NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) - New York's attorney general sued U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and his foundation on Thursday, saying he illegally used the nonprofit as a personal "checkbook" for his own benefit, including his 2016 presidential campaign.
Barbara Underwood, the attorney general, asked a New York state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation and to ban Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka from holding leadership roles in New York charities.
Underwood said her office's 21-month investigation, begun under her predecessor Eric Schneiderman, uncovered "extensive unlawful political coordination" by the foundation with Trump's campaign, as well as "repeated and willful self-dealing" to benefit Trump's personal, business and political interests.
Among the transactions, the lawsuit cited as illegal was a $10,000 payment to the Unicorn Children's Foundation for a portrait of Trump purchased at a fundraising auction in 2014, and $100,000 paid to another charity to settle a legal claim in 2007.
"Mr. Trump ran the Foundation according to his whim, rather than the law," the lawsuit said. (Lawsuit https://on.ny.gov/2lbdv0V))
The lawsuit, in the state Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks $2.8 million of restitution plus penalties, a 10-year ban on Trump serving as a director of a New York nonprofit, and one-year bans for his children.
"As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his businesses to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality," Underwood said in a statement. "That is not how private foundations should function." The foundation's board of directors had not met since 1999, the lawsuit said.