Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.
Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the height of a flagpole.
In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times:
When Donald J. Trump campaigned in South Carolina in December, in a crowded and tightening Republican primary, he made a pointed declaration about one of his opponents, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.
“He totally knew about it,” Mr. Trump told his supporters, referring to the2013 shutdown of the George Washington Bridge by Christie aides, allegedly to punish a political foe. “They’re with him all the time, the people that did it.”
Mr. Christie, who was not charged, has repeatedly denied such claims. But in a federal courthouse in Newark on Monday, a prosecutor from the United States attorney’s office affirmed Mr. Trump’s view of the scandal, which helped scuttle Mr. Christie’s hopes for the presidency.
The prosecutor, Vikas Khanna, said that the aides, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, had boasted to the governor about closing several lanes of a ramp connecting Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge.