(Editors note: see update below)
In a deep dive into how Donald Trump has turned his four years as president into a money-making machine cashing in on his renewed celebrity, the New York Times notes that Melania Trump is being scrutinized for selling tickets to a meet and greet with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity that doesn't appear to exist.
While noting that former first lady has already been attempting to make money by auctioning off some apparel, the Times' Shane Goldmacher and Eric Lipton reported that Melania has a "high tea" event scheduled in April in Florida that is raising eyebrows.
According to the report, "Mrs. Trump is now selling tickets to the April 'high tea,' with organizers saying that some of the profits will benefit an initiative of her 'Be Best' endeavor called 'Fostering the Future,' meant to provide computer-science scholarships to young people who have been in foster care."
With details vague as to what portion of the ticket sales will go to the former president's wife, questions are being raised about her "Fostering the Future" charity.
"Florida requires any organization that raises charitable contributions in the state to register. No charity with the name 'Fostering the Future' or 'Be Best' is registered in Florida," the Times reported with an official in the state admitting they are taking a look at the situation.
"Asked about the solicitation, officials at the Florida agency that oversees charitable fund-raising said they also could not find evidence of the required state registration and had opened an inquiry as a result," the Times report states with Erin M. Moffet, an agency spokeswoman, pointing out "the state law requiring charities to register before soliciting money."
According to Moffet, "Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes."
The Times' report also notes that Whip Fundraising is organizing the event and that a spokesperson for Melania Trump did not respond to questions about the investigation.
You can read more here.
(UPDATE): Late Saturday, former first lady Melania Trump pushed back at the NY Times story in a tweet (see below) where she stated: "Dishonest reporting at it again. Everything has been done lawfully, & all documents are in the works. Read with caution-typical corrupt media. We are working w/Bradley Impact Fund, a Donor-Advised Fund, to select charities that will receive the donations to foster children."
However, as the Times reported, Florida official Erin Moffet did tell them, "Consumer Services Division is currently investigating whether this event involves an entity operating in violation of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes."
Dishonest reporting at it again. Everything has been done lawfully, & all documents are in the works. Read with caution-typical corrupt media. \n\nWe are working w/Bradley Impact Fund, a Donor-Advised Fund, to select charities that will receive the donations to foster children.https://twitter.com/rawstory/status/1492529830931623938\u00a0\u2026— MELANIA TRUMP (@MELANIA TRUMP) 1644689438