New York's attorney general on Thursday sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation, President Donald Trump, and others, and is seeking to dissolve the foundation after what she called its "persistent illegal conduct" over more than a decade.
The lawsuit also accuses Mr. Trump of using the foundation's charitable assets to pay his legal bills and promote Trump businesses.
The $10,000 portrait was one of several examples of the foundation being used in "at least five self-dealing transactions", according to the attorney general's office, violating tax regulations that prohibit using nonprofit charities for private interests.
Shortly before his inauguration, Trump settled a fraud case brought against Trump University by the state attorney general's office, then run by Eric Schneiderman, for $25m.
Trump slammed the suit in series of tweets made nearly immediately after knowledge of it became public. Trump's oldest children - Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump - are also named in the lawsuit because as board members, they were legally required to make sure funds weren't being misused. "I won't settle this case!"
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Barbara Underwood said the charitable foundation had engaged in "unlawful political coordination" created to influence the 2016 election.
Trump began tweeting soon after the charges were filed, dismissing the lawsuit as the work of "the sleazy New York Democrats" and claiming the foundation "took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000".
"In 2016, the board knowingly allowed the foundation to be coopted by Trump's presidential campaign", the suit says. "Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle", he added. She's seeking to ban Trump from serving as a director of a NY not-for-profit for 10 years.
The foundation pressed the NY attorney general to withdraw the lawsuit so that it could dissolve and make remaining donations it proposed as a part of that plan.
Nevertheless, as NY attorney general Ms Underwood has significant investigatory and prosecutorial power - and if she starts flushing the bushes of some of Mr Trump's more questionable charitable activities, there's no telling what she might turn up.