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NY Attorney General Asking for $5.6 Million Fine Against Trump Foundation
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18 Mar 2019 11:45 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Letitia James (Image source: Screenshot)



New York Attorney General Letitia James threw yet another hammer down on Donald Trump. Last week she initiated an investigation into some of his financial deals, and this time she is suggesting the Trump Foundation should be fined an additional $5.6 million, on top of a previous retribution, for spending money from the charity on the president's personal and business needs, as well as the campaign. This is money that is tax free.  

Not that the foundation is operational anymore anyway. Last year James' predecessor, former Attorney General Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit against the charity. The foundation was ordered to pay $2.8 million restitution for misuse of charity funds. The three oldest Trump children — Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. — agreed to dissolve the foundation and grated the attorney general's office oversight of disbursement of the remaining $1.7 million in funds.


The family provided no evidence that refuted the state's claims that they never met as a board, didn't oversee expenditures, or establish policies to protect the charity's funds from abuse, according to James when she filed papers in the case last week that is still ongoing. The $5.6 million she's asking for will be on top of the $2.8 million previously requested. 

"In this vacuum of oversight and diligence, Mr. Trump caused the foundation to enter repeatedly into self-dealing transactions and to coordinate unlawfully with his presidential campaign," she stated.


Underwood had said at the time that investigators had found a "shocking pattern of illegality" and that the Trump Foundation had operated as "little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump's business and political interests." 

Among multiple examples of illegal use of charity funds by Trump, the lawsuit claims there was a $100,000 payment to settle legal claims for an 80-foot flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago estate. He also spent $10,000 in charity funds on the 6-foot portrait of himself that hangs at his Doral, Florida, golf resort, and there was a $25,000 contribution in 2013 to help re-elect Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who decided not to file a fraud lawsuit against Trump University.


The lawsuit claims representatives of the Trump campaign and the charity worked on a plan to illegally use foundation money to help him get elected. As an example, money that was raised by the foundation to benefit veterans was given to specific organizations at specific times "to influence" the election. Foundation checks were printed with the Trump campaign logo. 

The lawsuit is also requesting a 10-year ban on Trump being on the board of any New York non-profit. Late last year he dismissed the lawsuit against the charity as being politically motivated.


"In any event, it goes on and on, and the new AG, who is now being replaced by yet another AG (who openly campaigned on a GET TRUMP agenda), does little else but rant, rave, and politic against me," he tweeted. "Will never be treated fairly by these people — a total double standard of 'justice.' " 

This is all in additional to the subpoenas that James issued to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank asking to see records that were linked to four Trump Organization real estate projects and Trump's failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills football team five years ago.

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