New York’s Attorney-General is suing US President Donald Trump and his namesake foundation, saying the nonprofit should be dissolved after “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct” occurring over more than a decade, including support for Mr Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign.
Attorney-General Barbara Underwood accused the Donald J Trump Foundation and its directors of conducting “extensive unlawful political coordination” with the campaign, and “repeated and willful self-dealing” to benefit Mr Trump’s personal and business interests.
“The Trump Foundation was little more than a chequebook for payments from Mr Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose of legality,” Ms Underwood said in a statement.
“That 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 foundation could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr Trump’s children were also named as defendants in the Attorney-General’s petition, filed with the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
New York is also seeking $US2.8 million ($3.7 million) of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Mr Trump serving as a director of a New York nonprofit, and one-year bans for his children Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka.
The President hit back on Twitter soon after the suit was announced, saying he would not settle the case.
“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!” he tweeted.
@realdonaldtrump: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
Eric Schneiderman, the former state attorney-general, resigned in May.