Per a bombshell report in Forbes, Eric Trump’s Foundation, which has held an annual golf tournament to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for the last 10 years, has been siphoning money earmarked for cancer research back into the Trump Organization.
The lure of Eric’s golf tournament was that, because Eric could host the event on a free Trump-owned golf course with no overhead, all of the proceeds could be donated to St. Jude’s. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump told Forbes.
However, per recent filings, the courses were not free. Instead, more than $100,000 in donations was funneled through the Eric Trump Foundation back into the golf courses, ultimately showing up as revenue for the Trump Organization.
“THE COSTS FOR ERIC’S golf tournament quickly escalated. After returning, in 2012, to a more modest $59,000–while the event brought in a record $2 million–the listed costs exploded to $230,000 in 2013, $242,000 in 2014 and finally $322,000 in 2015 (the most recent on record, held just as Trump was ratcheting up his presidential campaign), according to IRS filings. This even though the amount raised at these events, in fact, never reached that 2012 high.”
“Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”
Furthermore, over the last 10 years, over $500,000 in donations to the Eric Trump Foundation – money that was promised, with no overhead costs, to help children with cancer – was re-donated to other charities. Per Forbes, many of these donations “were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.”
This mass reallocation of funds began in 2011, when the Eric Trump Foundation board went from seven independent board members to 17 board members, nine of whom were financially dependent on Eric’s father, Donald Trump.
It was at that time that the Eric Trump Foundation began re-allocating their donations to other charities – not St. Jude’s, as promised – many of whom would, in turn, host their own fundraisers at Trump-owned properties. A $5,000 donation (using misappropriated funds) to Abilis was reciprocated with the charity spending $240,000 over the next five years hosting their own tournaments at Trump properties. Abilis, of course, is just one of many examples.
According to Forbes, Donald Trump himself was responsible for billing the Eric Trump Foundation for the use of its properties, and he has also directly benefited from the illegal reallocation of funds that were supposed to help St. Jude’s. If true, the practice would violate both New York and federal law for misleading donors.
While Eric Trump began his venture as a benevolent gesture, Donald Trump’s involvement turned it into a for-profit enterprise. As the President has shown on numerous occasions, he is willing to exploit even the most vulnerable – in this case, children with cancer – for his own personal financial gain. Disgusting? Yes. But surprising? Not in the least.