Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Were The Trumps Running A Fake Cancer Charity Out Of The Basement Of A Pizza Shop?


-by Noah

Well, the answer is no. You see, I’m just putting the above headline in a language that your average Republican voter will understand.

The truth is, no pizza shop was involved. The rest of the details of this sordid story come, not from the Republican world of “alternative facts” but from something all too horrid and real.

Last week Forbes, hardly anything even close to a liberal media outlet, published a story, “How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Into His Business.” The story, by Dan Alexander, details the Trump family’s involvement with a St. Jude charity that was ostensibly set up to raise money for children who have been struck by cancer.

Apparently, Eric Trump (I’m not sure if he’s Uday or Qusay, but, really, what’s the dif?) was running the charity and money has been diverted out of it and into the Trump family coffers per the instructions of his father. I doubt that even the Genovese or Bonano crime families ever thought of this one. But the Trumps… well, let’s just say that the Don in Donald has new meaning.

If the idea that the Trumps would siphon money out of a fund meant to help treat cancer in children isn’t a Republican wet dream, I don’t know what is. Just look at Republican attitudes towards health care. I’m willing to bet right now that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are saying to themselves
Boy that’s great. The Trumps are geniuses! We’ve got to follow their lead and get Republicans more involved in charities. Mob principles rule!
For normally adjusted people, it is hard to imagine anything worse than an innocent young child having to battle some form of cancer. A child battling cancer isn’t made any easier with treatments and medications deliberately being made well beyond the income of what politicians love to call “ordinary Americans.”

The St. Jude charity itself is real. It is very honorable, but, like anyone, it’s best to take care in who you associate with, lest you get some of the taint.

This particular Trumpian scam reportedly runs like this: Don the Con’s second son, Eric Trump (now co-head of The Trump Organization) has been holding a fundraiser at the Trump-owned Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York. The event has been held for ten years and is known as the Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational. It’s an 18-hole affair and includes dinner and a cigar spread, plus waitresses from Hooters. I’m not sure if the Hooters waitresses and the cigars are connected in any dubious forms of sideshow-style entertainment, but, who knows?

Most importantly, the event is run on behalf of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The event has done a lot of good. The news is not all bad by any means. The events have raised more than $11 million to date; another $5 million with other events.

Here’s where it goes sideways, Trump-style. Once you read this, you might have to ask yourself, what did Don the Con learn from those Atlantic City mobsters back when he started building casinos? Forbes describes the problem thusly:
The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our a assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.
“100% free of charge”? Well, no. As Forbes continues:
That’s not the case. In reviewing filings form the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free-- that the Trump Organization received payment for its use, part of the more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.
Oh, no! Say it isn’t so! Please don’t tell me that Eric Trump is lying. Damn, where do children learn these things!

Remember when Republicans made such a big deal about (brace yourself for a cold wind) The Clinton Foundation. All sorts of “Crooked Hillary” statements were made. Don the Con would not even say her real name. For him, it was always “Crooked Hillary.” It was same for FOX “News,” of course. It was virtually a year-long FOX TV series; and the goonies lapped it up.

It was another case of Trumpian projection. It was the Rovian textbook “always accuse your opponent of what you yourself are guilty of.” Back in 2004, Dubya, aka President AWOL, hypocritically used this tactic against John Kerry to great effect with his swift-boating ploy. Glenn Beck has made a career of it, and Sarah Palin loved to divert attention from her relationships with Alaskan mad bombers by accusing Barack Obama of “paling around with terrorists.”

The rest of the MSM, repeated the Clinton Foundation smear and went right along with it all. “Fair and Balanced,” one would think… oh, never mind. Back to Forbes:
Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
Let that last bit sink in. Follow the money. What does this sound like? Money comes into one account. It then goes to a second account. Then some of that money in the second account goes to another account, which serves as a source for monies that go to pay at least four groups that are paid, from that account, to hold tournaments at other Trump courses, thus profiting the Trumps in the financial benefit of publicity and renown for their courses; not to mention money coming from any excessive billing for expenses, of course.

I have to say, I never thought of golf courses as a means of potential money laundering or anything like that. Multiple foundations, yes. Drug cartels? You bet. But not golf courses. As Forbes politely says:
All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr. can be truly independent of their father.

Especially since the person who specifically demanded that the for-profit Trump Organization start billing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the non-profit Eric Trump Foundation, according to two people directly involved, was none other than the current president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Running a charity always costs the charity money, but this isn’t about St. Jude’s costs. It’s about Eric Trump’s “costs.” These “costs” started to look suspicious because, in 2011, according to the Eric Trump Foundations IRS filings, suddenly tripled in one year, going from a reasonable $46,000 to $142,000! Don the Con insisted that fees be paid despite Eric’s public claims to the contrary. If you read the entire article, it details that this was just the beginning. The fees continued to escalate as Donald Trump prepared for his campaign for president. After returning to a somewhat modest $59,000 in 2012, the fees absurdly rose to $322,000 in 2015. That’s $59,000 to $322,000 in just 3 years.

The Eric Trump Foundation has declined to respond to questions or provide an itemized list of tournament expenses. The expenses are made all the more suspicious when one considers all of the corporate donations that go, gratis, to the event. That includes free wine donated from sponsors, merchandise for the golfers, and even donated performances by D level entertainers like Dee Snider and Gilbert Gottfried.

The Forbes article also includes two illustrations that depict how the structure of the board drastically changed at the same time that the “expenses” increased. In 2007, the board went from being composed of Eric Trump and six independent board members to Eric Trump, eight independent board members, and, most importantly, eight board members who are financially dependent on Donald Trump in 2015. The “organization” had moved in.

The Trump Organization has “declined to answer” detailed questions about the demanded payments, but, as the Forbes article says “a freebie to help his son directly fight kids’ cancer took a backseat to revenue” for the organization. Said Ian Guillule, who has twice served as the membership and marketing director at the Trumps’ Westchester course:
I can’t believe that his dad is billing him for a charitable outing. But that’s what they wanted.
This sort of game playing by the Donald J. Trump Foundation is not at all unusual. In the recent past alone, there have been stories about using charity money to settle a business lawsuit, make political donations to himself, and even buy a giant painting of Don the Con himself. During the campaign, Trump businesses reportedly billed the campaign, fueled by the donations of his supporters, more than $11 million for the use of chefs, private aircraft, and properties.

Given the already amply demonstrated cavalier attitude that Trump and his party have against healthcare issues: things like carcinogens in our air, food, and water, taking meals away form elderly folks, and even being able to think nothing of throwing a couple of switches that fill an American city’s water supply with lead, it shouldn’t be so shocking that the Trumps would fiddle with a charity devoted to curing cancer in children. It’s down to what kind of person one chooses to be. What else should we expect from a party votes to take healthcare away from over 20 million American citizens. Those who continue to embrace and support the Trumps are as sick in the head and sick in the soul as Trump himself. The same goes for his party, especially its other leaders. Evil is as evil does.

Ideally, those investigating the president will do so fully, but, I won’t hold my breath. Washington proved to my generation that it was a corrupt fraternity the day Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon (as if the Viet Nam war and the Warren Commission hadn’t shown us that already).

When I first brought up the idea for this post to Howie, he suggested that the charity scam might be fair game for any lawyer who gets to question him or depose him, now that he has sworn, "100%," to testify under oath regarding the Comey situation. Of course, his promise to testify under oath will probably go the way of so many of his other promises, such as releasing his tax returns. Once they’ve got you under oath, all sorts of questions start getting thrown on the table. This scam in itself tells us why Trump doesn’t want us to see those tax returns.

Just imagine the daily headlines as lawyers ask Trump about his reneging on deals with contractors, three card monte tax scams, visa games for under-aged Russian models… And what about all that money from Russian oligarchs and the talk of money laundering through Russian banks and elsewhere. The charity golf tournament scam offers a little crack in the door view as to how the whole Trump empire goes about its business. This is a lot more than bad-mouthing Qatar when they wouldn’t pave the way for a few of Don the Con’s business enterprises moving into their country. The headline possibilities are virtually endless, but, until they happen, they are just dreams.

My favorite dream right now is that the Trumps end up destitute, with Donald forced to run a loaded-dice crap game in a scummy alley to make ends meet, or, better yet, running a three card monte table on Fifth Avenue, in front of the building that once bore his name in fake gold.

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At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... um... DUH!!! This kind of fraud has been ongoing for longer than the drumpfsterfire babies have been involved. Pops drumpf taught the orange-utang all he knew about fraud and the drumpfsterfire has expanded a lot of it. Starts with not paying contractors and goes from there.

But, dear DWT, just because the orange-utang and family are guilty of frauds does NOT mean the Clinton foundation was not ALSO a vehicle for enriching themselves AND selling future governmental favors.

Contrasting one fraud against the false inference of purity of what is also a fraud is truly beneath you... isn't it? Kind of renders this piece moot.

At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Pats said...

No, it doesn't render this piece moot. You're saying it's ok for Drumpf to do it because Hilary allegedly did it. (Also, I don't think anyone has ever accused the Clintons of using their foundation to launder money)

No matter who else may have done it, it's not ok. And IF the Clinton Foundation is being run fraudulently, then it should be prosecuted. However, my guess is that if there was anything there to prosecute, it would have been done already. Remember "Lock her up!!" ?

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Follow the money. That is it in a nutshell for Mueller. And remember, most of this stuff was going on way before Trump ran for office, so the trail must be a mile wide and a mile deep. it is a highway to Russia, with clear road signs pointing the way.

I agree, with Anonymous above - the best thing that could happen is the ruination of the Trump brand. That would stick it to him and his awful family. Their empire should fall flat on its face.

Will democracy and the law actually stand and save up from this monster, the Republican party and half of the Dems? We need a Bernie in office - someone with morality and principle who is not in love with greed and money. Yay to the British for supporting Corbyn.

At 12:02 AM, Anonymous Michael Simmons said...

Meanwhile, if you're black and sell untaxed cigarettes, the cops strangle you on the street.

Thanks Noah -- I'd seen this referenced, but didn't know the details.

At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pats, no that was not my point.

My point was that this writer was using a false INequivalency to help prove his point. I believe that the modicum of actual journalism about the foundation provides more than a prima facia case that it is a way for big donors, many of them foreign governments, to buy policy favors from the Clintons and their acolytes.

And, no, the reason it hasn't been prosecuted is those same donors are also big donors to Rs or are allies that fellate this admin (like the Saudis, for only one) or are key partners in fighting isis and selling oil.

And finally, the "lock her up" chant was about her unsecure e-mail server.

At 7:20 AM, Blogger Erik Lindgren said...

I think we're all ready for a 2.0 upgrade term for Alternative Facts ... How about "Altered Facts," which seems to be the accepted direction in this Trumpharcian reality. Uncloaking DT's tax returns "by any means necessary" (to quote Malcolm X) must be paramount in exposing his charlatan financial practices.

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no such things as "alternate facts" nor "altered facts".

There are facts and there are NON-facts, which are lies, delusions, dreams, hallucinations and so on.

Facts are objectively provable. Lies, etc, are objectively DIS-provable.

When you accept the bastardization of language puked up by charlatans and morons who are lying, know they are lying, but yet don't want to admit they are lying, you affirm their power over you and acquiesce to it.

The 1.0 term is "lies". period. no need for an upgrade to this FACT.


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