Trump settles lawsuit over inauguration funds spent at his D.C. hotel
Donald Trump's company and inauguration committee agreed Tuesday to pay $750,000 to the District of Columbia to resolve allegations that they illegally misused nonprofit funds while staging events surrounding Trump's inauguration.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine had accused the Trump Organization of overcharging Trump's inauguration committee for services at the Trump International Hotel, where more than $1 million was spent in January 2017, including for a private party for Mr. Trump's three older children.
"After he was elected, one of the first actions Donald Trump took was illegally using his own inauguration to enrich his family. We refused to let that corruption stand," Racine said in a press release. "With our lawsuit, we are now clawing back money that Trump's own inaugural committee misused."
Trump said in a press release that the settlement does not require his company or committee to admit guilt or liability. Trump's statement, which lauded his ownership of the hotel, which he is selling, also criticized Racine's investigation, claiming it was an "example of weaponizing law enforcement against the Republican party and, in particular, the former president of the United States."
"So bad for our Country!" Trump said.
The $750,000 will be given to two D.C. nonprofits that "promote civic engagement, democracy, and youth leadership," according to Racine's office.
Lee Balack, an attorney for the inaugural committee, said in a statement that the committee still disputes the allegations made by Racine's office, but settled because its "insurer determined that settlement was prudent simply to avoid the significant costs of litigating these baseless allegations through trial."
"It would have required the (committee's) insurer to spend double the amount of this insurance settlement just to try this case to verdict, and thus this modest settlement payment only makes common sense," Balack said.
The insurance company has already paid the $350,000 required by the settlement, according to a committee official.
Racine's office filed suit in 2020 and in the two years since the has deposed Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., among others in the case.
Robert Weissman, president of the nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, hailed the settlement in a statement, noting that the inauguration committee's spending budget was comprised of donations.
"The inauguration gave the Trump gang the opportunity to engage in pure self-dealing, operating on both sides of the deal — but with funds provided by others," Weissman said.
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