President Donald Trump has refused to make public his full tax returns on his numerous businesses scattered both in and out of the United States. Apart from the tax issue, President Trump is also embroiled in conflict of interest issues, including with those closest to him.
When Trump won the presidency last year, he publicly lamented the decision of his second son, Eric Trump, to step away from his charity for children with cancer due to potential conflicts of interest with his administration.
Trump’s lamentation, then, appeared to be sincere. However, a latest report emerging from his son’s charity shows Trump’s statement wasn’t sincere. According to a Forbes report, the Trump organization benefited from more than $1.2 million from the sweat of Eric’s organization, which raised funds to support children with cancer.
Details of the report said since 2007, Eric Trump has held an annual charity golf event at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., to raise money for the Eric Trump Foundation on behalf of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for research of cancer in children.
To date, Eric has raised more than $11 million — including $2.9 million in 2016 — for the hospital’s research. Most of these funds in fact come from golf tournaments.
Eric had claimed that his charity is able to use his father’s golf course for free and that many other expenses are donated. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Eric told Forbes some time ago.
But citing IRS filings, Forbes revealed Eric’s touting of free use of his father’s property in order to get more money for the children was never the case. The IRS filings showed the Eric Trump Foundation paid over $1.2 million to the Trump Organization for the use of the golf course.
When the charity initially used the golf course, it was for free. However, Donald Trump later instructed the golf course managers to start billing the charity.
Former Trump National Westchester membership and marketing director, Ian Gillule told Forbes: “In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club] — the bills would just disappear. 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.’ I saw that Eric was getting billed. I would always say, ‘I can’t believe that his dad is billing him for a charitable outing.’ But that’s what they wanted.”
A golf charity expert also told Forbes that the charity’s bill for using the golf course was too expensive. He said, “the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”
In addition to the $1.2 million the charity paid, it is said the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation. The purpose of this money was to be paid into the coffers of the Trump Organization. Another $500,000 of Eric Trump’s foundation money was also donated to other charities.
Many of the charities who received part of the $500,000 donation were said to be connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid money to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
Of course, these fraudulent dealings by the Trump family violate federal and state laws on taxes and charitable foundations. Many observers are calling for a deeper investigation into the report for further appropriate action to be taken against the Trump family.