Monday, 18 June, 2018

NY sues Trump and his foundation over 'illegal conduct'

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit Saturday President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the G-7 summit Saturday
Deanna Wagner | 15 June, 2018, 00:46

President Donald Trump's charitable foundation served as a personal piggy bank for his businesses, legal bills and presidential campaign, New York's attorney general said Wednesday as she sued the charity, Trump and three of his children.

"The foundation is little more than an empty shell that functions with no oversight from its board of directors", the lawsuit alleges.

Lewandowski, who is not a target of the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment.

President Trump on Twitter declared "I won't settle this case!"

The charity's directors, President Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump were sued in their individual capacity, putting them personally on the hook for the repayment of funds.

The suit seeks restitution of US$2.8 million ($4m) and the shutdown of the foundation, as well as a 10-year ban on Trump serving on the board of any other ny charity.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood has filed a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump, his family, and their not-for-profit charitable organization for an improper coordination of funds.

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The lawsuit adds to legal problems affecting Trump, including a probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russian Federation. The New York AG's office says former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski regularly emailed the foundation and directed its actions during the runup to the 2016 election. It claims that the foundation came to be "co-opted" by the campaign. And now the president has been hit with an absolutely colossal lawsuit filed by the NY state attorney general for, among other things, buying a garish painting of his own visage, as well as making payments to settle lawsuits against his Mar-a-Lago club and other Trump golf courses.

The event raised approximately $5.6 million, about $2.8 million of which went to the Trump Foundation; the rest was given directly by donors to veterans groups, the lawsuit says.

Underwood also asked that Trump be banned from leading any other NY nonprofit for 10 years.

"How often do you see a presidential candidate giving money away instead of taking it?" the younger Falwell told the crowd at a Trump rally.

The allegations stem from a January 28, 2016, nationally televised fundraiser Trump held in Des Moines rather than participate in a GOP forum with other candidates competing in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. "Is there anyway we can make some disbursements this week in Iowa", Lewandoski emailed Trump Foundation treasurer Allen Wieselberg from the campaign trail.

Schneiderman, 63, resigned from his post as New York attorney general in May after The New Yorker reported allegations of physical assault by four women.

Beyond political purposes, the lawsuit describe's Trump's foundation as a kind of tax-free slush fund he used to pay off personal debts, buy himself presents, and market his hotels.