Trump donations found to mainly benefit real estate business interests

An independent investigation by the Washington Post has found that New York businessman Donald Trump, despite his assertions to the contrary, has only given $7.8 million to charitable causes since 1983, many to the benefit of his real estate development company.

Over the years Trump has pledged to donate many of his extracurricular sources of income, including “The Apprentice” salary and Trump University profits, to veterans and other charities, most of which cannot be substantiated.

From 2008 until May, the current Republican presidential nominee’s only donation was a gift of less than $10,000 to the Police Athletic League of New York City in 2009.

In total, Trump has contributed $5.5 million to the Donald J. Trump Foundation since its inception in 1987, with $9.3 million in charitable proceeds originating from outside sources.

However, many of the foundation’s outlays have gone toward Trump’s own business and personal interests. The largest contribution from the charity of over $264,000 was made in 1989 to help fund the restoration of New York’s Pulitzer Fountain, which stands just outside the Plaza Hotel that Trump owned at the time.

Donations totaling $258,000 were used to cover legal expenses pertaining to Trump’s various companies and $30,000 was shelled out for two portraits of the real-estate mogul himself, bought in 2007 and 2014.

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Portrait of Trump purchased with charity funds in 2014 (Courtesy Havi Schanz via Washington Post)

One of those paintings was bought by Melania Trump at a charitable auction hosted by the Mar-a-Lago Club benefiting what is now called HomeSafe, a nonprofit that funds programs to help victims of child abuse in South Florida. According to artist Michael Israel’s then-manager, Trump’s wife said she wanted the six-foot tall portrait to be hung “in either the boardroom or the conference room”, at Trump National Golf Club Westchester.

A second painting paid for by the  foundation was found hanging on the wall at a Trump National Doral bar in Miami, in violation of “self-dealing” laws.

Since May, Trump has made two notable donations: One to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation for $1 million and another $100,000 to a church in Baton Rogue, La., to help the flood relief efforts there in August.

Trump only made the generous contribution to MC-LEF after media reports found that the Republican candidate never delivered on his promise to contribute proceeds from the widely publicized veterans benefit he hosted in January — nearly four months later.

Evidence also shows that Trump has benefited from charitable donations made from his foundation to organizations such as the now-defunct National Museum of Catholic Art and History in New York.

In 1995 and 1999, the real estate tycoon made two $50,000 contributions to the art museum. At the time, Ed Malloy served as chairman of the museum’s board, as well as president of New York’s Building and Construction Trades Council, which helped Trump get union pension fund financing.

When reached for comment recently about the $100,000 in donations, former director of the Catholic art museum, Christina Cox said, “I don’t want to be quoted on anything.”

 

[Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Business Insider]