Judge orders Trump to pay $2M to nonprofits to settle civil suit

President Donald Trump will pay $2 million to settle civil suit for alleged violation of charities law under a N.Y. state judge's order filed Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Nov. 7 (UPI) — A New York state judge ordered President Donald Trump Thursday to pay $2 million to nonprofits to settle a civil suit against him, his foundation and three of his children for alleged violations of charities law.

Barbara Underwood, who served as New York Attorney General at the time, filed the 41-page complaint in June 2018, naming Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

The complaint alleged “persistent violation of state and federal laws governing New York state charities,” including using charitable assets to promote Trump’ businesses, enrich himself personally, and support his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million himself for breaching fiduciary duty to properly oversee the foundation bearing his name.

“I direct Mr. Trump to pay the $2,000,000, which would have gone to the Foundation if it were still in existence, on a pro rata basis to the Approved recipients,” the judge wrote, referring to a list of approved nonprofit organizations.

Among the nonprofits the judge approved to receive funds from Trump are 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 U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The complaint was based on an investigation that started in June 2016 under former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in May 2018 amid accusations that he physically abused women.

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The attorney general’s office had sought $2.8 million in restitution after the probe found Trump had raised that amount in a way “designed to influence the 2016 presidential election.” It also sought penalties and a ban against his three children named in the suit serving on the Foundation’s board.

Underwood had forced the suit, claiming Trump and his children violated campaign finance laws and abused its tax-exempt status, amid efforts by Trump and his children to get the lawsuit dismissed.

In December, the Trump Foundation, which Trump had started in 1987, agreed to dissolve under court supervision and disperse assets to other nonprofit organization within 30 days.

“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,” Attorney General Letitia James, who took the office in January, said. “My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States.”

Attorneys for the Trump Foundation said “every penny ever raised by the Trump Foundation has gone to help those most in need,” adding that the court had rejected a “frivolous request for statutory penalties, interest and other damages.”

Trump’s attorneys also still claimed Thursday that the lawsuit was “politically motivated,” as they had in unsuccessful effort to dismiss the case.

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