Trump Ordered To Pay $2 Million For Charity Fraud
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”
A New York judge ordered on Thursday that President Trump pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging he misused his charitable foundation to benefit his 2016 presidential campaign, ending a year-long legal skirmish between the New York’s attorney general over the organization’s unlawful activity. The Trump Foundation will distribute its remaining funds to other non-profits, according to the Associated Press.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla found that over $2.8 million in Foundation funds were used for Trump’s campaign and distributed by his campaign staff.
“Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign,” said Scarpulla.
Scarpulla refrained from placing punitive damages on Trump for the alleged illegal behavior because he took actions to cooperate with the investigation. The judge also lowered the fine to $2 million in recognition that the foundation’s funds eventually got to their designated charities.
The Trump foundation agreed to shut down last December under judicial supervision after New York’s former Attorney General Barbara Underwood determined a “shocking pattern of illegality” in the charity during her investigation. President Trump railed against the “sleazy New York Democrats” and said “I won’t settle this case” in response to the civil suit last June.
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” Underwood alleged in a statement late last year.
The Associated Press notes that “Trump admitted to personally misusing Trump Foundation funds and agreed to pay back $11,525 in the organization’s funds he spent on sports memorabilia and champagne at a charity gala.” The president “also agreed to restrictions on his involvement in other charitable organizations,” as part of the settlement.
New York Attorney General Letitia celebrated the resolved suit, which also included three of Trump’s children, as a victory:
“The Trump Foundation has shut down, funds that were illegally misused are being restored, the president will be subject to ongoing supervision by my office, and the Trump children had to undergo compulsory training to ensure this type of illegal activity never takes place again.”
James called the resolution of the case as a “major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain.”
“No one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States,” said James,
The episode wasn’t the first time Trump settled with New York for fraud. Last year, the president reached a $25 million dollar settlement with the state for defrauding students enrolled at his for-profit college, Trump University.