After being accused of illegally misappropriating funds, Trump has agreed to dissolve his contentious charity.
Lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in restitution and penalties, and bans on Trump and his three oldest children (Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr.) from acting as a Director at any other New York charity, are ongoing.
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” New York Attorney-General Barbara Underwood said in a statement.
“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the foundation can only be dissolved under judicial supervision and is only authorised to distribute its remaining assets to organisations approved by the Attorney-General’s office. The foundation is expected to provide a list of intended recipients for approval in the next 30 days.
Per tax filings, the foundation had US$1.7 million of assets left at the end of 2017.
Trump Foundation shutting down amid allegations money used for personal benefit https://t.co/4GRHVDMZJu
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 18, 2018
Trump had previously blamed “sleazy” Democrats for the foundation’s legal woes
Trump had previously struck a defiant tone when discussing the legal proceedings and boasted he would not settle the case.
“The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…” he wrote on Twitter on 14 June.
The foundation had been accused of numerous instances of self-dealing that benefitted either Donald Trump personally or businesses under his control. Contentious payments included a sum of US$100,000 payment to settle a legal claim against Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and a US$158,000 settlement relating to his Trump National Golf Club’s hole-in-one tournament.
On another occasion, the Foundation allegedly used US$10,000 earmarked for charitable purposes to purchase a portrait of Donald Trump for one of his golf courses.
Trump Foundation shuts down amid lawsuit alleging a "shocking pattern of illegality" https://t.co/gnkK87TLaF
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 18, 2018
A 2016 fundraiser for veterans organisations has also come under scrutiny. The Attorney-General’s office alleges funds raised at the event were directed by Trump’s campaign staff. Under New York state law, charities are prohibited from participating in political events.
Underwood also accuses the foundation of providing “extensive support” to Trump’s 2016 campaign, including five grants of US$100,000 just ahead of the Iowa nominating caucuses.
The largest gift ever made by the foundation involved renovating a fountain outside Trump’s Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on the dissolution of the Trump Foundation. “That’s something that I would refer you to the Trump Organization,” she said.