The New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, accusing him of using his charitable foundation to pay off legal fees and boost his 2016 presidential campaign.
Attorney Barbara Underwood seeks to dissolve Trump’s charitable foundation and keep Trump family members from serving as directors of nonprofit organizations in the future. She also wants the charity’s remaining $1 million in assets to be given to other charities and for Trump to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.
“The Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” she said. “This is not how private foundations should function.”
Trump’s three oldest children are also named in the lawsuit because they were board members of the foundation for many years and were required to report any misuse of charity money.
“The Foundation’s directors failed to meet basic fiduciary duties and abdicated all responsibility for ensuring that the Foundation’s assets were used in compliance with the law,” Underwood wrote in the lawsuit.
Underwood said there was no oversight of Trump’s use of the foundation money, so he frequently used it to benefit his businesses and himself.
For example, in 2012, a Trump golf club agreed to settle a lawsuit with a man who was denied a $1 million hole-in-one-prize during a tournament for $158,000. The Trump Foundation paid the money instead of the club.
There were several other occurrences where Trump used the foundation money to help his businesses. This included paying $5,000 to place an ad for Trump hotels and $32,000 to satisfy a responsibility of a Trump company that manages a New York estate.
Underwood claims that Trump’s staff members blamed confusion among accounting clerks for the foundation’s misuse of the money instead of on Trump.
When President Trump found out about the lawsuit, he quickly took to Twitter to voice his thoughts. He wrote, the sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G., Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000.”