February has not been a fun month for former President Donald Trump and his embattled Trump Organization, and according to a new report in The Daily Beast, the news that Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, fired him as a client has triggered a full-blown meltdown throughout the meretricious mazes of Trumpworld.
Mazars can “no longer stand behind a decade of annual financial statements it prepared for the Trump Organization, court documents show,” The New York Times revealed on Monday.
Mazars’ legally loud move is the latest tendril extending from the palette of civil and criminal investigations into Trump’s personal business practices by New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg, both of whom are amassing breadcrumbs suggesting that Trump and his associates engaged in schemes to defraud lending institutions and evade taxes.
Trump insiders told the Beast that they have advised Trump and his three eldest offspring – each of whom has been intimately involved in running the family business – that having your financial handlers jump ship is bad news.
“I’ll be honest with you: I have said for years that this whole thing is one big fishing expedition,” one individual told the Beast. “I’ve expected it to just fizzle at some point, or to turn up ticky tacky shit that can score prosecutors big headlines. The Mazars news was the first time I started thinking, ‘Hey, this might be serious.’ Could Donald Trump [and his business] be screwed? I don’t know, but I’m not as confident as I once was in saying, ‘No.’”
That person’s concern for Trump’s wellbeing was not unique.
“None of these sources who spoke to Trump believed he was taking this as seriously as he should. Two of them said the former president told them that his business empire has been doing ‘great,’ no matter what prosecutors are trying to do to it,” the Beast noted.
Appearances, above all else, are what matter most to Trump.
“We have a great company with fantastic assets that are unique, extremely valuable and, in many cases, far more valuable than what was listed in our Financial Statements,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, the Beast continued, “all three predicted that this latest Mazars development would likely strengthen Trump’s resolve to run again for the presidency in 2024.”
This is undoubtedly due to the – albeit controversial – legal armor that the presidency provides.
For now, the peril that Trump faces is very real, Miami-based bankruptcy attorney Steven J. Solomon explained to the Beast.
“It’s incredibly significant. And frankly, I’ve never heard of a situation where an accounting firm is going back retroactively 10 years. This would be a trigger point. If your lender doesn’t have confidence in you because it can’t rely on the information, you can’t be friends anymore,” he said, adding later that “this is going to be incredibly troubling and at the same time. You’re going to have bank regulators looking… at these loans and determining that there are these questions being raised about the solvency of the borrower.”
Solomon said that Mazars leaving the Trump Organization in the dust will likely spook future firms away from doing business with the Trumps. This, in turn, may force Trump to explore other, less respectable avenues of obtaining credit.
“This explodes the national security risk by a factor of 10, because now he's going to be desperate for new loans. Legitimate banks are not going to touch him. So it expands the universe of shady characters who could offer him loans in return for favors that might include disclosing U.S. national security secrets,” said Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft fellow Joseph Cirincione.
“Whether it is the Saudis, Russians, narcoterrorists – anybody with access to hundreds of millions would be in the running for Donald Trump’s new loan officer,” he said. “That is why you don’t give security clearance to people who are financially compromised.”
But the end game may already be in play.
Barbara Res, who designed and built Trump Tower, believes that the key to nailing Trump is to convince ex-Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg – who was indicted last year for tax fraud – to turn on his former boss.
“Weisselberg is who’s in trouble now. He's probably the one that gave all the information to the accountants. They didn’t get it out of thin air. They worked with Weisselberg, He’s the guy. They didn’t check [real estate values] themselves. They’re not real estate people,” Res said. “I hope that they flip Weisselberg, because this is a big deal with him. He’s the one who’d go to jail for this, I would think.”
Res also told the Beast that during her tenure at the Trump Organization, “people didn’t let” Trump cook the books. “We controlled him. But he reached the point where [he] no longer had anyone who’d say no to him.”
Res added that given everything that has come to light about Trump, “if he gets away from this, there’s no God, and no reason to live.”