Eric Trump’s charitable foundation seems to have paid the Trump Organization hundreds of thousands of charitable dollars, Forbes reported in a lengthy investigation published Tuesday, despite Trump’s claims that the Trump Organization did not charge the foundation for use of its golf courses.
Eric Trump has undoubtedly been generous in raising millions for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through charitable golf tournaments. But in reviewing IRS filings, Forbes found hundreds of thousands of dollars that the Trump Organization seems to have received from charitable organizations — including the Eric Trump Foundation.
Forbes also found a pattern of more than $500,000 in Eric Trump Foundation donors’ contributions being re-donated to other charities, many connected to the Trump family. At least four groups in turn paid the Trump Organization for the use of its golf courses for their own tournaments.
In an interview with Forbes for the story, Eric Trump said on two separate occasions that the Trump Organization, which he currently manages with his brother while his father serves as President, didn’t charge his charity for the use of its amenities.
However, Forbes found a spike in expenses for the charity tournament consistent with a former foundation board member and a Trump Organization employee who said the foundation began paying the Trump Organization to use its courses.
Forbes also reported that, just as costs spiked, the Donald J. Trump Foundation — the President’s own shadowy charity, to which he hasn’t personally donated since 2008 — donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation. One person Forbes interviewed who worked for the the Trump National Westchester at the time said the money was meant to offset the increased costs, and, therefore, meant to end up in the Trump Organization’s coffers.
From 2007, shortly after Eric Trump graduated from Georgetown, to 2010, Forbes reported, total expenses for the lavish annual golf tournament averaged $50,000. But in 2011, according to Eric Trump Foundation IRS filings analyzed by the publication, costs jumped.
In 2011, the charity tournament’s bill was $142,000, a more-than-three-fold-increase. Costs rose in later years: $230,000 in 2013; $242,000 in 2014; and $322,000 in 2015; despite none of the three later years bringing in more money, Forbes reported, than the 2012 tournament, which raised $2 million with just $59,000 in costs.
Eric Trump told the publication that expenses for tournaments were largely comped by the Trump Organization, or donated. The foundation declined to provide an itemized list of expenses to Forbes.
A spokesperson for Eric Trump said in a statement to TPM Wednesday:
During the past decade, the Eric Trump Foundation has raised over $16.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital while maintaining an expense ratio of just 12.3 percent. The Eric Trump Foundation was also responsible for building a $20 million dollar ICU which treats the sickest children anywhere in the world suffering from the most catastrophic terminal illnesses. Contrary to recent reports, at no time did the Trump Organization profit in any way from the foundation or any of its activities. While people can disagree on political issues, to infer malicious intent on a charity that has changed so many lives, is not only shameful but is truly disgusting. At the end of the day the only people who lose are the children of St. Jude and other incredibly worthy causes.
In interviews, people with ties to the Eric Trump Foundation and the Trump Organization linked the spike to payments made to the Trump Organization, despite Eric Trump’s claims to the contrary. Around the same time, Forbes reported, the foundation’s board was dramatically reconstituted to include 14 new members, “the majority of whom owed all or much of their livelihoods to the Trump Organization.”
This post has been updated.