Using funds from a charity organization to benefit oneself personally is not just reprehensible; it’s illegal. That’s exactly what Donald Trump did with the Trump Foundation, though, in 2010.
At the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, New York, one charity golf game included the opportunity for a lucky contestant to try his hand at a hole-in-one. The prize was to be a grand total of a cool $1 million.
That contestant was Martin Greenberg, CEO of Sterling Commodities Corporation. These types of competitions are common in charity golf games, but actually getting a hole-in-one is rare. Even so, clubs like Trump’s generally purchase insurance to cover the prize on the off chance that the contestant actually makes it.
Greenberg made it.
He was immediately congratulated by former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, whose charity was also hosting the event.
A little more than an hour later, however, Greenberg was called in to meet with the insurance company covering the prize. Because the rules stipulated that the distance between the tee and the winning hole had to be at least 150 feet and Greenberg’s tee, placed by Trump’s club, was less than that distance, they informed the CEO that he would not receive the $1 million prize that was intended for his charity.
Greenberg sued the Trump National Golf Club, and Donald “I Never Settle” Trump settled the case for $168,000. It is the source of that money that began the legal woes of the Trump Foundation. Trump used donor money from that foundation to pay off that settlement.
That is illegal.
It is illegal, not to mention dishonest and disgusting, to use funds that donors gave with the intention of helping a charitable organization in order to settle the legal woes of a private business, or to use those funds in any way other than donors were informed that they would be used.
While Trump’s supporters have so far been apathetic to his cheating taxpayers out of their $885 million in tax breaks that the real estate mogul used to make himself incredibly wealthy, and they’ve been silent on the fact that Trump cheated on his first two wives with his second two wives, Trump’s illegal misuse of charity funds shine a very particular spotlight on their hypocrisy.
As Trump traveled around the country, crowing to anyone who would listen about “pay-for-play” schemes in Hillary Clinton’s signature foundation, he forgot to mention Pam Bondi, or Citizens United, or the Trump National Golf Club, not to mention how money from the Trump Foundation was used illegally in all three instances.
This makes him a con man and a hypocrite, but it also makes hypocrites of his supporters who call out “Hillary for prison!” while supporting the worst type of cheat.
Featured image via Getty/Jeff J Mitchell