New York sues Trump for ‘illegal conduct,’ seeks to dissolve his charity
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New York sues Trump for ‘illegal conduct,’ seeks to dissolve his charity

Trump Foundation was 'little more than a checkbook for payments,' persistently benefited president and his campaign, says NY attorney general; Trump dismisses 'ridiculous case'

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press with Joshua Holt (out of frame), who had been detained in Venezuela for two years, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2018 (PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press with Joshua Holt (out of frame), who had been detained in Venezuela for two years, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2018 (PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)

NEW YORK — New York State filed suit Thursday against US President Donald Trump, his sons and daughter, alleging a pattern of “persistently illegal conduct” at their family foundation and seeking the charity’s dissolution.

The lawsuit accused the Donald J. Trump Foundation of “extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”

It says the real estate tycoon elected president in 2016 used charity funds from the foundation to pay his legal bills, promote his Trump-branded hotels, and for personal spending.

The lawsuit also claims that Trump used the foundation illegally to raise $2.8 million to support his presidential campaign in a televised fundraiser on January 28, 2016 — held as he skipped a Republican presidential primary debate.

This photo made in the Associated Press Washington bureau on Thursday, September 15, 2016 shows a copy of a check provided by the New York state attorney general that shows a payment of $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to And Justice For All signed by Donald J. Trump. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Trump quickly responded with tweets in which he called the suit a “ridiculous case” and indicated he will fight it.

He accused “sleazy New York Democrats” of “doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000.”

“I won’t settle this case!” he said.

The suit names the president, sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and daughter Ivanka Trump, who were on the board of the foundation.

It seeks restitution of $2.8 million and the shutdown of the foundation, as well as a 10-year ban on Trump serving on the board of any other New York charity.

A one-year ban is asked for his three children.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

“This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets,” she said in a statement.

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