Donald Trump’s presidency has been mired in scandals and controversies ever since he took office. The number of scandals involving Donald Trump keeps on increasing with each passing day. The latest report by Forbes claims that Donald Trump used his son Eric Trump Foundation to skim money from kids with cancer.
This is not the first time that Trump Foundation has come under scrutiny. During Trump’s presidential campaign his organization was accused of using the foundation’s money to settle personal lawsuits, giving controversial donations, and buying a $20,000 portrait of Trump. Post the election, Trump Foundation admitted to using charity money to benefit its leader.
Eric Trump Foundation
Eric Trump’s organization was set up as a charity so that it could accept outside donations and channel the donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The Hospital is considered as the best in the world for pediatric cancer treatment.
The foundation has done a lot of good work for the hospital, and till date raised nearly $8 million by itself and a total of $16.3 million including donations from other charitable organizations. They have also built a $20 million dollar ICU which is named after Eric.
To raise money for his foundation, Eric started holding golf tournaments, and the first one in 2007 raised nearly $220,000. Eric maintained that using the golf course was free since it belonged to Donald Trump’s organization, and entertainment, food, and drinks were either comped or financed by sponsors.
This assured donors that every penny that they donated was going towards helping kids with cancer, as reported by Newsweek. For the first four years, from 2007 to 2010, the golf tournaments cost the foundation about $50,000. It was not zero as claimed by Eric, but was still on par with the amount paid by other charities.
How Donald Trump Skimmed Money From Kids With Cancer
In 2011, Donald realized that the golf course was being used for free by Eric and was unhappy with it and wanted the charity to pay for it. Katrina Kaupp, who was the board of directors at the Eric Trump Foundation in 2010 and 2011 stated that it was Donald Trump who insisted that charity foundation had to pay for using the golf course.
According to Ian Gillule, “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not–everybody gets billed.”
Ian Gillule served as marketing director at Trump National Westchester. He further added that it was unbelievable that Eric’s dad was billing him for the charitable outing. Donald Trump charging Eric for his charitable outing is not illegal, but what happened after is shocking.
In 2011, the cost of the tournament increased from $46,000 to $142,000 as per the IRS fillings. In 2012, the cost came to a modest $59,000, which escalated to $230,000 in 2013, $242,000 in 2014 and finally $322,000 in 2015. Interestingly, the highest donations were raised in 2012 when the amount charged was the least.
How Donald Trump Was Laundering Money
Donald Trump used Eric’s foundation and their payments towards the use of golf course to launder money. After he had started charging Eric, Donald Trump donated $100,000 to Eric’s charity which went back to Donald Trump via the payments, but now to his private businesses as revenue. Interestingly, all the money he donated to Eric foundation was outside donations as Donald Trump was not giving money to his own foundation at that time.
Notably, at the same time when Donald Trump decided to charge Eric’s charity, and the cost for each event escalated, four of the original seven board members were replaced by 14 new members, most of whom were in some way making money from Trump organization. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and executive vice president Dan Scavino Jr. were both part of the new board members.
Another shocking revelation is that Eric Trump Foundation had never donated money to any other charities until 2011. After, the new board took control more than $500,000 was donated to other charities that had nothing to do with children’s cancer. Out of nowhere, these charities who received donations started hosting golf tournaments at the Trump National Westchester.
A charity called Abilis spent nearly $240,000, whereas another charity called Little Baby Face Foundation spent an estimated $100,000 to hold golf outings on the Trump course. Similarly, a foundation named Julie’s Jungle received $25,000 in total donations, and they too hosted a golf tournament at Trump National Hudson Valley.
Eric Trump’s spokesperson denied the report and stated that at no time did Trump Organization profit in any way from the Eric Foundation or any of its activities. However, it appears from the report that the Eric Trump Foundation became another way for Donald Trump to make money. The fact that the money was intended for kids suffering from cancer made no difference to him.
[Featured Image by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images]