The attorney general of the state of New York on Thursday sued Donald Trump’s foundation, accusing the United States president and three of his children of using the nonprofit as a personal “checkbook” for their own benefit including his 2016 presidential campaign, Reuters reported.
Lawyer Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J Trump Foundation and to ban Trump, his sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, and his daughter Ivanka Trump from holding leadership roles in charities in the state. The 21-month investigation had started under Underwood’s predecessor Eric Schneiderman.
The foundation was used to curry political favours, according to the lawsuit, The New York Times reported. During the 2016 presidential race, the foundation allegedly functioned as a virtual arm of Trump’s campaign, with his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski directing its expenditures despite rules prohibiting charities from undertaking political activities. “Mr Trump ran the foundation according to his whim, rather than the law,” the lawsuit said.
Among the illegal transactions the lawsuit cited was a $10,000 (Rs 6.8 lakh) payment to the Unicorn Children’s Foundation for a portrait of the US president that was purchased at a fundraising auction in 2014, The Washington Post reported. It was later put up at one of Trump’s golf resorts in the city of Miami. The charity’s funds were also used to pay $100,000 (Rs 68 lakh) to another charity in 2007 to settle a legal dispute over a flagpole erected in violation of local ordinances at Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida.