On Tuesday, Forbes reported that Eric Trump has diverted more than $1 million donations to his kids-cancer charity to Trump golf courses. These costs were incurred during the Eric Trump Foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. But according to charity experts, “the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”
The golf fundraiser was marketed as an opportunity for donors to have nearly their entire gift go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, since the golf and other services were provided free of charge.
A former employee of the club, however, told Forbes that beginning in 2011, the charity was charged for the use of course and other services. Ian Gillule, membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester, said the club began billing Eric Trump’s foundation after Donald Trump “had a cow.”
“I don’t care if it’s my son or not — everybody gets billed,” Donald Trump said, according to Gillule.
The payments by the charity to the Trump Organization for its one-day tournament were also confirmed by a former member of the Eric Trump Foundation board. And the payments increased dramatically over time — from $46,000 in 2011 to $322,000 in 2015.
Eric Trump appears to have gone to significant lengths to cover up these payments. Last year, he told Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold that none of the money actually went to the Trump Organization. Rather, Eric Trump insisted, the money was simply passed from the Trump Organization to “to cover the cost of outside vendors.”
In July, Eric Trump excoriated Fahrenthold for even suggesting otherwise:
Eric Trump also criticized The Post for a recent blog post — and recent Twitter messages by this reporter — about a payment made by the Eric Trump Foundation to one of Donald Trump’s golf courses.
“It’s disgusting. It is so disgusting what’s happening,” Eric Trump said. “I’m saving dying children. We do tremendous good for people. And you’re sitting there tearing us apart.”
Eric Trump flatly said the Trump Organization made “zero” from the charity event. This claim is now directly contradicted by a club employee and a Eric Trump Foundation board member.
In a statement sent to Fahrenthold late Tuesday, Eric Trump said the Trump Organization did not “profit” from the golf fundraiser.
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) June 6, 2017
Eric Trump did not repeat his claim that the money was only used to pay outside vendors. The controversy sullies an otherwise laudable effort to raise significant money for pediatric cancer research and treatment.
Questions about Eric Trump’s credibility come as Trump’s son has become a prominent surrogate for his father’s presidency. On Tuesday morning, he appeared on ABC and called the investigation into his father’s campaign and Russian interference with the election a product of “the greatest hoax of all time.”