NY ethics board drops Trump complaint about attorney general

By Michael Virtanen, Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 31, 2015 at 6:31 p.m.



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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's ethics commission has dropped Donald Trump's complaint that the state attorney general engaged in misconduct during an investigation of the former Trump University.

Trump's December 2013 complaint accused Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of soliciting campaign donations from Trump's daughter even as his office was investigating the mogul's business school.

Schneiderman had sued Trump four months earlier, seeking $40 million. He alleged that the school violated consumer protection law, engaged in fraud and that most students never got their promised apprenticeships. The lawsuit is still pending.

Trump, currently seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said most student surveys rated the program as excellent.

His attorney, Alan Garten, on Monday called the decision by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics "a joke" and said they're considering an appeal.

"The decision by the commission not to proceed demonstrates that it's just a facade," he said.

Commission Chairman Daniel Horwitz, in a letter to Schneiderman's attorney this month, wrote that based on its review of material presented and available information, it wasn't taking any further action on the complaint.

In a letter sent a few days later to Trump's daughter Ivanka, Schneiderman campaign compliance director Lauren Schleyer-Hinchey wrote that the campaign was not keeping her $500 donation check written in late 2012, which became the basis of the complaint. She noted that Ivanka Trump had then indicated that neither she nor any entity she owned or controlled had any matters pending with the attorney general's office, contradicted by the affidavit she filed later in connection with her father's complaint.

Garten wrote back to Schleyer-Hinchey, saying Ivanka Trump's disclosure statement was true, that neither she nor any entity she owned or controlled has ever had matters before the attorney general's office, and Schneiderman's campaign had actively solicited her donation.

Garten said Monday that Trump University, which was renamed the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, hasn't been taking new students.

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Michael Virtanen

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