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Trump's accountant has an LI connection

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017 file

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2017 file photo, Allen Weisselberg, center, is seen between President-elect Donald Trump, left, and Donald Trump Jr., at a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen mentioned Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer, several times in his public House Oversight testimony, linking him to hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had an affair with Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Credit: AP/Evan Vucci

Daily Point

Switch hitter

Of course, the mystery man of the moment has a Long Island connection. Doesn’t everyone?

Allen Weisselberg is the quiet accountant, the long-time keeper of the secrets about Donald Trump’s money. He is now well known to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and soon his face will be as familiar as Michael Cohen’s. The 71-year-old Weisselberg is expected to testify before various congressional committees investigating the president. And his accent likely will mimic Cohen’s mashup of outer borough and Long Island twang.

Weisselberg started working for Fred Trump in 1973, and five years later had earned enough to make a down payment on a modest ranch in Wantagh, where he and his wife, Hilary, raised two sons. In 2002, the couple bought a vacation home in Boynton Beach, Florida.

In 2013, the couple sold the ranch for $468,000 and moved into a high floor of an Upper West Side luxury apartment building with sweeping vistas. It was part of the enormous development once known as Trump Place. (Condo owners voted to take down the name two years ago.)

But their address is not the only thing that changed when the Weisselbergs moved from the Island to New York City.

A search of Nassau County voter-registration records shows that both Weisselbergs registered as Democrats in 1982, at a time when Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead could not have been any more Republican. Spotty voters, they cast ballots in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections but sat out the next two.

By 2013, the Weisselbergs lived in a Manhattan Democratic stronghold on the Upper West Side  and neither of them registered to vote until May 10, 2016 -- seven days after the Republican National Committee declared Trump the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

And the Weisselbergs’ party registration: Republican.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Can sports betting beat the odds in NY?

It looks like legalized sports betting in New York could be crossing the finish line sooner than it had appeared if a predicted change of heart by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo materializes in this legislative session.

The chairs of the Senate and Assembly gambling committees want to legalize statewide betting on sports, particularly via mobile devices, and both say they have the votes of lawmakers to do it.

Cuomo has argued that a new constitutional amendment is needed, a process that could take three years. Voters amended the state constitution in 2013 to set the stage for sports betting in New York if and when the federal ban was struck down. The U.S. Supreme Court did so last spring but Cuomo took a very narrow view of the new opportunity, arguing that only wagers placed in upstate casinos are now permitted. Any further expansion, Cuomo told Newsday’s editorial board a few weeks ago, would require a new constitutional amendment.

But during a panel discussion Friday at the Cardozo Sports Law Symposium, Assemb. Gary Pretlow, the Mt. Vernon Democrat who chairs the Committee on Racing and Wagering, said: “I have it on good authority that the governor has backed away from his argument that mobile wagering is unconstitutional, as have [budget director] Robert Mujica and [acting executive director of the State Gaming Commission] Ron Williams.”

The gambling community argues that mobile wagering on sports would be legalregulati, if the computer servers that process the bets are physically located at an upstate casino. The fact that account holders with NYRABETS and the state’s five regional off-track betting authorities can already bet through mobile accounts certainly bolsters that argument.

If Cuomo changes his reading of the law, that means sports betting could be on the fast track. Stacey Rowland, general counsel for Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady, said her casino would be taking bets the day after regulations were approved, and that could be as early as June.

But if Cuomo has reversed course, he’s not ready to show his cards. Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Cuomo, told The Point,  “We have constitutional concerns on this issue that we have raised for nearly a year and it is patently false to characterize any recent discussions as a change of position.”

That’s called hedging your bets.

Lane Filler

Pencil Point

 

From one con to another

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Final Point

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Michael Cusanelli

Columns