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Trump businesses and inaugural committee to pay out £600,000 to settle lawsuit

The Presidential Inaugural Committee raised 107 million US dollars to host events celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)
The Presidential Inaugural Committee raised 107 million US dollars to host events celebrating Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP)

Former US president Donald Trump’s businesses and inaugural committee have reached a deal to pay Washington DC 750,000 US dollars (£600,000) to resolve a lawsuit that alleged the committee overpaid for events at his hotel and enriched the former president’s family in the process, according to the District of Columbia’s attorney general.

Attorney General Karl Racine announced the settlement agreement in the case against the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Trump Organisation and the Trump International Hotel in Washington in a tweet on Tuesday. The document had not yet been signed by a judge.

The agreement said the case was being resolved “to avoid the cost, burden and risks of further litigation” and that the organisations “dispute these allegations on numerous grounds and deny having engaged in any wrongdoing or unlawful conduct”.

As part of the agreement, the defendants will pay the District of Columbia a total of 750,000 US dollars, which will be used to benefit three nonprofit organisations, the settlement paperwork said.

“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,” Mr Racine said in a tweet.

In a statement, Mr Trump blasted Mr Racine and noted that the settlement included no admission of guilt or liability.

“As crime rates are soaring in our nation’s capital, it is necessary that the attorney general focus on those issues rather than a further leg of the greatest witch hunt in political history,” Mr Trump said.

“This was yet another example of weaponising law enforcement against the Republican Party and, in particular, the former president of the United States.”

Mr Racine has said the committee misused nonprofit funds and co-ordinated 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 Mr Trump, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Rick Gates, a top campaign official at the time.

Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka
Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The committee has maintained that its finances were independently audited, and that all money was spent in accordance with the law.

The committee raised an unprecedented 107 million US dollars (£85,000) to host events celebrating Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. But the committee’s spending has drawn mounting scrutiny.

Mr Gates, a former Trump campaign aide who co-operated 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, Mr Gates contacted Ms Trump and told her that he was “a bit worried about the optics” of the committee paying such a high fee, Mr Racine said.

Prosecutors said the committee could have hosted inaugural events at other venues either for free or for reduced costs but did not consider those options.