President Trump charged his son, Eric Trump, with holding charity events at the Trump Organization's golf courses, ultimately funneling thousands of dollars intended for child cancer research into the pockets of the family business, Forbes reports. Eric Trump has long told reporters that he used the family business' courses for free:
In the beginning, use of the golf club was relatively inexpensive. For the first several years of the Eric Trump Foundation's golf invitational, which raises money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, tax filings showed expenses averaged around $50,000. But by 2011, costs jumped up to $142,000. "In the early years, they weren't being billed [for the club] — the bills would just disappear," the former membership and marketing director of Trump National Westchester, Ian Gillule, told Forbes. "Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, 'We're donating all of this stuff, and there's no paper trail? No credit?' And he went nuts. He said, 'I don't care if it's my son or not — everybody gets billed.'"
The Donald J. Trump Foundation even donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation, apparently to offset the newly bloated coasts, although that money ultimately went straight back into the Trump family's business as revenue.
Additionally, in 2011 there was a turnover on the board at the Eric Trump Foundation, where nine of the 17 members suddenly had "a vested interest in the moneymaking side of the Trump empire," Forbes writes:
Until this board turnover, the Eric Trump Foundation pretty much did what it told its donors it would: Send its money to St. Jude. But starting in 2011, more than $500,000 was redirected to a variety of other charities, many of which were personal favorites of Trump family members and several of which had nothing to do with children's cancer — but happened to become clients of Trump's golf courses. [Forbes]
"In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it's clear that the course wasn't free — that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization," Forbes writes. "Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament." Read the full report here.