Money Meant for Charity in Trump Foundation Instead Paid His Legal Disputes – Report
Politics| | By Jason Owen
The Donald Trump Foundation has faced a slew of recent criticism in the media and a new report on Tuesday from the Washington Post is fueling allegations the charity used funds totaling over $250,000 to illegally pay for the Republican candidate’s personal items and in some cases settle legal issues.
From the Post:
“Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.
“Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
“In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the height of a flagpole.
“In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.”
In another case, according to the Post, one of Trump’s New York golf courses agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the charity of the plaintiff’s choosing. The Trump Foundation sent a check of $158,000, according to tax records.
The Trump Foundation is already under investigation of whether it broke state charity laws by the New York attorney general’s office and the new evidence may show that “Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law,” wrote David A. Fahrenthold, author of the Post piece.
Outside of legal settlements, the Post‘s investigations found that Trump may have misused money from the charity to buy hotel advertisements as well as twice purchasing giant portraits of himself.
“In 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money on a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.
“Or, rather, another portrait of himself.
“Several years earlier, Trump used $20,000 from the Trump Foundation to buy a different, six-foot-tall portrait.”
One charity consultant says these new findings are “really shocking,” according to the Post.
“I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington, D.C.
“If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in awhile,” Tenenbaum said.
From the Post:
“The Post sent the Trump campaign a detailed list of questions about the four cases but received no response.
“The Trump campaign released a statement about this story late Tuesday that said it was “peppered with inaccuracies and omissions,” though the statement cited none and the campaign has still not responded to repeated requests for comment.”