New York State Tax Dept. reviewing claims about Trump in Times article

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By Phil Helsel  with NBC News Politics
Image: Donald Trump
Donald Trump stands next to one of his three Sikorsky helicopters at New York Port Authority's West 30 Street Heliport circa March 1988.   -  Copyright  Wilbur Funches AP file

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance says it is reviewing allegations made in a New York Times article about questionable tax schemes used by now-President Donald Trump in the 1990s.

The New York Times published an investigation on Tuesday that said Trump participated in dubious tax schemes, including instances of fraud, to increase the fortune left to him by his parents.

NBC News has not confirmed the allegations in the report, which the Times said was the result of a lengthy investigation into the Trump family's finances.

"The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," James Gazzale, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, said in an email to NBC News.

A lawyer for Trump, Charles Harder, in a statement said "The New York Times' allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100% false, and highly defamatory" and that "There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone." He said "the facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also disputed the article, and called the report a "misleading attack against the Trump family."

The Times reported that Trump received the equivalent of $413 million in today's dollars from the real estate empire of his father, Fred Trump, and the Times reported that "much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes."

Trump refused to the release his tax returns in the run up to the 2016 presidential election or after being elected, breaking with tradition.

Sanders on Tuesday said about the Times' report that "Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions" and accused the Times and other media outlets of being "consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news."

Trump has frequently called the media "fake news." At a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday, the president continued with attacks in that vein.