Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Back in 2013, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's political action committee for re-election, And Justice For All, accepted a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation. That foundation was just shut down by a court in New York for illegal activity.
Trump Foundation lawyer Alan S. Futerfas signed a stipulation
Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court agreeing to "dissolve under judicial supervision, with review and approval by the Attorney General. The agreement also allows the New York attorney general's office to review the recipients of the charity's assets.
"Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more, said New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood. "This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests."
Today's decision calling for the dissolution of the Trump Foundation is just one aspect of the attorney general's ongoing civil lawsuit
, which is also seeking $2.8 million in restitution and penalties for violations of campaign finance laws and gross abuse of its tax exempt status.
The lawsuit also seeks a permanent ban on Trump and his three eldest children from ever serving on the board of any other New York nonprofit.
"This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone," added Attorney General Underwood. "We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law."
The $25,000 donation to Bondi, which she personally solicited and was among Trump's largest political donations, came shortly after the state of New York launched an investigation into Trump University and its affiliates.
Ultimately, Bondi chose not to pursue the lawsuit despite the university's many local ties, citing a lack of complaints from Florida residents, and a special investigation led by a state attorney appointed by Republican Governor Rick Scott unsurprisingly found "no suspicious activity."
However, a lawsuit
in 2016 determined that the donation was unlawful and ordered Trump to pay the IRS a $2,500 fine and refund the $25,000 back to the Foundation from his personal wealth. Bondi later allowed Trump to host a $3,000-per-head fundraiser in her honor at Mar-a-Lago, which according to the New York Times
raised at least $50,000.
Last July, CNN released an audio recording
between Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen that appeared to also involve Bondi and a discussion about the lawsuit against Trump University. Bondi claimed she was not part of the conversation.
Besides donating to Bondi, Trump also used his foundation to pay a Florida charity called the Fisher House Foundation $100,000 to resolve disputes between the city of Palm Beach and his "winter White House" resort Mar-a-Lago. The Trump Foundation also purchased a $10,000 painting of Trump that was displayed at his Doral golf club.
We've reached out to Bondi for comment and will update this story when she responds.
Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.