University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name The People of the State of New York v. Trump PR-NY-0006
Docket / Court 451130/2018 ( State Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Special Collection Take Care
Case Summary
On June 14, 2018, the State of New York brought this lawsuit against the Donald Trump Foundation (the Foundation) and its officers, including the founder and president of the Foundation, Donald Trump, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The Foundation was a private not-for-profit ... read more >
On June 14, 2018, the State of New York brought this lawsuit against the Donald Trump Foundation (the Foundation) and its officers, including the founder and president of the Foundation, Donald Trump, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The Foundation was a private not-for-profit corporation incorporated in New York in 1987. The plaintiff alleged that Trump used the Foundation to pay off the legal obligations of entities he controlled, to promote Trump hotels, to purchase personal items, and to support his presidential campaign. Alleged acts included Trump's use of $10,000 of the Foundation's funds to purchase a portrait of himself and payments upwards of $100,000 to charitable organizations to settle claims against the Mar-A-Lago resort and Trump National Golf Club. The plaintiff sought dissolution of the Foundation as well as injunctive and declaratory relief against the defendants. It also sought monetary damages of up to double the amount of benefits improperly obtained by the defendants.

On August 30, 2018, the defendants moved to dismiss the case by arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the president and that most of the transactions supporting the claims were barred by the statute of limitations. On November 23, 2018, Judge Saliann Scarpulla denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The court held that Trump was not immune from suit under the Supremacy Clause or doctrine of separation of powers as the sitting President of the United States. The court also decided that the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the basis of the statute of limitations was moot. In addition, the court held that the plaintiff adequately stated that the defendants breached fiduciary duties, failed to properly administer foundation assets, and engaged in wrongful party transactions under the relevant New York law. 88 N.Y.S.3d 830.

On December 26, 2018 the defendants appealed the decision to the Appellate Division.

At Judge Salian Scarpulla's urging, and after months of negotiating, the parties reached a resolution on November 7, 2019. The defendants agreed to dissolve the Foundation under judicial supervision and terminate its corporate existence. The Foundation also agreed to distribute $1,782,910.92 to not-for-profit organizations approved by the court. As part of the settlement, defendants certified that they had all completed an in-person, interactive board training session pertaining to charitable organizations. Trump also agreed to reimburse $11,525 to the Foundation for the Foundation's payments for auction items at a charitable benefit.

The settlement also outlined requirements for Trump if he wished to serve as an officer or director of a charitable organization in New York. The requirements were: the organization must (1) engage counsel with expertise in not-for-profit law to advise the organization; (2) engage the services of an accounting firm to monitor the organization; (3) have a majority of board members with no familial or business ties to Trump; (4) agree to not engage in any transactions with Trump, his family members, or any entity owned by Trump or his family; (5) provide the Attorney General with annual reports for five years; (6) enact specific corporate governance procedures; and (7) maintain a working familiarity with the applicable New York rules governing charitable organizations.

The parties left to the court the question of how much Trump should owe in damages for using $2,823,000 in Foundation funds to further Trump's political campaign. Judge Salian Scarpulla, citing the fact the funds did ultimately reach charitable organizations, awarded $2,000,000 in damages. The court did not award punitive damages in light of the fact that Trump agreed to a number of proactive conditions so that this type of conduct would not occur in the future.

The case is closed.

Sichun Liu - 03/09/2019
Cedar Hobbs - 11/10/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Content of Injunction
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Training
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Donald Trump
The Donald Trump Foundation
Plaintiff Description State of New York
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2018
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Verified Petition [ECF# 1]
PR-NY-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2018
Source: State Court Website
Decision and Order on Petition [ECF# 138]
PR-NY-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2019
Source: Bloomberg Law
Stipulation of Final Settlement [ECF# 139]
PR-NY-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/07/2019
Source: Bloomberg Law
show all people docs
Judges Scarpulla, Saliann Court not on record show/hide docs
PR-NY-0006-0003 | PR-NY-0006-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fuchs, Yael (New York) show/hide docs
PR-NY-0006-0004
Shiffman, Steven (New York) show/hide docs
PR-NY-0006-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Futerfas, Alan S. (New York) show/hide docs
PR-NY-0006-0004

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -