Trump’s nonprofit inaugural committee paid $49K bill his private company left unpaid alleges DC AG Karl Racine
As per a new report on Monday, January 11, Donald Trump’s private business failed to pay a $49,000 hotel bill incurred during his 2017 inaugural event. Following that, the bill went to a collections agency. Trump’s nonprofit inaugural committee reportedly agreed to pay the charge instead.
D.C. attorney general Karl A. Racine, last January, sued Trump’s inaugural committee and business, alleging that the committee violated its nonprofit status by spending more than $1 million to book a ballroom at Trump’s D.C. hotel, despite knowing it was overpriced. The committee had allegedly booked the Trump International Hotel ballroom for $175,000 a day, plus more than $300,000 in food and beverage costs. In December last year, Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, was deposed by the Attorney General's office as part of the ongoing lawsuit.
According to the Washington Post, Racine said in a new filing that the president’s inaugural committee had improperly paid a bill it did not owe, using nonprofit funds to pay a bill owed by a for-profit business. “The Trump Organization was liable for the invoiced charges,” the filing said. “The [Inaugural Committee’s] payment of the invoice was unfair, unreasonable, and unjustified and ultimately conferred improper private benefit to the Trump Organization.”
As per the report, the rooms at the Loews Madison Hotel were reserved by a Trump Organization employee, who was an assistant to Donald Trump Jr. The contract was reportedly executed “on behalf of the Trump Organization” by Gentry Beach, a friend of Donald Trump Jr., who was not a Trump Organization employee.
In late January 2017, the Madison Hotel reportedly sent the Trump Organization an invoice of $49,358.92 for the rooms. But the bill went unpaid until July when a collections agency in Arizona called the Trump inaugural committee. Rick Gates, an official on the inaugural committee, directed the committee to pay it.
Beach, who allegedly executed the contract, told the Washington Post that he knew nothing about the rooms or the bill. “I know nothing of the rooms, did not use the rooms, have no idea who would have,” Beach said, adding that he had “no idea” why his name was on the contract. “I can only guess someone put it there as a placeholder.”
Racine alleges that the inaugural committee broke that law by paying Trump’s private business and also by paying off a bill it owed. “The [inaugural committee] knew, and continues to know, that the amounts it paid under the Loews Madison invoice for legal obligations incurred by the Trump Organization were for charges the [inaugural committee] had not approved or authorized, and for prohibited private purposes,” he said. He has also asked a D.C. Superior Court judge to direct that the $1 million paid to Trump’s hotel, and the $49,000 used to pay off the Trump Organization’s debts, be given to charity.
In 2018, Trump was accused of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation, another tax-exempt charity, to pay $258,000 in legal settlements for his for-profit businesses. That case ended with a judge ordering Trump to pay $2 million in damages.