New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued President Trump and his three eldest children on Thursday as directors of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, seeking to dissolve the not-for-profit organization for “persistent illegal conduct,” according to court documents.
The petition alleges that the foundation engaged in “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,” per a statement released by the Office of the Attorney General.
“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,” Underwood said. “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.”
The allegations outlined in the petition filed before the New York Supreme Court include claims the Trump campaign used the foundation to promote President Trump’s candidacy and raise $2.8 million in a nationally televised fundraiser on Jan. 28, 2016 instead of attending a Republican primary debate scheduled for the same date in Des Moines, Iowa. Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski then had input into who would receive funds, pushing grants to be distributed before the Iowa nominating caucuses on Feb. 1.
The petition also asserts that President Trump used the foundation’s assets to pay legal obligations of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and his Trump National Golf Clubs.
If successful, the Trumps could be compelled to pay about $2.8 million in restitution to reimburse the foundation, plus penalties.
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