I’m surprised this is only getting attention now. It’s not just that Donald Trump essentially ripped off his own Foundation to settle business disputes – and in doing so cheated taxpayers who give his Foundation preferential tax treatment. The nature of one of the disputes itself is almost as amazing. This isn’t just some prosaic or mundane legal dispute. It’s a classic Trump cheat.
Trump had a golf tournament and there was a $1 million prize if you hit a hole in one. Easy offer to make. Hole in ones aren’t very common. But a guy named Martin Greenberg did it, ironically on the 13th hole. Unfortunately Trump refused to pay up.
The dispute turned on a seeming technicality: the rules said a hole in one had to travel at least 150 yards. And the Trump golf course folks apparently set the markers at the tee just under 150 yards. It’s like something a carney pulls after you’ve obviously won the big stuffed animal. But whatever the precise facts, that was the essence of the dispute.
Greenberg eventually sued and the settlement was that Trump agreed to pay out $158,000. He made that payment out of his Foundation. There was a separate, unrelated payment out of the Foundation coffers, tied to the height of a flagpole at Mar-a-Lago down in Palm Beach, Florida.
In its own way, cheating this guy is almost more offensive than stealing from the Foundation.