Looking into a report that Eric Trump funneled over $1 million from his charity to his father’s business
More than $1.2 million “has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization,” Forbes reported
The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is “looking into” the Eric Trump Foundation.
Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Schneiderman’s office, said it began examining the charitable foundation founded by President Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, after a report in Forbes that raised questions about practices by the foundation which seemed to violate state laws.
“The attorney general’s office is looking into the issues raised by this report,” Soufer told Forbes.
Schneiderman’s office initially opened the inquiry following the Forbes story which examined the Eric Trump Foundation’s use of Trump family-owned golf courses for charitable events. Although Trump said the courses did not charge his foundation to conduct the events, tax filings showed that the charity did make payments to his father’s properties.
The attorney general’s office also noted that Trump’s charity had already held an event in New York under the name “Curetivity,” but the name had not officially been changed with New York charity regulations.
A formal investigation by Schneiderman into President Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, has been underway for months but the office said the new inquiry into the president’s son’s foundation was at an early stage and could not be considered a formal investigation.
In acknowledging the state review, a spokesman for Eric Trump highlighted the foundation’s charitable work and said, “The foundation intends to cooperate fully with the attorney general’s review, and looks forward to a productive and open dialogue with the attorney general’s office to address any questions it may have.”
According to reports, the Eric Trump Foundation funneled more than $1 million from charity golf tournaments into President Donald Trump’s business, a spokesman for the attorney general said on Friday.
Forbes magazine reported this week that the charity run by Eric Trump, the president’s second-oldest son, paid the Trump Organization to use its properties for charity events in recent years even though Eric Trump had told donors that the golf course and other assets were being used for free, so that just about all the money donated would help sick children.
Forbes reported that based on filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, more than $1.2 million “has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization.”
Trump, a New York real estate developer, said in December that he would dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation, but Schneiderman’s office has said it could not be wound down while the investigation was ongoing.
Forbes also reported that although donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told all its money was going to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, fight pediatric cancer, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities.
Many of those charities “were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses,” Forbes said.
Amanda Miller, who works for the Trump Organization and who identified herself in an emailed response to a Reuters query as a “spokesperson for Eric Trump,” said the Eric Trump Foundation would cooperate fully with Schneiderman’s office.
Eric Trump is executive vice president of development and acquisition for the Trump Organization.
He said in a tweet on Thursday that he had raised the money for St. Jude with an expense ratio of less than 12.3 percent. “Let’s not politicize pediatric cancer,” he said.
On his foundation’s website, Eric Trump said he had ceased direct fundraising efforts at the end of 2016 “in order to avoid the appearance or assertion of any impropriety and/or a conflict of interest.”