WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and three of his adult children alleging misuse of charitable assets by the Trump Foundation.
The lawsuit accuses Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric and his daughter Ivanka of a pattern of persistent illegal conduct over more than a decade in their roles as directors of the charity.
'As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,' Underwood said.
She added, 'This is not how private foundations should function and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.'
The lawsuit alleges extensive unlawful political coordination with Trump's presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Trump's personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.
Underwood is seeking the dissolution of the Trump Foundation under court supervision as well as the restitution of $2.8 million and additional penalties.
The attorney general also wants Trump to be banned from future service as a director of a New York not-for-profit for ten years in addition to one-year bans for Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.
Trump quickly struck back at the lawsuit in a post on Twitter, suggesting that Underwood is a disciple of former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned last month amid accusations that he physically abused four women.
'The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won't settle this case!' Trump tweeted.
'Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years,' he added. 'Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.'
A statement from the Trump Foundation also slammed the lawsuit, accusing the attorney general of attempting to distract from the release of the Justice Department Inspector General's report on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation
'This is the NYAG playing politics and nothing more,' the statement said. 'In fact, the Foundation had already proposed its own voluntary dissolution over a year and half ago.'
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