Michael Cohen owes more than $280K in state taxes, records show

Posted at 3:52 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 15:52:50-04

(CNN) — President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, currently weathering a federal investigation, has owed New York more than $280,000 in unpaid taxes, an analysis of state records shows.

CNN identified 16 taxi medallion-holding companies owned by Cohen or members of his family. A CNN analysis of records of those companies — including Smoochie Cab Corp., Lady Laura Hacking Corp. and Mad Dog Cab Corp. — showed the companies had collectively accrued state warrants of $281,951.81 in unpaid taxes.

That total was reflected in the New York State Tax Warrant Notice System on Tuesday. Although a disclaimer on the site noted the report is not an official record, Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York Department of State, said the database is updated regularly and “a satisfied warrant is typically reflected on the DOS website within a day or two.”

CNN has reached out to Cohen for comment, and it is unclear if some of the debt has been paid. Nearly two-thirds of the back taxes are from last month.

Bloomberg, which first reportedon the outstanding taxes, said Cohen claims that he does not owe the taxes. Instead, the report said, Cohen claims Evgeny “Gene” Freidman is responsible for the payments.

Freidman, a millionaire known as New York’s “Taxi King,” has his own history of legal problems. He was indicted on state charges last year when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleged Freidman and others failed to pay $5 million in MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015. At the time, Friedman was the beneficial and managing owner of over 120 companies, New York state said.

Freidman has denied the allegations, and a trial is set for June 18.

“He maintains his innocence and will put the state to its proof at trial,” said Patrick Egan, an attorney for Freidman. “He did not intentionally evade any taxes.”

“With regard to Michael Cohen, Michael is a great friend and a wonderful client,” Freidman said through his attorney.

Sources familiar with the April raids by federal authorities on Cohen previously told CNN that the FBI search sought information on taxi owners who had dealings with Cohen.

The FBI raids sought information on payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and included a request for documents related to Cohen’s ownership of taxi medallions, sources told CNN last month.

Both Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal have alleged affairs with Trump that his spokespeople have denied. Daniels has ongoing litigation involving both Trump and Cohen, the latter of whom admitted to facilitating a payment to her, and McDougal reached a settlementlast month with American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer, after going public with her allegations of an extramarital relationship with Trump.