The complaint made to me is that Donald Trump stole US$2M from US veterans, which I wasn’t aware of, and it sounds appalling. Trump stealing from the vets?

But out in the real world, facts aren’t allowed to interfere with the opportunity to denigrate the orange man. The complainant said of Trump “He admitted taking the money, he actually admitted it!”

And so, I checked, and yes, Trump did admit taking money from the Trump Foundation and applying it to paying the business debts of companies he owned, funding his 2016 election campaign and purchasing a $10,000 portrait of himself for one of his hotels.

Anti-Trumpers are having a field day with Trump’s straight-out admission of guilt and are probably wondering why he didn’t adopt similar diversion techniques to those used by his old rival Hilary Clinton. Surely by now, even his worst critics are aware of Trump’s forthright manner of seldom beating around the bush.

Never mind that out of the US$19M injected into the Trump Foundation US$8.25M came out of his own pocket.

Trump broke a US law that bars charities from “advancing the self-interests of their executives”. With all the legal advice in the world at his fingertips, it appears Donald Trump pushed the boundaries of US law a tad too far.  Possibly he used the charity as a tax break money go round? Not familiar with US charity or tax law I don’t know, and Trump doesn’t say.

“THOUGH HE HAD ADMITTED WRONGDOING IN COURT PAPERS, MR. TRUMP ATTACKED WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS “THE POLITICAL HACKS IN NEW YORK STATE” IN A DEFIANT STATEMENT POSTED ON TWITTER ON THURSDAY NIGHT, CLAIMING THAT THE FOUNDATION HAD GIVEN “100 PERCENT OF THE FUNDS TO GREAT CHARITIES” AND THAT HE HAD SUFFERED “4 YEARS OF POLITICALLY MOTIVATED HARASSMENT” BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE.

ALL THEY FOUND WAS INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE PHILANTHROPY AND SOME SMALL TECHNICAL VIOLATIONS,” HE WROTE.

Once billed as the charitable arm of the president’s financial empire, the Trump Foundation closed its doors in December, six months after the attorney general’s office sued, saying the foundation was acting “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”

New York Times

The judge had some sympathy for Trump because she didn’t come down as hard on him as the state prosecutors wanted.

“In her ruling on Thursday, Justice Saliann Scarpulla of State Supreme Court in Manhattan found that Mr. Trump had in fact “breached his fiduciary duty” by using the foundation to advance his business and political interests.

The suit was one of several legal battles that arose between Mr. Trump and state prosecutors around the country from the moment he took office, especially in New York. The initial investigation into the foundation was launched by the former attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, and continued through the subsequent administrations of two attorneys general. The lawsuit was also based on information first reported by The Washington Post.

As part of the settlement negotiations, the attorney general’s office had asked Justice Scarpulla to ban Mr. Trump from ever running a charity again. Though the judge did not impose such a ban, she did place numerous restrictions on Mr. Trump should he seek to establish another charitable organization.

The attorney general’s office had also asked Justice Scarpulla to award damages of $2.8 million — the amount that the foundation had raised at the Iowa fund-raiser. That request was turned down.”

New York Times

The judge uncovered some mighty fine examples of very poor governance in her assessment of the Trump Foundation’s operation.

“Though the board was supposed to oversee the foundation’s expenditures, Mr. Trump admitted that it never met over a period of nearly two decades.

Mr. Trump agreed that any charity he becomes involved with in the future will have a majority of independent directors, lawyers with expertise in nonprofit law and an accounting firm to monitor its grants and expenses.

Q13 Fox

Ignorance of the law is no excuse and Donald Trump will doubtless file his rap over the knuckles experience as a “let’s not do that again” Post-It in his brain, while his opposition crows inaccurately that Trump “stole money from veterans”.

“Attorney General Letitia James welcomed the resolution of the case as a “major victory in our efforts to protect charitable assets and hold accountable those who would abuse charities for personal gain.”

Naturally, the Trump Foundation has a very different take on the assumption that Donald Trump personally gained from the Trump Foundation.

“The Trump Foundation said it was pleased by those decisions, claiming that the judge “recognized that every penny ever raised by the Trump Foundation has gone to help those most in need.

Trump Foundation lawyer Alan Futerfas said the nonprofit has distributed approximately $19 million over the past decade, including $8.25 million of the president’s own money, to hundreds of charitable organizations.”

Q13 Fox