The move by Donald Trump’s company to strip its top finance chief of several leadership positions less than two weeks after his criminal indictment suggests it is facing a tricky, new business environment as it seeks to reassure lenders and other business partners.
Allen Weisselberg, the top numbers man for Mr Trump stretching back decades, has lost positions in companies overseeing a Scottish golf course, payroll operations and other businesses under the Trump Organisation, according to government registry records. He retains his role as chief financial officer of the parent company.
The moves weren’t unexpected, but they mark a possible delicate stage in Mr Trump’s legal fight with the Manhattan district attorney’s office and his efforts to protect his company. Companies will often push out indicted top executives to re-establish trust so they can continue to borrow and strike deals.
“This may all be part of them trying to look good to the outside word,” said Daniel R Alonso, former chief assistant district attorney in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
“They have something to say when their business partners ask, ‘We saw these charges. What does it mean for your loan, your permits, your business contracts?’”
The decision to keep Mr Weisselberg as CFO suggests the company is loathe to move forcefully to distance itself, said another former Manhattan prosecutor, possibly because Mr Weisselberg is so valued given his deep experience, but also possibly due to fear he could start cooperating with the district attorney in its wider investigation of the Trump Organisation.
“They seem to be threading a needle,” said Daniel Horwitz, a white collar defence lawyer at McLaughlin and Stern. “They want to keep him close so so he doesn’t flip.”
The Trump Organisation did not respond to a request for comment.