WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia attorney general said Tuesday that his office had reached a $750,000 settlement to resolve a lawsuit that alleged former President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee overpaid for events at the Trump International Hotel to enrich the former president’s family in the process.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Attorney General Karl Racine revealed the agreement in the case against President Inaugural Committee and Trump Organization. Judges had not signed the document yet.
The agreement says the case is being resolved “to avoid the cost, burden, and risks of further litigation” and that the organizations “dispute these allegations on numerous grounds and deny having engaged in any wrongdoing or unlawful conduct.”
The settlement paperwork states that the District of Columbia will receive $750,000 from the defendants as part of the agreement. It will also benefit three non-profit organisations.
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“We’re resolving our lawsuit and sending the message that if you violate DC nonprofit law—no matter how powerful you are—you’ll pay,” Racine said in a tweet.
Racine has said the committee misused nonprofit funds and coordinated with the hotel’s management and members of the Trump family to arrange the events. He said one of the event’s planners raised concerns about pricing with Trump, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Rick Gates, a top campaign official at the time.
It maintained its independent audit of finances and insisted that every dollar was used according to law. The committee raised an unprecedented $107 million to host events celebrating Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. But the committee’s spending has drawn mounting scrutiny.
Gates, a former Trump campaign aide who cooperated in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, personally managed discussions with the hotel about using the space, including ballrooms and meeting rooms, the attorney general’s office has said. In one instance, Gates contacted Ivanka Trump and told her that he was “a bit worried about the optics” of the committee paying such a high fee, Racine said.
Prosecutors say the committee could have hosted inaugural events at other venues either for free or for reduced costs but didn’t consider those options.
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