NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump is declaring that he "won't settle" a lawsuit from the New York attorney general alleging that the Trump Foundation engaged in pattern of illegal self-dealing.
The president is calling it on Twitter a "ridiculous case" that former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "never had the guts to bring" forward before he "resigned his office in disgrace."
The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
The lawsuit, brought by current state Attorney General Barbara Underwood, alleges that the president's charitable foundation served as a personal piggy bank for his businesses, legal bills and presidential campaign. The lawsuit targets the foundation, Trump and three of his children.
Trump made a similar claim that he wouldn't settle a lawsuit charging that his Trump University misled customers but ultimately paid a $25 million settlement last year.
....Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
By JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — 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.
We are seeking restitution of $2.8 million plus penalties, and we have sent referral letters to the IRS and FEC for further investigation and legal action.— New York Attorney General (@NewYorkStateAG) June 14, 2018
The Donald J. Trump Foundation "was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality," Democratic Attorney General Barbara Underwood said as she sued to dissolve the foundation and seek $2.8 million in restitution.
The lawsuit says the foundation illegally helped support the Republican's campaign by raising money at a nationally televised fundraiser in January 2016, then allowing campaign staffers to dictate how the money was spent in grants.
Foundation attorney Sheri Dillon and a Trump Organization spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
The foundation's mission says its funds are to be used "exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes," either directly or through other organizations, according to the court filing. In keeping with federal tax rules, the charity's incorporation documents say none of its resources can directly or indirectly go to the benefit of its directors or officers and none of its activities can benefit any political candidate, the filing notes.
Underwood's predecessor, Democrat Eric Schneiderman, began investigating the foundation in 2016 following Washington Post reports that its spending personally benefited the presidential candidate. Schneiderman ordered the foundation to stop fundraising in New York.
We are suing the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its directors @realDonaldTrump, Donald J. Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump for extensive and persistent violations of state and federal law. https://t.co/aP2ui0tOTo pic.twitter.com/geSMA3fx2x— New York Attorney General (@NewYorkStateAG) June 14, 2018
The Trump campaign, at the time, said the foundation intended to cooperate with the investigation. The campaign had previously called Schneiderman "a partisan hack" who backed Trump's 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Schneiderman resigned last month after allegations that he abused women he had dated; he denied the claims.