Trump sued by New York AG

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Jen­nifer Peltz

New York’s at­tor­ney gen­eral has sued US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, three of his chil­dren, and his name­sake foun­da­tion, al­leg­ing “per­sis­tently il­le­gal con­duct” at then on-profit, in­clud­ing sup­port for his 2016 cam­paign. A state judge has been asked to dis­solve the Don­ald J Trump Foun­da­tion.

New York’ s at­tor­ney has sued US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, three of his chil­dren, and his name­sake foun­da­tion, al­leg­ing “per­sis­tently il­le­gal con­duct” at the non­profit, in­clud­ing sup­port for Mr Trump’s 2016 cam­paign.

Bar­bara Un­der­wood, the at­tor­ney gen­eral, asked a New York state judge to dis­solve the Don­ald J Trump Foun­da­tion, and im­pose bans on Mr Trump, his sons Don­ald Jr and Eric, and his daugh­ter from hold­ing lead­er­ship roles in New York char­i­ties.

It says the real estate ty­coon, elected pres­i­dent in 2016, used char­ity funds from the foun­da­tion to pay his le­gal bills, pro­mote his Trump-branded ho­tels, and for per­sonal spend­ing.

Ms Un­der­wood said her of­fice’ s 21- month in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­gun un­der her pre­de­ces­sor Eric Sch­nei­der man, uncovered“ex­ten­sive un­law­ful po­lit­i­cal co-or­di­na­tion” by the foun­da­tion with Mr Trump’s cam­paign, as well as “re­peated and will­ful self-deal­ing” to ben­e­fit Mr Trump’s per­sonal and busi­ness in­ter­ests.

Mr Trump at­tacked the law­suit in a se­ries of tweets that blamed Demo­cratic politi­cians in his home state.

“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,” tweeted Mr Trump. “I won’t set­tle this case!”

The Trump Foun­da­tion is­sued a state­ment crit­i­cis­ing the law­suit as “pol­i­tics at its very worst” and ac­cus­ing the at­tor­ney gen­eral of hold­ing its $1.7m (€1.4m) in re­main­ing funds “hostage for po­lit­i­cal gain”.

The law­suit adds to le­gal prob­lems af­fect­ing Mr Trump, in­clud­ing a probe by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller into whether Mr Trump’s 2016 cam­paign col­luded with Rus­sia. Mr Trump and Rus­sia have de­nied there was any col­lu­sion.

The law­suit filed in the state Supreme Court in Man­hat­tan is seek­ing $2.8m of resti­tu­tion plus penal­ties, a 10-year ban on Mr Trump serv­ing as a di­rec­tor of a New York non-profit, and one-year bans for his chil­dren.

“As our in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals, the Trump Foun­da­tion was lit­tle more than a cheque­book for pay­ments from Mr Trump or his busi­nesses to non-prof­its, re­gard­less of their pur­pose of le­gal­ity,” said Ms Un­der­wood.

“That is not how pri­vate foun­da­tions should func­tion.”

The foun­da­tion’s mis­sion says its funds are to be used “ex­clu­sively for char­i­ta­ble, re­li­gious, sci­en­tific, lit­er­ary, or ed­u­ca­tional pur­poses,” ei­ther di­rectly or through other or­gan­i­sa­tions, ac­cord­ing to the court fil­ing.

In keep­ing with fed­eral tax rules, the char­ity’s in­cor­po­ra­tion doc­u­ments say none of its re­sources can di­rectly or in­di­rectly go to the ben­e­fit of its di­rec­tors or of­fi­cers and none of its ac­tiv­i­ties can ben­e­fit any po­lit­i­cal can­di­date.

Mr Sch­nei­der­man be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing the foun­da­tion in 2016 fol­low­ing re­ports that its spend­ing per­son­ally ben­e­fited the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. Mr Sch­nei­der man or­dered the foun­da­tion to stop fundrais­ing in New York.

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