Taking a cue from his shady father, Eric Trump’s “charity foundation” spent one of every eight dollars raised at his father’s hotel and gold properties totaling $885,000 over a ten year period, funneling nearly a million dollars back to the Trump family businesses. The Eric Trump Foundation also promised all donations would go to St. Jude’s hospital (click here to donate directly), but bought yet another portrait of the orange-faced Republican nominee, and also donated $15,000 to a charity that promotes body shaming by paying for sadly self-concious children to get plastic surgery.
The Eric Trump Foundation (ETF) raised $6.5 million dollars in ten years, and claimed a far lower expense ratio to The Daily Beast which revealed the charade, debunking Eric Trump’s statements that the charity “leveraged” the family’s realty holdings. In fact the ETF paid full price for use of his family’s properties. The foundation appears to have misled the IRS in its application for non-profit status as well. There is video (see below) from earlier this year of Eric Trump – who is also a top Trump campaign advisor and surrogate to the Republican nominee – that shows him deceiving donors by saying:
“We’re so lucky as Trumps to have the best hotels in the world, to have the best golf courses in the world, and other great assets, and we’re so lucky to be able to use those assets at our disposal for a great purpose. And that’s really what ETF is,” Eric says in a 2016 video. [See Below]. In its IRS application for tax exemption, an ETF representative wrote, “The Foundation is fortunate in that our chairman’s family owns three golf courses in New York and New Jersey that we can utilize.” Concerning the fundraiser’s yearly silent auction, it said, “All auction prizes will be donated.”
But that’s not the end of the lies. The ETF’s director claimed that 100% of donations went to St. Jude’s Hospital, but the reality is that checks have been cut for variouss purposes including some of the shameless self-dealing that Trump charities have recently become famous for perpetrating:
Though the Eric Trump Foundation’s website says, “We exclusively support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” that isn’t the case. In 2012, ETF began donating in earnest to other causes, cutting small checks to 40 individual charities in addition to the outsize donation given to the children’s hospital. Some of these small donations—like the $1,600 to the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, a California wine industry organization where Eric Trump once gave a keynote address—have seemingly little to do with the charity’s mission of helping sick children.
By 2013, it had given $15,000 to The Little Baby Face Foundation, a controversial charity run by a Manhattan plastic surgeon that provides surgery for children with big noses, large ears, and other more serious facial deformities so they can face bullies at school—one which critics have warned sends a warped message to such young children.
Despite the claim that all the gifts in ETF’s silent auction would be donated, the foundation also paid $25,000 to an artist’s foundation in exchange for a portrait of Donald Trump that was sold at the 2012 Golf Invitational—to Eric Trump, who hung it over his livingroom sofa. Eric Trump did not respond to a request for comment seeking the purchase price.
If there is one thing the Trump family loves, it’s a profitable business based on charitable donations. In just the last two weeks it has been revealed that Donald Trump’s Foundation collected millions of dollars without required New York State registration and audits, paid the Republican nominee’s legal settlements, funneled $2.3 million dollars of the developer’s pre-tax income and bought not one, but two portraits of the demagogue. That’s the same Trump Foundation that caused the billionaire to pay an IRS fine for the illegal political bribe paid to Republican Pam Bondi the Florida Attorney General who suddenly decided to ignore the Trump University scam.
Like father, the son misleads charitable donors and the entire Trump family is living well on the profit margin generated by raising money for sick children.
If you would like to donate directly to St. Jude’s Hospital online directly, please click here.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition