President Trump has been ordered to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit groups as part of a settlement in a lawsuit alleging “persistent” violations of charities law violations within the Trump Foundation, reports CNN.
The civil suit, filed by the New York state attorney general’s office in June 2018, specifically contained an accusation of illegal coordination with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The lawsuit alleged that Trump and his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status.
The Trump’s allowed the foundation to be used “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” according to the court filing.
The settlement comes in the wake of an agreement by the foundation in December to dissolve under judicial supervision.
Attorneys for the charity had said that “all of the money raised by the Foundation went to charitable causes to assist those most in need,” and accused the attorney general’s office of political motivation, citing campaign trail comments made by Attorney General Letitia James, who took office in January.
Trump himself had vowed to fight the lawsuit, tweeting last year, “I won’t settle this case!”
“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation — including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” then-Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleged in a statement late last year.
New York Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla signed off on the agreement to close the Trump Foundation and distribute about $1.7 million in remaining funds to other nonprofit groups.
In her seven-page ruling, Scarpulla wrote, “Mr. Trump’s fiduciary duty breaches included allowing his campaign to orchestrate the Fundraiser, allowing his campaign, instead of the Foundation, to direct distribution of the Funds, and using the Fundraiser and distribution of the Funds to further Mr. Trump’s political campaign.”