shuts down after company closure announced last month and President Donald Trump’s involvement in the new FBI headquarters.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Trump Org. CFO Given Immunity

Federal prosecutors have granted, Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, immunity related to the investigation involving President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Reuters is reporting. 

“Weisselberg was given immunity months ago,” someone familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Earlier this year, Weisselberg was called to testify before a federal grand jury but what exactly he said and what he was asked is unknown.

Weisselberg has worked for the Trump family for more than four decades, Reuters is reporting, including serving as treasurer for the Donald J. Trump Foundation, the president’s charity.

Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, speaks with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Douglas A. Silliman, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq, and Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, after arriving in Baghdad, Iraq, April 3, 2017. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Kushner Companies Falsified Building Permits

The New York Times is reporting, Kushner Companies was cited for falsifying construction permits.

The New York City Department of Buildings cited the company for 42 violations of submitting false permit information at 17 buildings. The fines total $210,000.

Charles Kushner, Jared Kushner’s father, and Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney are facing scrutiny for these violations. According to the New York Times, the buildings where these violations occurred were home to tenants that were “protected from steep rent increases and eviction.”

Another report produced by tenant activists suggests an investment group led by Cohen also falsified construction permits, saying the buildings were vacant or without rent-regulated tenants.

Aaron Carr, executive director of Housing Rights Initiative, told the New York Times,  “the group’s analysis ‘suggests that Mr. Cohen had commenced a deliberate campaign to systematically harass tenants out of their apartments using destructive, hazardous and illegal construction practices, so he could dramatically raise rents.’”

Jared Kushner has resigned as the chief executive of Kushner Companies but still retains most of his stake in the company. As President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, experts say the combination of his broad White House responsibilities and personal business interests could create real and perceived conflicts of interest.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump Involved in FBI HQ Plans

President Trump was directly involved in meetings where the decision to move forward with a plan to build a new FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. was made, CBS News is reporting. 

The news comes after a report was released from the General Services Administration inspector general. The report cites two White House meetings in January and June in which Trump participated.

“The report indicates that while GSA employees confirmed the White House meetings with Trump, they received instructions not to divulge any statements Trump made at those meetings,” CBS News reports.

There are concerns about potential conflicts of interest involving President Trump since his hotel located in Washington D.C., would be near the proposed location of the new FBI building.

Screenshot of the Ivanka Trump brand website taken on August 31, 2018.

Ivanka Trump Brand Website Shuts Down

Business Insider is reporting, Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand has officially shut down its website.

The shoe, accessory and clothing company announced it was shutting the company down last month. A week after that announcement was made the Ivanka Trump storefront in Trump Tower in New York City was closed and all of the Ivanka-branded material was replaced with President Trump-branded material.

When the company announced it was closing, a brand representative said Ivanka-brand clothing, shoes, and accessories will continue to be produced and sold by the company’s licensing partners.

Ivanka Trump no longer oversees the daily operation of her company but earned an estimated $5 million from the brand last year, according to financial disclosures.

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” presents a comprehensive, free, searchable database detailing all of President Donald J.Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as president of the United States. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, learn more about conflicts of interest at every level of government and search our database. If you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking email us to contribute to the project.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.