Donald Trump must pay $2 million for misusing namesake charity

A New York state judge on Thursday ordered U.S. President Donald Trump to pay two million U.S. dollars for misusing his namesake charitable foundation, resulting in funds being used to advance his 2016 presidential campaign.

Justice Saliann Scarpulla, of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, directed the payment to eight non-profits, in connection with a lawsuit by the state's attorney general against the president and three of his adult children over the now-dissolved Donald J. Trump Foundation.

President Trump defended the charity in a statement on Twitter, saying the New York Attorney General was "deliberately mischaracterizing this settlement for political purposes."

Screenshot from Trump's twitter handle

Screenshot from Trump's twitter handle

The judge, however, didn't impose one of the outcomes the attorney general's office sought: a ban on Trump and his children serving on the board of any other New York nonprofit. A spokesman for the Trump Foundation said it was pleased with the court's rejection.

The attorney general, Letitia James, said her office had also reached agreements with the foundation and its directors to end the June 2018 lawsuit, which was filed by her predecessor, Barbara Underwood.

James said Trump admitted to "personally misusing funds at the Trump Foundation," which agreed last December to dissolve, and accepted limits on his activities if he created a new charity. James also said Trump's children - Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka - agreed to "mandatory training" on the duties of charity officials.

Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and President Donald Trump attend the ground breaking of the Trump International Hotel in 2014. /Reuters Photo

Eric, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and President Donald Trump attend the ground breaking of the Trump International Hotel in 2014. /Reuters Photo

"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," James said in a statement.

Underwood had filed the suit after a 21-month probe that she said uncovered "extensive unlawful political coordination" between the Trump Foundation and Trump's campaign. The lawsuit sought to recoup 2.82 million U.S. dollars donated to the foundation in a 2016 Iowa fundraiser for military veterans, but which Underwood said Trump allowed his campaign to control.

The judge said that because the money ultimately went to support veterans, Trump should pay just two million U.S. dollars, without interest, rather than the entire 2.82 million U.S. dollars.

Source(s): Reuters