Trump Foundation Settlement

I have uploaded a copy of the order settling the claims for breach of the fiduciary duties that Donald Trump and his family owned to the The Donald J. Trump Foundation. Much of the relevant information, however, is apparently contained in a stipulation and I have not, as yet, been able to locate a copy.

The stipulation puts shackles on the ability of Trump and his three oldest children to actively participate in charitable organizations. Footnote 2 of the order approving the settlement, for instance, states:

As per the Final Stipulation, if Mr. Trump opts to serve as an officer or director of a pre-existing New York charitable organization, he may only do so if the organization: “(i) engages counsel with expertise in New York not-for-profit law to advise the organization and its officers and directors on compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and accepted practices; (ii) engages the services of an accounting firm to monitor and audit the charity’s grants and expenses annually; (iii) has a majority of the board members that are independent, i.e., they have no familial or business relationship with Mr. Trump or any entity owned by Mr. Trump or his relatives, as defined in N-PCL section 102(a)(22) (referred to herein as “family members”); and (iv) agrees not to engage in any related party transactions as defined in N-PCL section 102(a)(24) with Mr. Trump, his family members or any entity owned or controlled by Mr. Trump or his family members (a `Trump Entity’) and agrees to otherwise comply with N-PCL section 715.” The same requirements must be met if Mr. Trump decides to form a new charitable organization and serve as its officer or director. Further, the Final Stipulation provides that should Mr. Trump serve as an officer or director of a new charitable organization, he must also meet the following additional requirements: (i) the newly formed organization will provide the Attorney General with annual reports for five years; (ii) the newly formed charitable organization will enact specific corporate governance procedures; and (iii) Mr. Trump will maintain a working familiarity with the applicable New York rules and laws governing charitable organizations and their officers and directors, for as long as he holds either position.

I will post the stipulation if I can get my hands on it.

Update

I’ve obtained a copy of the stipulation and I have posted it here. I suppose that everyone has his or her own “favorite” Trump scam and sleaze. With respect to the numerous scams and sleazes outlined in the stipulation, my favorite is one of the smaller ones. It’s what I call the Trump Portrait Sleaze and is outlined on pages 7-8 of the stipulation.

In March, 2014, the Unicorn Children’s Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity held a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. As part of that fundraiser, there was a charity auction. One of the items to be auctioned was a portrait of Trump. Trump put in the winning bid of $10,000 for the portrait. However, the $10,000 was paid by the Trump Foundation and the portrait was displayed, where else, at Trump’s Doral Hotel.

In November, 2016, the portrait was returned to the Trump Foundation and the hotel paid $185.82 plus interest to the Foundation for the rental of the painting. The painting was then placed in storage and, so far as anyone knows, never again publicly displayed. As part of the settlement with New York, in May, 2019,one of the members of the Trump family, whose precise identity is not disclosed, paid the Trump Foundation $10,000 to reimburse it for the purchase price. So, let’s analyse this.

Trump has a fancy charity gala at Mar-a-Lago, with respect to which he personally profits. Appearing to act magnanimously, he purchases a portrait of himself for $10,000. But instead of using his own funds to pay for the portrait, he uses funds from a charitable foundation. However, the painting is never used by the charitable foundation that purchased it for any charitable purpose. Rather, it is given to Trump to use as sort of an advertisement at his other hotel. Only in November, 2016, either right before or right after the election, does he take it off of display. And, we also know that most of the later contributions to the Trump Foundation were not made by Trump or members of his family, but came from others who sought to curry favor with him.

Simply put, Trump made money on a charitable event giving the Unicorn Children’s Foundation a discount on its costs via the purchase of the painting. But the contribution/discount never came out of Trump’s pocket. Rather, he funded the discount via the Trump Foundation using money contributed by others.

Of course, big time sleaze is not something that will faze Trump. However, it’s his attention to the small things, the little scams, that is the measure of the man. He scams therefore he is.

3 thoughts on “Trump Foundation Settlement”

  1. Ok. I don’t understand why the portrait business is not some version of larceny. Trump basically helped himself to $10,000 of the foundation’s money. I bet a bookkeeper who did that would be facing embezzlement charges.

    Is it all right because rich people do it all the time?

      1. Well, maybe. IANAL, but it looks pretty easy to prove to me. The simple facts as outlined in Stuart’s post make it clear that Trump used foundation money to meet a personal obligation, just as if the bookkeeper had done so to make a car payment.

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