Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $2m to several nonprofit organisations after using the foundation that bears his name as his personal “chequebook”.
A judge has sided with a lawsuit that alleged Mr Trump and his three eldest children — Ivanka, Donald Jr and Eric Trump — had made “persistent” violations of federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the tax exempt status of the Donald J Trump Foundation by using it as “little more than a chequebook” to serve Mr Trump and his business and political interests, according to the suit.
Mr Trump himself must pay the $2m judgment.
In June 2018, the New York Attorney General’s office led a lawsuit alleging Mr Trump’s self-dealing following a fundraiser for military veterans during his 2016 campaign. The lawsuit sought $2.8m in restitution plus damages and a ban on Mr Trump and his children from serving with any other nonprofit groups in the state.
The foundation had agreed to cease its operations and dissolved late last year.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla established that “Mr. Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation and that waste occurred to the Foundation.”Last year, the president said on Twitter that he “won’t settle” the case and called it a political attack from “sleazy” New York Democrats.
Judge Scarpulla repeatedly rejected Mr Trump’s attempts to dismiss the case.
In a statement New York Attorney General Letitia James said “the president will be subject to ongoing supervision” by the Attorney General’s office after Mr Trump admitted to using the foundation for other self-dealings and campaign contributions.
“The court’s decision, together with the settlements we negotiated, are a major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain”, she said. “My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States.”
The judgment is the fourth stipulation agreement between the Trump family and the New York Attorney General’s office. The foundation’s remaining assets must be delivered to organisations without ties to Mr Trump, and the Trump family is subject to “compulsory training to ensure this type of illegal activity never takes place again.”
The latest settlement and the remaining assets will support Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of National Capital Area, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Source – independent.co.uk