The New York State Attorney General’s Office said it is investigating the Eric Trump Foundation after questions were raised about the charity in light of a recent media report that it paid high sums to use Trump-owned properties for fundraisers.
That A.G.’s office is the same one that has been investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation since the fall and that case remains open.
In the latest case, Forbes published an article Tuesday alleging that the Eric Trump Foundation had been using donations -- from donors who believed the money was going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-- to pay the Trump Organization hundreds of thousands of dollars for use of Trump properties during fundraisers and re-donating some funds to charities friendly with Trump interests.
"The Attorney General's office is looking into the issues raised by this report," communications director Eric Soufer said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Eric Trump said today in a statement, “During the past decade, the Eric Trump Foundation has raised over $16.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, including more than $3.6 million to St. Jude and other worthwhile causes just in 2016 alone. The Foundation intends to cooperate fully with the Attorney General's review, and looks forward to a productive and open dialogue with the Attorney General's Office to address any questions it may have.”
Forbes reported that the Eric Trump Foundation, which has suspended operations, paid the Trump family business over the past seven years for use of one of the organization’s golf courses, funds which he allegedly said were being donated nearly in full to the children’s cancer charity.
In a statement released shortly after the Forbes article was published, a spokesperson for the president's son defended the Eric Trump Foundation, which he established to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which focuses on childhood cancer and life-threatening diseases.
"During the past decade, the Eric Trump Foundation has raised over $16.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital while maintaining an expense ratio of just 12.3 percent," the statement reads. "The Eric Trump Foundation was also responsible for building a $20 million dollar ICU which treats the sickest children anywhere in the world suffering from the most catastrophic terminal illnesses."
The statement continued: "Contrary to recent reports, at no time did the Trump Organization profit in any way from the foundation or any of its activities. While people can disagree on political issues, to infer malicious intent on a charity that has changed so many lives, is not only shameful but is truly disgusting. At the end of the day, the only people who lose are the children of St. Jude and other incredibly worthy causes."