Sat, Apr 13, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Trump sister Barry retires, neutralizing ethics complaints

AP, NEW YORK

US President Donald Trump’s eldest sister has retired as a federal appellate judge in Philadelphia, ending a civil misconduct inquiry launched after a report that she participated in Trump family schemes to dodge taxes.

The retirement of Maryanne Trump Barry was revealed in an order signed on Monday last week by a top court official in New York, where the misconduct case was assigned to prevent conflicts of interest for judges who knew Barry.

A judicial panel began the review in response to four citizen complaints filed in October last year after the New York Times published a story alleging that the president and his siblings evaded inheritance taxes.

The order said that Barry’s voluntary retirement on Feb. 11 ends the review stemming from claims based on the news article alleging that Barry might have committed misconduct relating to tax and financial transactions that occurred mostly in the 1980s and 1990s.

The complaint process was meant to correct conditions interfering with the “effective and expeditious” administration of court business, the order said.

The resignation meant that Barry can no longer perform any judicial duties and thus can no longer be investigated, it added.

Barry, 82, was not identified by name in the order, but the facts matched her circumstances and a copy of the order was sent to Scott Shuchart, an attorney who filed one of the complaints and had been promised by the court to be kept updated on its progress.

Shuchart said that he was “absolutely disappointed” that Barry was able to end scrutiny of her actions by retiring.

“If the Times story is correct, then she participated in a decades-long multimillion-dollar tax fraud. That should be an impeachable offense. She gets her full salary,” Shuchart said.

“I think it’s appalling that we’re continuing to pay this criminal and that she now has completely avoided consequence,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

With a recently approved retroactive pay raise for federal appellate judges, Barry is to receive US$223,700 annually in retirement.

Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia released a statement calling Barry a “judicial giant” whose 36 years as a judge in the Philadelphia federal courts were “beyond exemplary.”

“Judge Barry was a very hardworking jurist with a sharp mind, keen instincts and a quick wit. She was a role model for women in the law, and she took that responsibility seriously,” Smith said.

Judge Theodore McKee, another of Barry’s Third Circuit colleagues, told reporters that Barry was a meticulous judge who protected the court’s reputation.

The 15,000-word New York Times report said that Trump’s father, Fred Trump, transferred ownership of most of his real-estate empire to his four living children before he died in the late 1990s.

The newspaper’s investigation, based in part on more than 100,000 pages of financial documents, including confidential tax returns from Fred Trump and his companies, concluded that the value of the properties was vastly understated when they were reported as US$41.4 million.

The properties were later sold over the next decade for more than 16 times that amount, it said.

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