A groundbreaking new investigation by Forbes suggests that the Eric Trump Foundation funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into Trump-owned businesses. If true, that would mean that donors were misled about where their money was actually going.
To give some context, every year, the Eric Trump Foundation hosts a golf tournament at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York. It is a fundraising event that benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Since the event is hosted on a Trump-owned golf course, Eric Trump claimed that he was able to use the property for free.
“We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump told Forbes.
But that turned out not to be true, as tax filings show that the Eric Trump Foundation did in fact pay to use the family-owned golf courses—to the tune of $1.2 million.
Ian Gillule, former membership and marketing director at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, said that while the foundation used to be able to use the golf course for free, that all changed when Donald Trump got wind of it.
“In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club]. The bills would just disappear,” Gillule told Forbes. “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not—everybody gets billed.'”
But that’s not the only fib that Eric Trump told. Eric Trump also told Forbes, “Our expenses on a tournament that made us somewhere in the $2 million range every year was somewhere around 100 grand.” But tax records show that costs soared as high as $322,000.
“They were wearing two hats,” said Patrick Langan, who worked at the golf club from 2006–2015. “You’re dealing with people talking about the event and the charity who also at the same time are thinking about it as a corporation and as a business. It’s a for-profit club. You know, they’re trying to make money.”
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