New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Thursday filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, his charity, and his children Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka, alleging that the Trump Foundation followed "a pattern of persistent illegal conduct" for more than a decade.
Underwood asserted in the suit, among other things, that the foundation "was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their goal or legality".
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. "I won't settle this case!"
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The directors of the foundation named in the suit are President Trump and three of his children: Donald J. Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.
Prosecutors charge Trump with repeatedly misusing the nonprofit to pay off his businesses' creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events. "Trump ran the foundation according to whim, rather than law".
Schneiderman resigned last month after allegations that he abused women he had dated; he denied the claims.
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Shortly before his inauguration, Trump settled a fraud case brought against Trump University by the state attorney general's office, then run by Eric Schneiderman, for $25m.
The lawsuit claims that the charity engaged in illegal political coordination with Trump's campaign, made multiple self-dealing transactions to benefit Trump personally and his business interests, and violated legal obligations for such nonprofits in NY. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle, ' he wrote.
The lawsuit seeks to ban the president from serving as the director of any NY non-profit for 10 years, and seeks similar one year bans for each of his children, who serve on the foundation's board. Underwood said she has sent letters to the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission for further investigation.
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Underwood is also seeking restitution of the $2.8 million she says was paid to the presidential campaign and penalties.