A New York judge has ordered President Donald Trump to personally pay $2 million to settle the state attorney general’s civil lawsuit against his now-defunct charitable organization, The Donald J. Trump Foundation.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla’s order directs Trump’s damage payment to several legitimate nonprofit organizations.
Her decision is not the outcome desired by the president, who declared in a tweet last year: “I won’t settle this case!”
The lawsuit, filed in June 2018 by then-state Attorney General Barbara Underwood, alleged that Trump and three of his children ― Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump ― repeatedly took advantage of the foundation’s tax-exempt status to fund their political and business interests.
Trump, during his 2016 bid for the presidency, allowed his campaign to handle money raised by the Trump Foundation, effectively using his charity to help finance his candidacy, Underwood’s suit said. She said the foundation engaged in a “shocking pattern” of “repeated and willful self-dealing,” including buying a $10,000 portrait of Trump to hang at one of his golf courses.
“This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” Underwood said in a statement late last year.
The Trump family was ordered to dissolve the foundation in December 2018.
Attorneys for Trump and his family had argued that a “sitting president may not be sued” and attempted to have the case dismissed. Scarapulla rejected their request.
Trump responded to the ruling later Thursday, accusing the New York attorney general of mischaracterizing the settlement and saying he was being “attacked by the political hacks.”
“It has been 4 years of politically motivated harassment,” Trump said in a statement posted to Twitter. “All they found was incredibly effective philanthropy and some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes.”
The president also referenced his recent filing to change his permanent residency from New York to Florida, saying it was “no wonder why we are all leaving!”
This story has been updated with Trump’s response.