US President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit concerning a New York charity in his name.
The New York-based Donald J. Trump Foundation was founded by Trump in 1988 to donate the proceeds from his book Trump: The Art of the Deal to charitable causes.
However, records show that Trump began to illegally solicit donations for the Foundation starting as early as 1989, and then using the fund for his personal gain.
Trump’s breach of trust
Justce Saliann Scarpulla of the state Supreme Court in Manhattan found Trump guilty of breach of trust and misappropriation of funds from the charity foundation to advance his 2016 campaign.
“Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the funds, and using the fundraiser and distribution of the funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign,” she wrote.
Justice Scarpulla ordered Trump on Thursday to pay $2 million to eight non-profit charities.
The $2 million is expected to go to Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, City Meals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of the National Capital Area and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“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, said in a statement.
Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump – who were also directors of the Trump Foundation – are required to undergo mandatory training “on the duties of officers and directors of charities”, James noted.
“No one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the President of the United States,” James further noted.
The Trump Foundation was shut down in 2018 after it came under scrutiny for being “little more than a checkbook” for Trump who used the its funds for his personal gain, instead of the charitable causes stated in its mission.