Monday, April 11, 2016

Donald Trump, The Operator, as Revealed by His Foundation Activities

WaPo reports:

Since the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years.

To back up that claim, Trump's campaign compiled a list of his contributions - 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages.

But, in that massive list, one thing was missing.

Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump's own money.

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Instead, according to a Washington Post analysis, many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf, given away by his courses for charity auctions and raffles.

The largest items on the list were not cash gifts but land-conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property Trump owns...

In addition, many of the gifts on the list came from the charity that bears his name, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which didn't receive a personal check from Trump between 2008 and 2014, according to the most recent public tax filings. Its work is largely funded by others, though Trump decides where the gifts go....

Some beneficiaries on the list are not charities at all: They included clients, other businesses and tennis superstar Serena Williams...

His foundation, for example, frequently gave money to groups that paid to use Trump's facilities, and it donated to conservatives who could help promote Trump's rise in the Republican Party. The foundation's second-biggest donation described on the campaign's list went to the charity of a man who had settled a lawsuit with one of Trump's golf courses after being denied a hole-in-one prize....

By extrapolation, The Post estimated that Trump claimed credit for at least 2,900 free rounds of golf, 175 free hotel stays, 165 free meals and 11 gift certificates to the spa....

Trump's list was also riddled with apparent errors, in which the "charities" that got his gifts didn't seem to be charities at all.

Trump listed a donation to "Serena William Group" in February 2015, valued at exactly $1,136.56. A spokeswoman for the tennis star said she had attended a ribbon-cutting at Trump's Loudoun County, Va., golf course that year for a new tennis center. But Trump hadn't donated to her charity. Instead, he had given her a free ride from Florida on his plane and a free framed photo of herself...

The most expensive charitable contributions on Trump's list, by contrast, dealt with transactions related to real estate.

For one, Trump counted $63.8 million of unspecified "conservation easements." That refers to legal arrangements - which could bring tax breaks - in which Trump agrees to forgo certain kinds of development on land that he owns. In California, for example, Trump agreed to an easement that prevented him from building homes on a plot of land near a golf course. But Trump kept the land, and kept making money off it. It is a driving range...

In 2013, Trump was trying to persuade the V Foundation - a cancer-fighting group founded by Jim Valvano, the college basketball coach who died in 1993 - to hold a fundraiser at his Trump Winery in Virginia.

Trump's foundation gave $10,000 to the V Foundation that summer, just when the V Foundation later said it was being wooed. He got the fundraiser.

Trump's foundation also gave to the American Cancer Society, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, all of which have held fundraisers at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla.

In 2010, a man named Martin Greenberg was playing in a charity tournament at Trump's course in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. A $1 million prize was offered to anybody who got a hole in one.

Greenberg did. But then, hours later, he was called back. The rules said the hole-in-one shot had to go 150 yards. But, according to court documents, Trump's course had made the hole too short.

Greenberg got nothing. He sued.

On the day that Trump and the other parties told the court that they had settled the case, the Donald J. Trump Foundation made its first and only donation to the Martin B. Greenberg Foundation, for $158,000. Both Greenberg and Trump's campaign declined to comment....

In 2013, Scott K. York, then the head of the Board of Supervisors in Loudoun County, came to Trump's son to ask for help. An elementary school in the county needed a $110,000 handicapped-accessible playground. York asked for $10,000. Trump's foundation gave $7,500.

A month later, the Trump Foundation gave $50,000 to the American Conservative Union Foundation. With donations to that group, Politico has reported, Trump was building a relationship that won him prime speaking slots at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a coveted venue for an aspiring Republican presidential candidate.

The full article is here.

1 comment:

  1. Very sad. But it lends more credence to the claim that Trump is, at heart, a Liberal Democrat. Celebrities in the entertainment industries - notoriously Left wing - often "donate" to charity that way. Viz, playing for "free" at a concert for a couple of hours rather than donate actual cash. In any case, a Right Winger he is not.