According to a report by the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump directed over $2.3 million in personal income be deposited in his private charity where it would not be subject to being taxed.
Trump — who has been accused of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation as a private piggy bank to pay legal bills and purchase personal items — instructed Comedy Central to send his $400,000 appearance fee for appearing on a 2011 “roast” to the charity.
According to tax experts, money paid to Trump in the form of compensation or gifts would likely be taxable giving the charity the appearance of a tax shelter.
In addition to the money from Comedy Central, the Trump Foundation was also the recipient of nearly $1.9 million from New Yorker Richard Ebers who re-sells hard-to-get tickets and opportunities to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences to wealthy clients.
According to the WaPo’s sources, Ebers was also instructed to divert the money to the foundation.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign denied that the New York businessman was stashing money in the non-profit to avoid taxes.
“He’s never directed fees to the foundation,” explained Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to Trump, adding that what Trump did was provide a service and then suggest that the other party make a donation to a charity of their choosing.
“He’s waived fees from time to time,” Epshteyn said. “He’s never directed it to a specific charity.”
After being presented with the Comedy Central and Ebers payments, Epshteyn acknowledged the Comedy Central case had occurred but refused to comment on the others.
“To my knowledge, Mr. Trump has followed all applicable rules and regulations,” Epshteyn wrote in an email. “The rest is pure speculation and worthless conjecture on your part.”
To date, Trump has refused to show his tax returns which could help clear up questions about his finances by saying he is still under audit — although only for the past two years.