A New York judge has ordered US President Donald Trump to pay two million dollars to several charities to resolve a lawsuit alleging he misused his own charitable foundation to further his political and business interests.
Judge Saliann Scarpulla said Trump “breached his fiduciary duty” to the Trump Foundation, the relationship with the organisation’s trustees, by allowing his campaign staff to plan a fundraiser for veterans’ charities in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses before the 2016 presidential election.
That event, which passed money through Trump’s non-profit, was designed “to further Mr Trump’s political campaign”, Scarpulla said.
The judge also signed off on agreements reached last month between Trump’s lawyers and the New York attorney general’s office to close the Trump Foundation and distribute about $1.7m in remaining funds to other nonprofits.
In the agreements, Trump admitted to personally misusing Trump Foundation funds and agreed to pay back $11,525 in the organisation’s funds he spent on sports memorabilia and champagne at a charity gala. He also agreed to restrictions on his involvement in other charitable organisations.
New York Attorney General Letitia James heralded the resolution of the case as a “major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain”.
“No one is above the law – not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States,” said James, a Democrat.