Trump Foundation Rigged Charity Golf Tournament to Avoid Paying $1M Hole-in-One Prize
David Fahrenthold, reporter for The Washington Post, has been hard at work on the Trump Foundation beat, investigating the foundation so doggedly he's become something of a thorn in Trump's side. And his latest story is a big one, detailing the $258,000 the charity spent to settle lawsuits—a violation of regulations against self-dealing.
But that's not why we're here.
We're here to talk about this nugget, found some 1,300 words into Fahrenthold's report:
In the other case in which a Trump Foundation payment seemed to help settle a legal dispute, the trouble began with a hole-in-one.
In 2010, a man named Martin Greenberg hit a hole-in-one on the 13th hole while playing in a charity golf tournament at Trump’s course in Westchester County, N.Y.
Greenberg won a $1 million prize. Briefly.
Later, Greenberg was told that he had won nothing. The prize’s rules required that the shot had to go 150 yards. But Trump’s course had allegedly made the hole too short.
Greenberg sued, and the foundation would eventually settle, agreeing to donate $158,000 to a charity of Greenberg's choosing. Tax documents showed that the money eventually came from the Trump Foundation.
But let's get back to the real story, here: Trump, according to this report, rigged a charity golf tournament. That's messed up!
This isn't the first time Trump has been involved in a golf controversy. But it is the first time, as far as we know, that his foundation was involved in one.
Golf aside, the self-dealing allegations are actually pretty serious. There's been no shortage of reporting—much of it from Fahrenthold—on the Trump Foundation's possibly shady practices, but in many cases the infractions have been nitpicky at best, mildly concerning at worst.
This is a bigger deal. Self-dealing is illegal, and there is what looks to be real evidence the foundation has engaged in it.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, of law firm Venable, called the allegations "really shocking."
"I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” Tenebaum told The Washington Post. “If he’s using other people’s money—run through his foundation—to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in awhile."
The Trump Foundation refuted the allegations in a statement, opening with an attack on the Clinton Foundation and disputing Fahrenthold's reporting. Here's the full statement, via The Washington Post:
In typical Washington Post fashion, they’ve gotten their facts wrong. It is the Clinton Foundation that is set up to make sure the Clintons personally enrich themselves by selling access and trading political favors. The Trump Foundation has no paid board, no management fees, no rent or overhead, and no family members on its payroll.
There was not, and could not be, any intent or motive for the Trump Foundation to make improper payments. All contributions are reported to the IRS, and all foundation donations are publicly disclosed. Mr. Trump is generous both with his money and with his time. He has provided millions of dollars to fund his foundation and a multitude of other charitable causes.
The Post's reporting is peppered with inaccuracies and omissions from a biased reporter who is clearly intent on distracting attention away from the corrupt Clinton Foundation, a vehicle for the Clintons to peddle influence at the expense of the American people. Mr. Trump personally and the Trump Foundation, however, are staying focused on their charitable giving to veterans, the police, children and other deserving recipients.
This election season has been fun.