Judge Orders Trump to Pay $2 Million for Charity Foundation Misuse
Nov 08 2019
President Trump has come under scrutiny about his charitable foundation's use of funds.
A NY state judge ordered President Donald Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit organizations in connection with a settlement with the NY state attorney general's office to resolve a civil lawsuit alleging the foundation unlawfully coordinated with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
In a statement, a Trump Foundation spokesperson said the foundation was "pleased to donate an additional $2 million" to those organizations.
He and his lawyers have blasted the lawsuit as politically motivated, and he tweeted, "I won't settle this case!" when it was filed in June 2018.
The state filed the lawsuit against the Trump Foundation in June 2018, and the settlement includes four stipulation agreements, the first of which was fulfilled when the Trump Foundation agreed to shut down in December 2018. "The court's decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain".
The Trump Foundation said after the ruling Thursday that money raised by the penalty will go to several charities, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the United Negro College Fund. She accused the foundation of a broad pattern of illegal activity, including improper political activities and "repeated and willful self-dealing transactions".
James also pushed for an order making Trump pay a statutory penalty of twice the amount of general damages, but the judge declined to do so.
Letitia James, the current NY attorney general, called the $2 million award and earlier settlement "a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain".
The White House did not immediately comment on the judgement.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla said Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Trump Foundation by allowing his campaign staff to plan a fundraiser for veterans' charities in the run-up to the 2016 Iowa caucuses. "The settlements also include mandatory training requirements for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump".
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has been scrutinizing the Trump Foundation for years.
"CREW first identified illegal behavior by the Trump [Foundation] when it gave an impermissible $25,000 political donation to support Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while her office was reportedly considering joining a New York Attorney General suit against the Trump University", Bookbinder noted.