Posts tagged with "July 1"

Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg expected to be charged Thursday

July 1, 2021

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is expected to charge the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer with tax-related crimes on Thursday, July 1, sources have told The Wall Street Journal.

These would mark the first criminal charges against the former president’s company since prosecutors began investigating it three years ago.

The charges against the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime chief financial officer, represent a blow to former President Donald Trump, who has fended off multiple criminal and civil probes during and after his presidency.

Trump himself isn’t expected to be charged, his lawyer said. Weisselberg has rejected prosecutors’ attempts at gaining his cooperation, according to people familiar with the matter, the Journal said.

The defendants are expected to appear in court on Thursday afternoon. The Trump Organization and Weisselberg are expected to face charges related to allegedly evading taxes on fringe benefits, sources said.

For months, the Manhattan D.A.’s Office and New York State Attorney General’s Office have been investigating whether Weisselberg and other employees illegally avoided paying taxes on perks—such as cars, apartments, and private-school tuition—that they received from the Trump Organization.

If prosecutors could demonstrate that the Trump Organization and its executives systematically avoided paying taxes, they could file more serious charges alleging a scheme, lawyers said.

Weisselberg and his lawyers haven’t commented on the investigation or impending charges.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the investigations, conducted by offices led by Democrats, are politically motivated. Earlier this week, he said in a statement that the case is composed of “things that are standard practice throughout the U.S. business community, and in no way a crime.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Paper vs. plastic: Philadelphia to become first U.S. city to ban cashless stores

March 8, 2019

Starting July 1, Philadelphia will become the first major U.S. city to ban cashless stores—putting it at squarely in the middle of a debate that is pitting retail innovation against consumers who either want to keep their options open or who don’t have a payments card.

According to a March 7 report by The Wall Street Journal, legislation just passed in Philadelphia will require most retail stores to accept cash. With the exception of some businesses, the ordinance will prohibit most retail locations from refusing to take cash or charging cash-paying customers a higher price. Those who violate the law will face fines of as much as $2,000.

Proponents of the new ban argue that cashless stores effectively discriminate against poor consumers who do not have access to credit or bank accounts. Indeed, Philly.com reports, nearly 6 % of residents in the Philadelphia region were unbanked in 2017;  and roughly 22% were considered “underbanked,” according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Of course, there will be some exceptions: JDSupra notes that businesses not subject to the new rules include parking lots and garages; wholesale clubs (e.g., BJ’s and Costco); stores that exclusively sell using a “mobile device application” through a “membership model” (will cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores qualify?); certain rentals where “collateral or security is typically required;” and sales exclusively to employees on an employer’s premises. None of these terms are defined and don’t hold your breath until regulations are promulgated.

And Philly is not the only locale thinking that paper money is not going out of style anytime soon:  A New York City councilman is pushing similar legislation there, and New Jersey’s legislature recently passed a bill banning cashless stores statewide. A spokesperson for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, declined to comment on whether he would sign it.

What’s more, Massachusetts has gone the furthest on the issue and is the only state that requires retailers to accept cash.

Businesses that have gone cashless to date point to greater efficiency for employees, who don’t have to make change or count cash at closing time, and improved safety because workers don’t have to carry large bank deposits, The Wall Street Journal says.

Philadelphia City Councilman William Greenlee, a Democrat, said he was inspired to introduce the bill after noticing that some Center City sandwich shops had gone cashless.

“Most of the people who don’t have credit tend to be lower income, minority, immigrants. It just seemed to me, if not intentional, at least a form of discrimination,” he told the Journal. Now, he said, stores will be required “to do what businesses have been doing since Ben Franklin was walking the streets of Philadelphia.”

Sylvie Gallier Howard, a top official in the city’s Commerce Department, told City Council members last month she hoped the ban proves to be temporary. “Modernization is going to happen with or without Philadelphia, and we want to be part of it,” she said.

The National Retail Federation, a trade group that represents the retail industry, opposes the new Philadelphia law and proposals like it, saying businesses should be able to choose which payment methods to accept. Cashless stores are uncommon in the United States and many businesses prefer cash payments because they avoid the credit-card transaction fees, it said.

The measure also has been opposed by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association, while the city’s Commission on Human Relations and a number of community groups support it.

Research contact: @scottmcalvert