Anne Mikolay
Anne Mikolay
Anne Mikolay
Anne Mikolay

The Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been charged with grand larceny and tax fraud in an ongoing scheme  to avoid paying taxes on $1.7 million of his income. Weisselberg maintains his innocence, of course, and his boss, former president Donald Trump, has predictably called the indictment a “witch hunt.” Not surprisingly, some of Trump’s former associates have slithered forward to put a nail in the man’s coffin (Weisselberg’s coffin or Trump’s; take your pick) while enjoying their own fifteen minutes of dubious fame.

Jennifer Zarnowiec Weisselberg, Allen Weisselberg’s former daughter-in-law, has lately been regaling television pundits with her tales of excessive living on Trump’s dime. According to Jennifer, during her fourteen-year marriage to Trump executive, Barry Weisselberg, she and her husband received lavish gifts from Donald Trump, such as luxury real estate, including a rent-free $2.85 million Central Park apartment, and  tuition for her children to attend the same school as Barron Trump, New York City’s elite Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School. At the request of a New York grand jury, Ms. Weisselberg surrendered several boxes of financial documents relating to the Trump Organization, to her marriage/divorce from Barry Weisselberg, and to Allen and Barry Weisselberg’s business dealings within the Trump empire.

“For me, when the government calls you,” Ms. Weisselberg told CNN, “It’s your civic duty, and there’s nothing wrong with telling the truth. It wasn’t really a choice; they called me. I’m happy to be as honest and transparent and just be forthcoming because I don’t have anything to hide.”

Whether or not assisting the grand jury was a “choice”, the timing of Ms. Weisselberg’s “transparency” is questionable. Are we to believe that during her marriage to Allen Weisselberg’s son Jennifer only begrudgingly embraced her Trump-given financial/social advantages and silently bided her time until she could enact her civic awareness? Gimme a break! During her marriage to Barry Weisselberg, did she drive any of the cars Donald Trump gave the couple? Did she enjoy the fancy Central Park apartment and relish rubbing elbows with other wealthy families at Columbia Prep? Did she fill her closets with clothes and trinkets paid for with Trump’s money? Sanctimoniously denouncing Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump after you have reaped the benefits of their ill-gotten fortunes is very Trump-like behavior. One has to question this woman’s motivation. Jennifer Weisselberg dutifully complied with the grand jury’s request for documents/records, but her newly discovered civic duty might be tinged with a bit of revenge and a whole lot of hypocrisy. After all, the aftermath of a contentious divorce in which Ms. Weisselberg lost custody of her children hangs over her head, not to mention her post-divorce debt (more than $54,000 in unpaid rent). That shines a different light upon Jennifer Weisselberg’s “transparency.” How honest and transparent is benefiting from illicitly obtained goods/funds? Allen Weisselberg may be the one in the hot seat right now, but there are varied levels of guilt in all this, and as we will likely see going forward, more than one guilty party.

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

“The truth matters,” Jennifer Weisselberg told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “It’s so horrifying to think that Donald Trump could be president again, knowing that I know…there needs to be accountability.”

In a perfect world, Jennifer Weisselberg would have realized that accountability before, not after, the Manhattan District Attorney’s subpoena.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...