Forbes just published a piece “How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business,” about Trump taking money meant for cancer research for children for himself.
How low will Trump go?
This low: According to the well-documented article the so-called Eric Trump Foundation (which supposedly funds pediatric cancer research) exorbitantly overpaid the for-profit Trump Organization (in which Eric Trump and his father have a personal financial stake) for use of golf facilities during events that donors thought were fundraisers for children.
According to the article:
- Trump, demanded that his Trump National Westchester golf course begin heavily charging his son’s foundation for children for the use of facilities that it had previously been allowed to use for free.
“In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club]—the bills would just disappear,” says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament’s economics. “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.'”
- The amounts that the Trump Organization billed the Eric Trump Foundation for one-day use of its course and club—in 2015, Eric Trump’s charity paid his father’s business $322,000 for the event—appear to be much higher than what a typical one-day tournament/fundraiser would normally cost. And that’s not even counting the fact that a decent and moral billionaire would not charge anything to an event raising money for desperately ill children.
According to Forbes…
It’s hard to find any explanation for this cost spike (shakedown) other than massive personal greed and gain from a so-called charity for kids.
Even if the Eric Trump Foundation had to pay the full rate for literally everything, Forbes couldn’t come up with a plausible or innocent path to $322,000 — given the parameters of the annual event (a mere golf outing for about 200 people).
Neither could golf tournament experts or the former head golf professional at Trump National Westchester come up with an innocent explanation.
“If you gave me that much money to run a tournament, I couldn’t imagine what we could do,” says Patrick Langan, who worked at the club from 2006 to 2015. “It certainly wasn’t done that way.”
As Ben Mathis-Lilley notes in Slate: “Indeed, if you paid full freight for each of 200 golfers at Trump’s course (let’s say $300 per person, including caddy tip) and then threw a 400-person dinner event at a cost of $500 per guest (which would be more than double the average per-person cost of a full-on traditional wedding), you’d still need to spend another $60,000 to pay as much as the Eric Trump Foundation paid Eric Trump’s family business to use its golf course in 2015.”
- The Donald J. Trump Foundation—raised money from people who thought they were donating to charity—and appears to have given $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation which was then paid to the private, for-profit Trump Organization… and wound up in the pocket of Donald Trump’s private (and frequently bankrupt) “businesses.”
As USA Today notes:
These figures are hard to reconcile with Eric Trump’s claims that the charity is able to use the course for free and that many other expenses are donated. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” the president’s son told Forbes.
“In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free — that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization,” Forbes reported. “Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”
Back in the day after I’d quit the religious right and in the 1980s when I was making second rate feature movies in Hollywood, if I’d been writing a script about a mobster who was pure scum, I’d have rejected a suggested story line that included the idea a mobster might ripoff money meant for cancer research for children. I’d have figured that no one would do that, not even a Tony Soprano.
In the movies even criminals have lines they won’t cross.