The Donald J. Trump Foundation will close and give away all its remaining funds in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office, which had accused the Trump family of using the charity for self-dealing and political gain, the office announced on Tuesday.
The attorney general, Barbara Underwood, accused the foundation of “a shocking pattern of illegality” that was “willful and repeated” and included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” Ms. Underwood said.
The closure of the foundation is a milestone in the investigation. But the broader lawsuit, which also seeks millions in restitution and penalties and a bar on President Trump and his three oldest children from serving on the boards of other New York charities, is proceeding.
What assets remain after penalties will be directed to charities that must be approved by the attorney general’s office, and the process will be subject to judicial supervision. Ms. Underwood and a lawyer for the foundation signed the stipulation agreeing to the dissolution.
“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Ms. Underwood said. “We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
Mr. Trump had said after the 2016 election that to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, he would dissolve the foundation following revelations of its financial mismanagement. But the attorney general’s office blocked the president from doing so, amid concerns about the handling of the foundation’s documents and assets.
Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer for the foundation, characterized Ms. Underwood’s announcement as making a “misleading statement.”
“The foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election,” he said. “Unfortunately, the N.Y.A.G. sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7 million.
“The N.Y.A.G.’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter,” he added.
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Source: The New York Times