LIKE AUTUMN LEAVES, sponsored Cadillacs, Ferraris and Maseratis descend on the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, in September for the Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational. Year after year, the formula is consistent: 18 holes of perfectly trimmed fairways with a dose of Trumpian tackiness, including Hooters waitresses and cigar spreads, followed by a clubhouse dinner, dates encouraged. The crowd leans toward real estate insiders, family friends and C-list celebrities, such as former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry and reality housewife (and bankruptcy-fraud felon) Teresa Giudice.The next sentence says it all in it's Trumpian-glory:
The real star of the day is Eric Trump, the president's second son and now the co-head of the Trump Organization, who has hosted this event for ten years on behalf of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. He's done a ton of good: To date, he's directed more than $11 million there, the vast majority of it via this annual golf event. He has also helped raise another $5 million through events with other organizations.
The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity's efficiency: Because he can get his family's golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. "We get to use our assets 100% free of charge," Trump tells Forbes.
That's not the case.Early on, it was so. But by 2011 (if I am reading the piece right) the board of the Eric Trump foundation was overweighed by people whose finances were intertwined with Donald Trump's. At that point, the son's charity was paying for the privilege of playing at the father's golf course.
But look at what happened during the transition:
At first the extra bills did not cost the Eric Trump Foundation anything. Shortly before the spike in costs, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation--a gift explicitly made, according to Gillule, to offset the increased budget. Thus, the Eric Trump donors were still seeing their money go to work for kids along the same lines as previous years.So let's follow the money. At some point, someone donated some cash to the Donald J. Trump foundation thinking that it would go to some good use. The Donald foundation then turned around and donated 100 large to the Eric Trump Foundation to cover the latter's cost of using Donald's golf course. The golf course would then then get reimbursed that amount for the use of said golf course and the money would go into (now wait for it) Donald J Trump's deep and dirty pockets.
The Eric Trump Foundation declined to comment on that donation. In effect, though, this maneuver would appear to have more in common with a drug cartel's money-laundering operation than a charity's best-practices textbook. That $100,000 in outside donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation (remember: Trump himself didn't give to his own foundation at this time) passed through the Eric Trump Foundation--and wound up in the coffers of Donald Trump's private businesses.
But that was just the beginning.
THE COSTS FOR ERIC'S golf tournament quickly escalated. After returning, in 2012, to a more modest $59,000--while the event brought in a record $2 million--the listed costs exploded to $230,000 in 2013, $242,000 in 2014 and finally $322,000 in 2015 (the most recent on record, held just as Trump was ratcheting up his presidential campaign), according to IRS filings. This even though the amount raised at these events, in fact, never reached that 2012 high.Trump the father was charging Trump the son for lots and lots of stuff related (and perhaps not related) to this charity event. Charity money funneled to the Trump Organization.
It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.