Ex-Trump Organization executive Jeffrey McConney chokes up on stand at fraud trial, says he’s “very proud” of work

Asked by his own lawyer Tuesday why he retired from the Trump Organization after nearly 40 years, the company’s former controller, Jeffrey McConney, appeared to choke up. 

He left the company he “loved” because of all the investigations that have zeroed in on it, McConney said on the stand at the ongoing civil fraud trial in New York.

“I’m very proud of the work I did for 35 years,” McConney said before listing several agencies that have subpoenaed him in recent years, including federal investigators from the Southern District of New York and the state’s attorney general. He also described testifying before a grand jury, though he neglected to mention days of witness testimony in the company’s 2022 criminal fraud trial.

McConney is a defendant in the state’s civil suit accusing him and his co-defendants — former President Donald Trump, two of Trump’s sons and the Trump Organization itself — of a fraud scheme that lasted a decade and led to $250 million in benefits. McConney retired in February.

“I just wanted to relax, and stop being accused of misrepresenting assets for the company that I loved working for,” he said, when his attorney asked about his retirement.

An artist's sketch shows Jeff McConney being questioned by a defense attorney at the Trump civil fraud trial in New York on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.
An artist’s sketch shows Jeff McConney being questioned by a defense attorney at the Trump civil fraud trial in New York on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.

Jane Rosenberg

The Trumps and their company have blamed their accountants for any alleged misrepresentations of Trump’s net worth and the value of their properties, figures that the judge in the case has already determined were fraudulent. McConney described their lead outside accountant as a “friend.”

“When I worked with Mr. Bender of Mazars, it was like working with family,” he said, describing regularly meeting him for meals during their decades-long business relationship. He said he regarded the company similarly.

“The Trump Organization was the same family setting,” McConney said. “It was a little different, we didn’t go out to lunch together, but you’d see them get married, start a family.”

“I feel proud of what I did, I feel justified. Numbers don’t represent fully what these assets are worth,” said McConney.

During the first day of his testimony Monday, McConney was shown paragraphs from the financial statements related to generally accepted accounting principles and valuation methodologies. He said Bender’s accounting firm was responsible for those paragraphs.

Under cross-examination by the state on Tuesday, he was shown several examples in which his handwritten notes were incorporated into the paragraphs, and asked if it was correct to attribute them to the accountants.

“My recollection was incorrect,” McConney said, referring to his prior testimony.

McConney and the Trumps have denied committing fraud in the case. Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, has accused James, a Democrat, of pursuing him and his company for political benefit.

The trial, which began Oct. 2, is expected to continue through mid-December.

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