US President Donald Trump and his three eldest children have been sued by the New York Attorney General. The lawsuit has accused the members of the Trump family of illegally using charity money to settle disputes involving his business empire and to boost his political fortunes during his run for the White House.
US President Donald Trump is a polarizing figure in world politics. He has found himself being criticized for his actions and his statements in the past. He has been accused of sexism, misogyny, racism and more.
Prior to becoming a politician, Trump began his career as an entrepreneur and a real estate mogul. He took over his family’s real estate business and re-branded it as the Trump Organization. The organization built or renovated several skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, including licensing his name for real estate and consumer products. He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration as US President. Among his many businesses was the Trump University. It was a for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until 2010. It is now defunct after multiple lawsuits were filed against it. In 2011, the company became the subject of an inquiry by the New York Attorney General's office for illegal business practices. Despite repeatedly insisting that he would not settle, Trump settled all three lawsuits in November 2016 for a total of $25 million after being elected to the presidency.
Donald Trump established the Donald J. Trump Foundation in 1988 as a private foundation. It was founded to donate the proceeds from the book Trump: The Art of the Deal. It was meant as a charitable organization.
On June 14, 2018, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a scathing lawsuit against President Trump and his three eldest children, Donald, Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. The lawsuit alleges that the four individuals were involved in "persistently illegal conduct". She ordered the charity dissolved and demanded $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.
“The foundation’s grants made Mr. Trump and the campaign look charitable and increased the candidate’s profile to Republican primary voters and among important constituent groups,” Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s lawsuit said. The lawsuit alleges that the Trump Foundation board “existed in name only,” abjectly failing to fulfil its responsibilities to oversee the charity. The board hadn’t met since 1999 — nearly two decades ago. It also alleges that in 2016 the foundation’s board “knowingly permitted the Foundation to be co-opted” by Trump’s presidential campaign. It has also been accused of making improper campaign contributions.
"This is politics at its very worst," a Trump Foundation representative said in a statement. "The Foundation has donated over $19 million to worthy charitable causes - more than it even received. The President himself -- or through his companies -- has contributed more than $8 million. The reason the Foundation was able to donate more than it took in is because it had little to no expenses. This is unheard of for a charitable foundation. The Foundation currently has $1.7 million remaining which the NYAG has been holding hostage for political gain. This is unconscionable – particularly because the Foundation previously announced its intention to dissolve more than a year and a half ago…The acting NYAG's recent statement that battling the White House is 'the most important work (she) have ever done' shows that such political attacks will continue unabated."
President Trump himself took to Twitter and alleged that the lawsuit was the work of “sleazy” Democrats. "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 said in one tweet.
Our assessment is that the lawsuit is the latest in President Trump’s legal woes. His campaign is already being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and reports note that his personal attorney Michael Cohen might flip on the President and begin cooperating with the Special Counsel office. In addition, he is also fighting a First Amendment legal battle against citizens who have been blocked by him on Twitter. If the Trump Foundation loses this case or even settles it, the President and his children will have to deal with the legal ramifications.