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Trump Organization, Already Under Indictment, Faces New Criminal Inquiry

Every year since 2015, the Trump club has appealed its tax bill in court, prompting an outcry in the Ossining area, where hundreds of demonstrators marched in 2017, chanting, “Pay your share.”

In seeking to cut the tax bill — sometimes by as much as 90 percent — the club has argued that the property was worth much less than Ossining officials had determined, a common strategy among many country clubs, not just Mr. Trump’s. In one year, the Trump club put the property’s value at about $1.4 million, while the town assessed it at roughly $15 million.

Ms. Rocah’s prosecutors could be comparing the figures the club submitted to Ossining with other statements Mr. Trump has made about the property’s value. For example, he declared in federal disclosure forms when he was president that the club was worth more than $50 million.

Yet the method for determining that larger figure is different from how golf courses generally calculate their value for tax purposes. And some golf course operators say that in tax appeals, they routinely propose lower figures to start negotiations with local officials and to protect themselves in case unexpected disasters destroy their properties, not to mislead tax authorities.

This year, after Ossining lost a tax appeal filed by a golf course not owned by Mr. Trump, local officials became concerned that he might prevail in court as well. And so, in July, the town announced a compromise with the Trump club, trimming the property’s assessed value by about 30 percent for the past several years. Collectively, Ossining and other local entities issued the club a refund of about $875,000.

“We believe this settlement is in the best interests of the town’s residents and businesses,” Dana Levenberg, Ossining’s town supervisor, said in a statement, citing the benefit of avoiding what would likely be costly litigation with an uncertain outcome. “Each side compromised in the interest of reaching an agreement,” she said, noting that they settled on values closer to what was “presented by the town than the golf club.”

Ms. Levenberg declined to comment on the subpoena the town received from Ms. Rocah’s office.

As the Westchester investigation proceeds, Mr. Vance’s case against the Trump Organization and Mr. Weisselberg, the finance chief, is moving toward a possible trial in August or September, which would coincide with the closing stretch of next year’s congressional elections. The case centers on what prosecutors have described as a 15-year scheme to dole out lucrative off-the-books benefits to employees.

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