ERIC TRUMP CHARITY FOR CHILDREN UNDER FIRE FOR PAYING TRUMP GOLF COURSES AFTER YEARS OF FREE GOLF TOURNAMENTS
- Eric Trump has hosted charity golf tournaments since 2007, when he was 23, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
- The Eric Trump Foundation employed no staff until 2015, and its annual expense ratio averaged 13%, about half of what most charities pay in overhead
- More than $11 million in donations have been sent to that hospital, raised more than $16.3 million dollars.
- Eric was able to use a Trump golf course for free until 2011 when the charity got bigger and costs got more expensive
- President Trump in 2011 ordered the billing after he became aware about six years ago that his company had been absorbing all the huge costs.
- “The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn’t absorb all of those costs anymore
Eric Trump set up his foundation as a public charity, a classification that allows it to raise most of its money from outside donors. In 2007, when he was 23, the first Eric Trump golf tournament took place, raising $220,000. A compelling sales pitch evolved–the free golf course and the donated goods and services assured donors that every penny possible went to charity.
The Eric Trump Foundation employed no staff until 2015, and its annual expense ratio averaged 13%, about half of what most charities pay in overhead. His original seven-person board was made up of personal friends, an innocuous lot who helped sell tournament tickets, which last year ranged from $3,000 for a single all-day ticket to $100,000 for a pair of VIP foursomes.
For the first four years of the golf tournament, from 2007 to 2010, the total expenses averaged about $50,000, according to the tax filings. Not quite the zero-cost advantage that a donor might expect given who owned the club but at least in line with what other charities pay to host outings at Trump courses, according to a review of ten tax filings for other charitable organizations.
But in 2011, things took a turn. Costs for Eric Trump’s tournament jumped from $46,000 to $142,000, according to the foundation’s IRS filings. Why would the price of the tournament suddenly triple in one year? “In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club]–the bills would just disappear,” says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament’s economics. “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not–everybody gets billed.’ “
Katrina Kaupp, who served on the board of directors at the Eric Trump Foundation in 2010 and 2011, also remembers Donald Trump insisting the charity start paying its own way, despite Eric’s public claims to the contrary. “We did have to cover the expenses,” she says. “The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn’t absorb all of those costs anymore.” The Trump Organization declined to answer detailed questions about the payments. But it seems that for the future president, who Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion, a freebie to help his son directly fight kids’ cancer took a backseat to revenue.
Eric Trump wasted no time lashing out at critics on Twitter after his charity came under fire following a new report that claimed $100,000 raised for child cancer research was funneled back into the Trump Organization.
‘I have raised $16.3 million dollars for terminally ill children at @StJude with less than a 12.3% expense ratio. What have you done today?!’ Trump tweeted in response to a journalist.
Seattle-based technology journalist, Glenn Fleishman, had tweeted at Trump saying: ‘I steal from children with cancer,’ after the report was released by Forbes.
The tweet came shortly after the report claimed the Eric Trump Foundation paid the family’s Trump Organization more than $1.2 million for fundraising golf events despite Eric’s claims that the charity was able to use a Trump golf course for free.
….More than $11 million in donations have been sent to that hospital.