Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

New York AG sues Trump Foundation over 'persistent illegal conduct'

New York AG sues Trump Foundation over 'persistent illegal conduct'

New York's attorney general announced on Thursday she was suing the Trump Foundation, as well as Donald Trump and his children, alleging "extensive and persistent" lawbreaking.

"The foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization", Underwood said in a 41-page complaint filed in NY state court in Manhattan. The suit seeks $2.8 million in restitution and the dissolution of the foundation. Trump allegedly used the Donald J. Trump Foundation to pay off creditors, settle legal disputes for his businesses, and, in one case, buy a $10,000 portrait of himself.

The directors of the foundation named in the suit are President Trump and three of his children: Donald J. Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

"The Trump Foundation also entered into at least five self-dealing transactions that were unlawful because they benefitted Mr Trump or businesses he controls", the attorney general's office added.

Underwood was only recently promoted to the position of attorney general after Eric Schneiderman resigned amid allegations that he had physically abused several romantic partners.

A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation
A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation

Underwood said a 20-month investigation found that Trump repeatedly violated laws that set the ground rules for tax-exempt foundations - most importantly, that their money is meant to serve the public good, and not to provide private benefits to their founders.

Shortly before his inauguration, Trump settled a fraud case brought against Trump University by the state attorney general's office, then run by Eric Schneiderman, for $25m.

The statement went on: "The prior NYAG, who was recently forced to resign from office in disgrace, made it his stated mission to use this matter to not only advance his own political goals, but also for his own political fundraising". She's seeking to ban Trump from serving as a director of a NY not-for-profit for 10 years. Underwood also sent referral letters to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission identifying possible violations of federal law for the departments to investigate.

Prosecutors also want to bar Trump's three eldest children from the boards of nonprofits based in NY or that operate in NY for one year.

Trump has already paid more than $330,000 in reimbursements and penalty taxes, Underwood said in the suit.

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