Trump must pay $2M for mis­use of vet­er­ans’ funds

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Stephen Rex Brown

NEW YORK — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump must pay $2 mil­lion for run­ning his Trump Foun­da­tion char­ity that trans­ferred money in­tended for vet­er­ans to his po­lit­i­cal cam­paign, a judge ruled Thurs­day.

Trump agreed to dis­solve the foun­da­tion in De­cem­ber as part of a deal with New York State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Leti­tia James, who al­leged the char­ity was used as an arm of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and a per­sonal piggy bank for the Trump fam­ily.

Man­hat­tan Supreme Court Jus­tice Saliann Scarpulla was left to de­ter­mine what penalty should be im­posed on Trump per­son­ally for his mis­use of the char­ity. She fo­cused on a Jan­uary 2016 fundraiser that Trump pro­moted as an event sup­port­ing vet­er­ans.

But $2.8 mil­lion raised at the event was ac­tu­ally given to the cam­paign. Trump and his cam­paign even­tu­ally gave that amount to vet­er­ans’ char­i­ties as ques­tions mounted about the fundraiser.

“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,” Scarpulla wrote.

“I di­rect Mr. Trump to pay the $2,000,000, which would have gone to the foun­da­tion if it were still in ex­is­tence.”

James noted that

Trump ad­mit­ted to per­son­ally mis­us­ing funds for the char­ity and now faces re­stric­tions on char­i­ta­ble en­deav­ors go­ing for­ward.

“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 said.

“No one is above the law — not a busi­ness­man, not a can­di­date for of­fice, and not even the Pres­i­dent of the United States.”

The $2 mil­lion will go to ap­proved char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Army Emer­gency Re­lief, Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety, City Meals-on-Wheels, United Ne­gro Col­lege Fund and the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­rial Mu­seum.

“We are pleased that the Court, in re­ject­ing the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s friv­o­lous re­quest for statu­tory penal­ties, in­ter­est and other dam­ages, rec­og­nized that ev­ery penny ever raised by the Trump Foun­da­tion has gone to help those most in need. Now that this mat­ter is con­cluded, the Trump Foun­da­tion is proud to make this ad­di­tional con­tri­bu­tion,” the Trump Foun­da­tion said in a state­ment.

Trump pre­vi­ously de­fended his char­ity — and took a shot at James’ pre­de­ces­sor, Eric Sch­nei­der­man.

“The Trump Foun­da­tion has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and oth­ers, to great char­i­ties over the years — with me tak­ing NO fees, rent, salaries etc.,” Trump tweeted last year.

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