- Donald Trump Jr. told New York probers he doesn’t understand basic accounting, a new filing says.
- He claimed ignorance when asked at a sworn deposition about signing his dad’s financial statements.
- He said he remembers a little bit about accounting principles from ‘accounting 101’ at Wharton.
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As sole trustee for the family business, Donald Trump Jr. routinely signs his father’s financial statements — but he still insisted during a recent sworn deposition that he has very little actual understanding of accounting, New York officials revealed Thursday.
Asked about “GAAP,” the generally accepted accounting principles that must be followed in the US, the younger Trump claimed nearly complete ignorance, according to court papers filed Thursday by New York state’s attorney general, Letitia James.
“Donald Trump, Jr. testified that his only familiarity with GAAP was ‘probably [because of] Accounting 101 in Wharton,’ and that apart from knowing that they “are generally accepted,” he could not identify any other knowledge he has about GAAP,” the filing said.
Like his father and sister, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “To be fairly candid, I used to drink and party pretty hard,” he told New York Magazine in 2004.
James offered a peek into Donald Trump Jr.’s claimed accounting ignorance as part of a new court filing that alleges the Trump Organization is engaging in a continuing pattern of fraud, stretching beyond the 220-page lawsuit she filed against the former president, his family, and his business on September 21.
Her office is asking a Manhattan judge to bar Trump from shifting assets to “Trump Organization II,” a new entity that is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit or in a pending Manhattan criminal prosecution of an alleged payroll tax scheme.
She is also asking the judge to immediately assign an independent monitor to oversee Donald Trump’s finances and to require him to formally accept service of her lawsuit, something he has yet to do in the three weeks since it’s been filed.
As for Donald Trump Jr., he did not assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — unlike his father and his brother, Eric Trump — when he gave a court-ordered deposition before the attorney general’s investigators in August, Thursday’s filing says.
Since 2017, the former president’s namesake son has been a trustee for the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, the entity set up to oversee the Trump Organization when Donald Trump became president.
“Despite his role as a trustee, Donald Trump, Jr. had no specific recollection at all of the Statements,” the filing says, referring to the annual statements of financial condition at the center of James’ lawsuit.
“Donald Trump, Jr. testified that he has no understanding how the Statement is compiled each year,” the filing continues.
“Donald Trump, Jr. testified that he was aware of an accounting firm being involved but otherwise had no knowledge of the process or mechanics of the Statements’ preparation.”