Dean James at Right Wing Tribune
The New York Attorney General’s office announced Thursday that a judge has ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages for improper use of funds at the Trump Foundation in connection with the 2016 presidential primaries and his own political purposes, as part of a lawsuit Trump and the foundation settled with state Attorney General Letitia James, Fox News reports.
James’ office had requested $2.8 million in restitution and a $5.6 million penalty, but Judge Saliann Scarpulla decided $2 million was a more reasonable restitution amount and declined to issue a penalty.
New York Judge Saliann Scarpulla accused the president of breaching his obligation to the Donald J. Trump Foundation nonprofit by allowing his campaign staff to plan a fundraiser for veterans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses, thus giving his actions political motive, The Associated Press reported citing the judge’s declaration.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports that the declaration also says Trump failed to properly “administer Foundation assets” and made “wrongful related party transactions.”
A judge orders President Trump to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging he misused his charitable foundation to further his political and business interests. The judge also agreed on a deal to close the Trump Foundation, distribute remaining funds. https://t.co/WkXcGzRYHf
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 7, 2019
Scarpulla said Trump’s lawyers initially attempted to dismiss his petition but later “set out to consensually resolve this proceeding” at his “urging” over “several months,” the declaration reads.
Trump’s lawyers agreed to distribute $1.8 million in remaining assets from the Trump Foundation, as well as $2 million from Trump personally, to eight different charities, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The charities include the Army Emergency Relief, Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, United Negro College Fund, United Way of National Capital Area and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, WSJ reported.
“Since its inception in 1987, the Trump Foundation has distributed over $19 million to hundreds of worthwhile charities with little to no expenses,” a spokesperson for the Trump Foundation said, according to WSJ. “More than $9 million came directly from President Trump.”
Trump also agreed to pay back $11,525 that was spent on champagne and sports memorabilia at a charity gala and agreed to have less involvement in other charities in the future, AP reported.
Trump said in a December 2016 statement that the charity had done “enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups,” but he was planning to close the foundation to “avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president.”
In a statement, a Trump Foundation spokesperson said the foundation was “pleased to donate an additional $2 million” to those organizations.
“Following the 2016 presidential election, the Trump Foundation publicly announced its intention to voluntarily dissolve and distribute all of its remaining funds to charity,” the statement said.
It continued: “Unfortunately, that donation was delayed due to the Attorney General’s politically motivated lawsuit. 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.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, called the decision a “major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain,” adding that “no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States,” according to AP.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune