A New York state judge on Thursday ordered US President Donald Trump to pay USD two million in damages to nonprofit groups to resolve a lawsuit alleging he misused his own charitable foundation to further his political and business interests.
“Trump breached his fiduciary duty to the Foundation, including by allowing his campaign to orchestrate a televised fundraiser ostensibly for the foundation in Des Moines, Iowa, in January 2016, and allowing the campaign to direct the distribution of the money raised from that event to further Trump’s political campaign,” CNN quoted Judge Saliann Scarpulla as saying.
In her decision, however, the judge did not 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. She also declined to order Trump to pay punitive damages.
The order and settlement bring an end to questions that first arose during the 2016 campaign about whether the president had used the money raised under the guise of charitable work for political gain.
A civil lawsuit filed in June 2018 alleged that the President along with his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status.
In the agreements, Trump admitted to personally misusing Trump Foundation funds and agreed to reimburse $11,525 to the foundation for its payment of auction items at a charitable benefit and to comply with certain restrictions if he wants to join the board of another New York charity.
Trump said in a statement posted on his official Twitter page on Thursday night that “the New York Attorney General is deliberately mischaracterizing this settlement for political purposes” and that all money in the foundation has gone to charity.
“I am the only person I know, perhaps the only person in history, who can give major money to charity ($19M), charge no expense, and be attacked by the political hacks in New York State. No wonder why we are all leaving!” the statement read.
The settlement comes in the wake of an agreement by the foundation in December to dissolve under judicial supervision.
The list of nonprofits that the judge approved to receive Trump’s USD 2 million include the Army Emergency Relief, Children’s Aid Society, City Meals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, United Negro College Fund, United Way of Capital Area and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Those organisations will also receive equal portions of the charity’s remaining liquid assets, which total roughly USD1.8 million, according to the judge’s order.
(With ANI inputs)