(CN) – Contrary to what he’s done in the past, President-elect Donald Trump will not dip into money raised by his charitable organization - the Trump Foundation - to pay the $25 million Trump University settlement he agreed to last week.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office requested that Trump’s attorneys confirm the money Trump agreed to pay to settle the cases would not come from his charitable foundation.
Trump’s attorney Alan Garten sent a letter dated Nov. 18 – the day the settlement was announced – confirming “no part of the funding of my clients’ settlement of the New York Attorney General action or the California actions will come from any charitable foundation or other charitable entity.”
Schneiderman’s press secretary Amy Spitalnick said in an emailed statement that the attorney general “demanded written assurance that the Trump University settlement would not be paid for by any charitable entity.” Schneiderman wanted written confirmation “given Mr. Trump’s reported history of using his charity’s money to fund his and his businesses’ legal settlements.”
In September, The Washington Post reported the president-elect had dipped into his foundation’s account to settle lawsuits, to the tune of $258,000. In many of the cases cited in the Post story, Trump used Trump Foundation money to make a large donation to a charity of a plaintiff’s choosing as part of a settlement.
Notably, he settled a notorious case involving a giant flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago nightclub in Palm Beach, Florida, by agreeing to make a $100,000 donation to a veterans charity in lieu of paying city fines. But Trump sent a check from the Trump Foundation rather than his own account.
The Trump Foundation admitted Tuesday to violating the IRS’self-dealing ban. The charity is also being investigated by Schneiderman’s office
Trump agreed Friday to settle three pending lawsuits against his now-defunct real estate school Trump University, paying $21 million to settle two class actions in San Diego federal court and $4 million to settle a case brought in New York by Schneiderman. The settlement came just days before the first case – Low v. Trump University – was set to go to trial in San Diego.
Trump did not agree to any wrongdoing in settling the fraud cases brought by former Trump University students in 2010 and 2013.
The students claimed they paid upwards of $35,000 to learn insider real estate secrets from instructors purportedly handpicked by Trump. The president-elect turned out to have little involvement in the school, which his attorneys argued relied on “sales puffery” common in advertising to capitalize on Trump’s name.
The settlement will be made public and must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. About 7,000 former Trump University students will recover at least half, if not all, of what they invested to learn Trump’s real estate secrets, and could get their money in as little as a few months.
The California classes were represented by Robbins Geller attorneys Jason Forge and Rachel Jensen, who had no comment on Schneiderman’s demand regarding the settlement money.Follow @@BiancaDBruno
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