Trump’s charity to be dissolved over legal battle

New York attorney general wants president barred from running other charities

Donald Trump presents a mock check from the Trump Foundation. Photograph: Rick Wilking/File Photo/Reuters

Donald Trump presents a mock check from the Trump Foundation. Photograph: Rick Wilking/File Photo/Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump’s namesake charitable foundation has agreed to dissolve under court supervision, partially resolving a New York state lawsuit claiming he misused it to advance his 2016 presidential campaign and his businesses, the state attorney general said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit against the Donald J Trump Foundation also seeks to recoup $2.8 million (€2.5 million) and ban Mr Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity.

The agreement, which must be approved by a New York state judge, would give state attorney general Barbara Underwood the power to vet the charities that receive the foundation’s remaining assets.

Ms Underwood said in a statement that the foundation had served as “little more than a chequebook to serve Mr Trump’s business and political interests”, and called the agreement “an important victory for the rule of law”.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trumps, responded in a statement that the lawsuit had delayed the foundation’s plan to dissolve after Mr Trump won the US presidential election in November 2016.

He added that over the past decade, the foundation had distributed about $19 million, including $8.25 million of Trump’s personal money, to more than 700 charitable organisations.

Mr Trump has previously said on Twitter that Ms Underwood’s lawsuit was a concoction by “sleazy New York Democrats”. In their motion to dismiss the case, the Trumps said it reflected Ms Underwood’s “pervasive bias” against them.

The new agreement came less than a month after Justice Saliann Scarpulla of the New York State supreme court in Manhattan rejected the motion to dismiss.

The motion had argued that the US constitution immunised Mr Trump from Ms Underwood’s claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty, improper self-dealing, and misuse of assets belonging to the foundation.

Ms Underwood sued Mr Trump and his adult children Donald jnr, Eric and Ivanka on June 14th, after a 21-month probe that she said uncovered “extensive unlawful political co-ordination” between the foundation and Mr Trump’s campaign.

Ms Underwood alleged, among other things, that Mr Trump wrongly ceded control to his campaign of about $2.8 million donated to the foundation in a 2016 Iowa fundraiser for military veterans.

Other challenged expenses included $100,000 to settle a dispute involving Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and $10,000 for a portrait of Mr Trump that was later hung at one of his golf clubs. – Reuters