Since I prefer primary source documents over the descriptions of media who hate Trump and will cast him in the worst possible light, I researched and found the case index number and located the settlement agreement for the Trump Foundation case, which you can read for yourself here: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us…
Here are the claims made in the settlement document (summarized):
- The Board of Directors never met, never set guidance, never audited the Foundation, and never provided oversight. It also did not provide a conflict of interest policy in 2014, as required by law.
- The campaign planned and organized the fundraiser and paid for all the expenses, but used the name of the charity in its promotional materials and on its website.
- The fundraiser raised $5.6 million – $2.823 million to the charity, the rest directly to veterans organizations. So, 50.5% of the money raised was given directly to veterans organizations, not to the Trump Foundation. There is no allegation that any of that money did not go to veterans groups.
- In 2007, Mar-A-Lago was involved in a lawsuit. The settlement directed the club to pay $100,000 to the FIscher Foundation, a veterans charity, and the money was paid by the Foundation. On March 10, 2017, Trump reimbursed the Foundation $100,000 plus $8.763.41 in interest.
- In 2011, a lawsuit was filed against the Alonzo Mourning Charities and the Trump National Golf Course because an insurer refused to pay $1 million for a hole in one, as agreed in advance, citing a flaw in the setup of the 13th hole.
- The settlement directed $750,000 to the charity designated by the winner.
- Trump agreed to provide AMC with three lifetime memberships to TNGC.
- After AMC sold the three memberships, Trump transferred $157,250 to the Foundation to satisfy its agreement with AMC, and that money was donated to the winner’s charity of choice.
- On March 17, 2017, Trump reimbursed the Foundation $158,000 plus $3,593.08 in interest.
- In 2013, Trump directed that $25,000 be sent to Pam Biondi’s political campaign fund And Justice For All. Due to an accounts payable clerk’s error, Foundation money was used because she thought it was a Utah charity by the same name.
- A different clerk cut the check for Pam Biondi’s campaign.
- The error wasn’t reported, because the accountant’s identified it as yet another charity in Kansas.
- On March 23, 2016, the error was discovered, and Trump reimbursed the Foundation the $25,000 plus the excise tax required by law.
- In 2013, $5,000 was donated to the DC Preservation League. The donation entitled the Foundation to run an ad in a DCPL fundraising event. A Trump International promotion was placed in the same event program.
- On December 9, 2016, Trump Hotels reimbursed the Foundation $5,084.62 plus interest as well as paying excise taxes of $1514.33.
- On March 1, 2014, a charitable event for the Unicorn Children’s Foundation was held at Mar-A-Lago. A painting of Trump was actioned off, and Trump bought it for $10,000 using Foundation funds. The painting was eventually hung at Doral. Later, the portrait was returned to the Foundation.
- On November 17, 2016, the Doral Hotel paid the Foundation $185.82 plus interest for the fair rental value of the painting.
- On December 19, 2016, the Doral Hotel paid excise taxes of $26.91
- On March 15, 2019, $10,000 was reimbursed to the Foundation.
- In 2015, the Foundation donated $32,000 to the North American Land Trust on behalf of an entity that Trump owns.
- On November 17, 2016, the entity reimbursed the Foundation the $32,000.
- On December 9, 2016, the entity paid $228.38 in interest to the Foundation.
- On December 19, 2016, the entity paid the IRS $3,213.19 in excise taxes.
- The Foundation acknowledged the following:
- It had not held regular meetings of its Board of Directors
- It did not have written policies for consideration or approval of grants
- It did not have a written policy regarding conflicts of interest
- It did not have a written investment policy
- It did not have a written whistleblower policy
- On December 9, 2018, the Foundation was closed
- On October 1, 2019, the Foundation disbursed the remaining $1,782,910.92 to eight different charities
- Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump agreed to receive Board Training
- Trump will make a payment of $11, 525 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Now, let’s look at the how the New York Times reported this settlement: Trump Ordered to Pay $2 Million to Charities for Misuse of Foundation
The first thing I noticed is, the headline is a lie. Trump didn’t pay a dime. The Foundation was ordered to release the remainder of its funds, $1,782,910.92, as a part of its dissolution. If the headline is a lie, what can we expect from the article?
“A state judge ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages to nonprofit groups on Thursday after the president admitted misusing money raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid, pay off business debts and purchase a portrait of himself for one of his hotels.”
False. He did not pay damages. The remainder of the Foundation’s funds were disbursed. He did not admit to misusing money to promote his Presidential bid, pay off business debts, and purchase a portrait for one of his hotels. The only thing admitted to was improper and lax oversight of Foundation activities and disbursements.
As Trump said in his statement, these were all technical violations. Normally, these things are handled administratively, but because it’s Trump, it results in a lawsuit, laying headlines, and lying reporting.
“The damage award brought an end to a protracted legal battle over the foundation, whose giving patterns and management became a flash point during Mr. Trump’s run for office in 2016. New York’s attorney general had filed suit last year accusing Mr. Trump and his family of using the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his presidential campaign.”
Again, it wasn’t a damage award. Trump didn’t pay a single dime. Why is it necessary for the Times to lie so blatantly? Because they’re all but certain that no one will read the primary source documents. Well, sorry for them, I did.
And what the attorney general characterized it as is not the truth. But, the Times can report it with a straight face, because the attorney general said it. (Therefore, it must be true, right?)
When you take the media’s reporting as truth, you are sadly misinformed.
“The settlement, which was finalized last month and announced on Thursday in the judge’s order, included a detailed admission of misconduct that is rare for the president, who has long employed a scorched-earth approach toward fighting lawsuits.”
“A detailed admission of misconduct? Really? Lax procedures? Yes. Sloppy paperwork? Certainly. Misconduct? Then why wasn’t anyone charged with fraud? Again, a false and misleading statement, but that’s what you get with the New York Times. Ask them about Walter Duranty.
“Among Mr. Trump’s admissions in court papers: The charity gave his campaign complete control over disbursing the $2.8 million that the foundation had raised at a fund-raiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, only days before the state’s presidential nominating caucuses. The fund-raiser, he acknowledged, was, in fact, a campaign event.”
And where did the money go? Every dime went to veterans charities, and the campaign paid ALL the expenses for the event. But let’s not let the fact get in the way of painting Trump in the worst possible light. By writing “complete control over disbursing, they make it sound like not one dime when to charity. The lawsuit proved this is a false allegation.
“The president also admitted to using the foundation to settle the legal obligations of companies he owned, including Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y. And he acknowledged that the foundation purchased the $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump, which was ultimately displayed at one of his Florida hotels.”
Legal obligations? They were all donations to charities. And every one was reimbursed. At best you could argue that he didn’t “come clean” soon enough. But these kinds of technical violations are frequently settled with administrative settlements and improvements in the policies and practices of the charity.
“Once billed as the charitable arm of the president’s financial empire, the Trump Foundation closed its doors in December, six months after the attorney general’s office sued, saying the foundation was acting “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”
Just gotta get that dig in one more time. The attorney general provided a nice quote, so let’s use it. Never mind that the court never found that it was true. It sounds good and makes Trump look bad, so let’s use it.
What’s the sum total of Trump’s “sins”? In ten years, there were less than $350,000 in questionable contributions in a charity that, when it closed, had five times that amount in undisbursed funds and gave more than eight times that amount to veterans charities in 2016 alone.
You’ll pardon me if I’m not exactly upset about what went on in the Trump Foundation. It’s quite obvious that Trump treated the Foundation as his personal charity distribution system and didn’t set up the strict controls that a true charity has. After all, it was his money.
Yes, he didn’t follow the rules. But, when discovered, he reimbursed all of it. And he never paid a dime in “damages” as the Times alleges, because he didn’t defraud anyone.