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NY attorney general sues Trump Foundation, alleging illegal activity

NY attorney general sues Trump Foundation, alleging illegal activity

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued President Donald Trump and his charitable foundation on Thursday, alleging that the president and his adult children illegally used the private foundation for personal, business, and political expenses.

NY is also seeking $2.8 million of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Trump serving as a director of a NY nonprofit, and one-year bans for his children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka.

The New York AG found multiple instances of alleged self-dealing within the Trump Foundation, as Trump signed off on using charity money to pay off lawsuits against his businesses - and even to buy a $10,000 portrait of himself. But those presidential powers couldn't be applied to state level prosecutions such as the one in NY.

The foundation has no employees, delegated its operations to a management company that provides back-office services to the entities that make up the Trump Organization, and Trump ran the charity "according to his whim, rather than the law", according to the suit.

A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation
A section of the New York State lawsuit against the Trump Foundation

"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 goal or legality", said New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who replaced the disgraced Eric Schneiderman last month.

In the filing, Underwood said Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit to pay off his creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at events during his 2016 campaign. I won't settle this case!,' he wrote. She's seeking to ban Trump from serving as a director of a NY not-for-profit for 10 years.

In the suit, Underwood noted that the president had already paid more than $330,000 in reimbursements and penalty taxes since 2016. The board, though, had not met since 1999, and Underwood asked that the Trump children be banned from serving as director of any NY nonprofits for a year. "This is unconscionable - particularly because the foundation previously announced its intention to dissolve more than a year and a half ago".