Melania Trump Placed Under Scrutiny Over NY Charity Laws

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Former First Lady Melania Trump has become a subject of a state government inquiry in Florida for selling high-dollar tickets to an event scheduled for April while promising to give a portion of the proceeds to charity — although, at least as of recently, a charity under organizational names identified in relation to the event apparently had not been registered in the state of Florida, as required by law. Ticket packages for the event, which has been billed as a “tulips and topiaries high tea,” run as high as $50,000, and it’s been claimed, The New York Times explains, ‘that some of the profits will benefit an initiative of [Melania’s] “Be Best” endeavor called “Fostering the Future,” meant to provide computer-science scholarships to young people who have been in foster care’ — but again, a registered charity under either of those names apparently hasn’t been found in Florida.

As the Times explains, discussing the event: ‘There was no indication of how much of the proceeds Mrs. Trump herself intended to pocket. Florida requires any organization that raises charitable contributions in the state to register. No charity with the name “Fostering the Future” or “Be Best” is registered in Florida.’ In addition, “officials at the Florida agency that oversees charitable fund-raising said they also could not find evidence of the required state registration and had opened an inquiry as a result,” the Times adds. The agency in question is apparently the Division of Consumer Services in the Department of Agriculture — which is technically known as the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The department is led by Nikki Fried, who’s currently the only Democrat in a Florida position that’s elected statewide. Fried is running in the Democratic primary for the state’s race for governor, hoping to take on incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis.

Erin M. Moffet, a spokesperson for the state charitable fundraising agency, said the “Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes.” A company handling Melania’s event is called Whip Fundraising, and they’ve done other work for the Trumps. Recently, Melania also launched an effort to sell off an NFT collection — NFT referring to non-fungible token and meaning a kind of digital art — and that effort doesn’t appear to have gone exactly as planned (or maybe it did; who knows). The thing is, though, that the “$170,000 purchase of an NFT collection auctioned by Melania Trump was made by the entity that originally put the NFT up for sale, according to blockchain records,” as recently summarized by Vice. Melania Trump’s team claimed that the “transaction was facilitated on behalf of a third-party buyer,” but what happened is that whoever originally set up the auction appears to have given the money for the sale to whoever made the purchase, recouping it all. That doesn’t sound like an ordinary transaction.