At the beginning of 2005, at the invitation of Donald Trump, I visited the headquarters of the future President in Manhattan to meet with Trump's CFO, Allen Weisselberg.
We wanted to discuss how wealthy Trump was, a topic that was very important to Trump and very confusing to me. During the previous months, Trump had told me that somewhere between $ 1
But my sources, who knew about Trump's finances, thought that the right amount could come closer to 150 to 250 million dollars, or maybe 350 million dollars, if he could save his battered casinos. Trump (and he later became in vain for libel for publishing in a biography I wrote, TrumpNation).
Trump met these numbers shortly before this meeting went all in and told me he was worth $ 5 to $ 6 billion, and to reassure my confusion, he told Weisselberg to calculate the value of all his assets, without any debts, and discuss it with me Reading a large notepad told me that Trump's stakes would be worth about $ 6 billion, but after adding Weissselberg's valuations, the total was only $ 5 billion.
Huh, what happened to the rest? " I go to my office and find the other billion, "asserted Weisselberg," I've never heard of him again. "
Weisselberg's mathematics and memory will soon have to improve nerstag reported the Wall Street Journal that a grand jury had summoned him to protest in the federal investigation of Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Cohen is reportedly being investigated by prosecutors in New York for possibly bank fraud, cable fraud, and campaign funding violations. A record of his conversation with Trump, which discussed how to buy the silence of a woman who said she had an affair with Trump, was released Tuesday. During the conversation, Cohen spoke directly to Weisselberg by name, saying that he could help Cohen and Trump build a secure channel to pay them. It is not clear that money has ever been spent.
While Cohen and Weisselberg are now legally intertwined and know each other from their years together in the Trump organization, they could not be more different. Cohen, dull and talkative, joined the Trump Organization in 2006 and worked primarily as a fixer until his relationship with Trump worsened and then deteriorated. Weisselberg, more reserved and attentive, has been a member of the Trump Organization since the 1970s and has worked his way up from accountant to CFO.
Cohen has never received the respect he hoped for from Trump Because his loyalty to the president is now at stake – as well as the possibility that he will cooperate with Trump's federal and state investigations. Weisselberg has been a loyalist to the Trump family for decades, and his loyalty to the president may be harder for prosecutors to crack.
On the other hand, Weisselberg has a comprehensive knowledge of the activities of the Trump organization. Trump's faith in him was deep enough to allow Weisselberg to submit his personal tax returns on a regular basis and to sign financial details of the company's financial statements. He also had a prominent position in the troubled charitable foundation of the president. And he, along with the president's two oldest sons, oversees the trust Trump has built up to manage his interests in the Trump organization while he's in the White House.
This kind of knowledge is likely to be of great interest to investigators who long ago signaled that they could take a closer look at the President's affairs. They might be inclined to exert pressure on Weisselberg to impose his loyalty to Trump.
In a column on Cohen and Weisselberg in April, I noted that Weisselberg was a potential candidate for a special summons from attorney Robert Mueller or the US law firm in New York given the fact that Mueller had already summoned the Trump organization for business records would have.
On Wednesday, I speculated that Weisselberg's appearance on the last Cohen Trump band made him an even more obvious potential target for investigators. And, I wrote, if he "lands in the investigators' crosshairs for disbursement of profits, he might be able to give the prosecutors much more damaging information than Cohen could ever know about the President's proceedings."
Now we know that Weisselberg is going to a grand jury. And it's one of the most momentous phrases in the president's various investigations – because it may bring the probe into Trump's wallet.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editors or the Bloomberg LP and its owners
Contact the responsible editor for this story:
Matthew Brooker  at [email protected]