- Trump Org exec 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 attorney general’s office, are investigating the Trump Organization’s finances and examining whether the company broke tax, insurance, and bank laws.
Prosecutors brought charges in July against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, its chief financial officer. Weisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the special-grand-jury investigation is ongoing.
Weisselberg has worked for former President Donald Trump’s company and family since 1973 and perhaps knows more about Trump’s finances than anyone else.
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.
McConney has been at the Trump Organization since 1987, according to his LinkedIn profile, working closely with Weisselberg. In 2017, the chief financial officer told investigators in the New York attorney general’s office that he trusted McConney so much, he’d sign documents McConney prepared without even looking at them.
“Knowing that it went through Jeff McConney, who provided the original information, then he told me it’s OK 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. 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 from Trump’s golf club in Colts Neck.
Barbara Res, who oversaw Trump Organization construction projects in the 1980s and ’90s — and who also says Weisselberg may flip — told Insider 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.
Prosecutors obtained at least 6 million pages of evidence for its July indictment against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg. Much of that evidence is subpoenaed financial documents, which experts say likely include tax returns and preparation documents. McConney may be able to walk grand jurors and prosecutors through those documents.
The interviews McConney and Weisselberg gave to the New York attorney general’s office were for an investigation into the Trump Foundation. The charity was shuttered in 2019 after the investigation found that Trump used its funds to advance his political career and for his 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’s attorney general, declined to investigate fraud allegations 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 at the opportunity 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.”
McConney worked with Brad Parscale, then the digital director of Trump’s campaign, to set up a fundraising website. He also worked with Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager at the time, to select charities to direct money to, emails obtained by investigators and reviewed by Insider showed.
McConney’s son gave Trump perhaps 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 in 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 prosecution for crimes related to the activity they testify about. But if McConney came to a cooperation agreement with prosecutors before 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.
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 made an appearance in 2018 charging documents federal prosecutors in New York brought against Cohen, ProPublica reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. 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 was 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.