Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:03:23 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Trump ordered to pay $2 m to charities over misuse of foundation: Court documents say

photo by

Trump shut down his Donald J. Trump Foundation, the subject of a lawsuit alleging Trump used the charity\'s money for personal and political gain.

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

The Washington Post :
A New York judge on Thursday ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages for misusing funds from a tax-exempt charity - taking the charity's money to pay debts for his for-profit businesses, to boost his 2016 campaign and to buy a painting of himself, according to court documents.
That order, from state Judge Saliann Scarpulla, settled a lawsuit filed against Trump last year by the New York attorney general.
It marked an extraordinary moment: The president of the United States acknowledged in a court filing that he had failed to follow basic laws about how charities should be governed. Previously, Trump had insisted the charity was run properly and the suit was a partisan sham.
"Mr. Trump owed fiduciary duties to the Foundation," Scarpulla wrote in the order, meaning duties to safeguard the foundation's money. "Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation."
But in a statement tweeted out late Thursday, Trump seemed to play down the settlement he had just agreed to - saying, in spite of the failures he had just acknowledged, that the foundation's money was spent properly and the lawsuit was politically motivated.
"All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes," he wrote.
The June 2018 lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) was based largely on information first uncovered by The Washington Post. It alleged "persistently illegal conduct" at the Donald J. Trump Foundation, where Trump served as president since 1987.   
As part of the settlement, Trump also agreed to disburse the $1.8 million remaining in the foundation to a set of charities, and to shutter it for good. In a statement signed by Trump's attorney, the president admitted to poor oversight of the charity.
James had asked Scarpulla to make Trump pay $2.8 million plus more in punitive damages, but Scarpulla said she was reducing that payment to $2 million.
The reason: The president had agreed to submit to extra monitoring of any future charitable activities in New York, so that "the conduct which engendered this petition should not occur in the future," the judge said.
If Trump does ever join a charity board - or starts a new charity of his own - the charity must fill a majority of board seats with people who have no relationship to Trump. It also must hire a qualified attorney, submit to audits and agree never to pay Trump or his company for any services.
Philip Hackney, a former IRS lawyer who now teaches charity law at the University of Pittsburgh, said that was a striking limitation for a state to place on a sitting president of the United States.
"That's a pretty significant statement about a lack of trust of the president's capabilities," Hackney said, given that Trump is - in most other respects - one of the most powerful people on Earth. "It's truly astounding."
In his own statement, Trump's attorney, Alan Futerfas, attacked James's lawsuit as "politically motivated," even as Trump admitted to many of James' allegations.
"Now that this matter is concluded, the Trump Foundation is proud to make this additional contribution," Futerfas said, meaning the $2 million in damages. In all, $3.8 million will go to eight charities: Army Emergency Relief, the Children's Aid Society, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha's Table, the United Negro College Fund, United Way of the National Capital Area and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Trump and his business have already repaid the foundation about $338,000 since The Post began its reporting on the Trump Foundation, to reimburse the charity for various improper expenditures.
Trump's three eldest children - Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric - were also named in the original lawsuit, because they were listed as board members at the foundation. In reality, the board did not meet at all for 19 straight years, from 1999 to 2018. The three Trump children were required to take an "in-person interactive" training class in how to be better board members, and the suit against them was dismissed, court documents say.
"The president and his family engaged in persistent violations of the law," James said in an interview with The Post on Thursday. She said this was one of the larger charity cases her office had worked on in recent years.
"Hopefully this will serve as a lesson to anyone that no one is above the law .?.?. not even the president of the United States," James said. In the 2018 lawsuit, the attorney general's office had originally sought to ban Trump from serving on any charity board in New York. The president avoided that ban by agreeing to the close monitoring if he ever returned to charity leadership in New York.
The Trump Foundation had been a relatively small charity that in recent years had received very little in donations from Trump himself. He donated nothing from 2009 to 2015. Instead, the foundation subsisted largely on a gift from pro-wrestling moguls Vince and Linda McMahon: $5 million in total. Linda McMahon was later appointed by Trump as head of the Small Business Administration.
The foundation's troubles were first uncovered in 2016 - starting when a Post reporter attended a Trump campaign rally in Waterloo, Iowa. Onstage, Trump gave away a $100,000 check from the Trump Foundation to a local charity.
Federal law prohibits charities' money from "participating" in political campaigns.
In addition, The Post found that Trump had used the charity's money to make a $25,000 donation to a political committee associated with then-Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi ®. Charities are prohibited from making political gifts. The Post also found that Trump had taken more than $250,000 from the charity to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses. And Trump had used the charity to buy things for himself, including a helmet signed by former pro football player Tim Tebow, and a large painting of himself that was later hung on the wall of Trump's Doral golf resort in Miami. At the time, a Trump campaign spokesman named Boris Epshteyn said the arrangement regarding the painting was proper.
Doral, he said, was actually doing the Trump Foundation a favor by storing the charity's art collection on its wall.  "Right, of course, he's doing a good thing for his foundation," Epshteyn said then. The court did not agree.
All of these incidents - the donation at the Iowa fundraiser, the donation to Bondi, the helmet and the painting - were cited in the settlement as examples of improper spending.
After its investigation, the attorney general's office alleged that Trump had effectively treated the foundation as a personal checkbook - without taking care to follow the laws governing charity spending. In fact, the foundation had spent only $163 on legal fees from 2001 to 2016.
In an interview with Allen Weisselberg - a Trump Organization executive who was listed as the foundation's treasurer - Weisselberg said he had no idea he was even on the board, according to the state's lawsuit.
When state investigators asked about the foundation's policies for handing out grants, Weisselberg said, "There's no policy, just so you understand."
Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a professor of charity law at Notre Dame, said in an interview Thursday that Trump had broken one of the most basic rules of charities. Money put into a charity must be used for charitable purposes, even if the charity has your name on it.
"It doesn't matter if you're in charge of the charity. It's the charity's money, not yours," Mayer said.

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Food Safety Authority should be more active to root out prime causes of making foods toxic

BANGLADESH Food Safety Authority has found heavy metal presence in 63 samples of pesticide out of 67 tested recently. Some of the pesticides contained one milligram of heavy metal or even more per kilogram or per litre.  Some samples contained all of the three heavy metals: cadmium, chromium and lead. ...

Business & Economy »

Ziaul Hasan Siddique, Chairman of Sonali Bank Limited, presiding over its opening ceremony of a foundation course for newly appinted Senior Officer/Officer at the bank's Staff College in the city recently. Begum Masuma Akter, Principal of the college while DGM, AGM and other senior officials of the bank were also present.

City »

Eminent writer Emdadul Haque Milon giving autograph to children at the Ekushey Book Fair in the city's Suhrawardy Udyan on Tuesday.

City »

Army Chief General Aziz Ahmed speaking at the Regimental Colour awarding ceremony held at the 19 Infantry Division in Ghatail Cantonment on Tuesday.

Entertainment »

Guilty trailer: Sneak peek of Kiara Advani's Netflix film is bleh

The trailer of Netflix film Guilty is out, and by the looks of it, the movie lacks the punch of a thriller. The characters also lack the intrigue which is needed for a movie like this.Kiara Advani is Nanki - a rebellious, silver-haired songwriter who is part of a popular ...

Entertainment »

Tapas Pal passes away

The veteran actor in West Bengal Tapas Paul has passed away of cardiac arrest early Tuesday. He was 61.Recently, he had gone to Mumbai to visit his daughter. During his return to Kolkata, he complained of chest pain at the Mumbai airport and was rushed to a hospital in Juhu ...

International »

Iran sentences alleged US spies to 10 years in prison

AP, Tehran :Iran sentenced eight environmental activists, including an Iranian who reportedly also has British and American citizenship, to prison sentences ranging from four to 10 years on charges of spying for the United States and acting against Iran's national security, the judiciary said Tuesday.According to the judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein ...

International »

UK Govt adviser quits over race comments

An adviser in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office resigned on Monday after online comments resurfaced where he linked intellect to race and seemed to advocate a eugenics policy.Andrew Sabisky once suggested that black Americans had a lower average intelligence than white Americans.He also said in a 2014 web post ...

Sports »

Virat Kohli becomes first Indian with 50 million Instagram followers

LANS :Virat Kohli has become the first person from India to have 50 million followers on Instagram.The captain of the Indian men's cricket team is regarded as one of the best batsmen in the current generation. He has so far 930 posts on the picture-sharing website and is following 480 ...

Football »

Gary Neville expects Manchester City to win appeal against 'hopeless' UEFA

Gary Neville has backed Manchester City to win an appeal against a two-season ban from European competition imposed by a "hopeless" UEFA.European football's governing body announced on Friday that City has been banned from continental competition for two seasons for what UEFA said were "serious" financial fair-play breaches between 2012 ...

Entertainment »

Ankhi’s new song Tomar-e Karoney

Entertainment Report :On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, popular singer Ankhi Alamgir’s new song titled Tomar-e Karoney was released on a YouTube channel recently. Anurup Aich wrote lyrics of the song while tune was composed by Fabir Tonmoy. Shahriar Rafat has arranged music of the song. Ankhi informed that there ...

Editorial »

Massive awareness programmes needed to prevent Coronavirus

TO prevent spread of the coronavirus, Bangladesh Police Headquarters recently  issued a letter instructing all police units in the country to ensure the availability of hand-washing or sanitising facilities on their premises. According to a media report, the letter signed last week by Assistant Inspector General (Health and Education) also ...

Football »

Nicolas Pepe (centre) celebrates Arsenal's second goal in a 4-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday.

Football »

Tarafder Ruhul Amin not to compete in BFF election

In a surprise decision, renowned sports organizer Tarafder M Ruhul Amin has backed down from competing for the hot seat of the President of Bangladesh Football Federation ( BFF) just two months before the election.Tarafder, who announced his intention to run for the post two years back, made the surprise ...

International »

Trump asks Russia to stop backing Syrian ‘atrocities’

PTI, Washington :President Donald Trump has called for Russia to end its support for the Syrian regime's "atrocities" as he expressed US concern over violence in the Idlib region, the White House said.In a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump "expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news