Donald Trump defense attorney Alan Futerfas told a New York City judge that his client had no choice but to spend $10,000 out of the Donald J. Trump Foundation money to buy a 6 ft. painting -- of Donald Trump, New York Post reported Thursday.
“So Mr. Trump donates $10,000 to start the bidding, and then when the bidding goes on and no one else bids, they’re stuck with the painting,” Futerfas told Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Saliann Scarpulla.
Why the purported billionaire used charity money to buy a painting of himself is one aspect of a lawsuit that Futerfas was seeking to have dismissed.
New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation, President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump for violating state law governing charity organizations.
Assistant Attorney General Yael Fuchs said the Trump Foundation was “used to collect and distribute funds at the direction and for the benefit of the Trump campaign.”
“I think it’s beyond dispute that these were improper self-dealing transactions,” Fuchs said.
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explained the stakes of the case during a June appearance on CNN.
“The board of directors never met, and hasn’t met in I think 19 years, since 1999. It was a foundation that over, and over again backed up by specific pieces of evidence, by e-mail and documents, and by very credible, concrete allegations was used as a funnel to pay off legal debt, to various charities, or to further his political campaign,” he said. ” It’s clear as black and white, it’s not supposed to engage in politics.”
“There are allegations after allegations that this foundation was basically a front for Donald Trump, and his business interests to do what they pleased. It’s not a large foundation given that Donald Trump is a billionaire, yet you see the foundation didn’t have any employees," he continued. "It didn’t have any oversight. It was governed on a whim.”