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Trump Foundation reaches deal to dissolve amid lawsuit

Associated Press Dec 18, 2018
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A guard stands outside of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s charitable foundation reached a deal Tuesday to dissolve while Trump fights allegations he misused assets for business and political purposes.

New York’s attorney general and Trump Foundation lawyers filed a joint stipulation in a court laying out a process for shutting down the charity and distributing its remaining assets to other nonprofit groups.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleged in a lawsuit last spring that Trump had illegally operated the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his White House campaign. That lawsuit will continue, with Underwood seeking $2.8 million in restitution and a 10-year ban on Trump and his three eldest children running any charities.

“This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone,” Underwood said in a statement. “We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”

Trump had long pledged to dissolve the foundation and donate of its remaining funds to charity, but his lawyers said they were thwarted by the attorney general’s office, which wanted oversight of the process. Foundation officials first announced their intention to shut down more than a year ago.

Tuesday’s agreement, which still needs a judge’s approval, came weeks after a New York judge rejected arguments from the foundation’s lawyers that the case was politically motivated and should be thrown out.

Underwood is a Democrat, as is her predecessor as attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, who started investigating the foundation in 2016 after The Washington Post reported that some of its spending personally benefited the presidential candidate. Schneiderman ordered the foundation to stop fundraising in New York.

Underwood was appointed to replace Schneiderman in May, when he resigned amid allegations he physically abused women.

The lawsuit accused Trump of illegally using the charity’s money to settle disputes involving his business empire and to boost his political fortunes during his run for the White House, including by giving out big grants of other’s people money to veterans organizations during the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, the first presidential nominating contest of 2016.

Lawyers for the foundation have said any infractions were minor. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday’s agreement.

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