We may not know the status of Donald Trump’s bank account until courts force him to release his elusive tax returns, but we do know that — however full his coffers may be — they are considerably lighter than last month.
First, Trump was forced to pay $2 million in a settlement with New York state last week after finally admitting in court that his tax-exempt charity, the Trump Foundation, had misused the charity’s funds for multiple personal expenses including the payment of the debts of his for-profit businesses, supporting his 2016 presidential campaign, and buying a painting of himself to hang at one of his golf resorts.
Now, Trump’s Scottish golf resort, the Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited is being forced to pay the Scottish Government £225,000 in legal fees after losing a bitter three-year court battle to try to stop the development of an off-shore wind farm that will provide clean, renewable energy to the surrounding areas, but according to Trump will spoil the scenic views from his resort and cause cancer to boot.
Trump lost the battle over the construction of the renewable energy plant nearly four years ago, but the battle over who would be responsible for the considerable legal costs involved in the litigation Trump initiated lasted until nine months ago when the British Court of Session ruled that the Trump Organization was responsible for the Scottish Government’s costs.
Faced with the prospect of having the damages determined by a court-appointed auditor, the Trump Organization decided to settle with the Scottish Government for £225,000 — about $289,000 in U.S. dollars — to cover the legal costs involved. The Trump International Scotland resort in Balmedie has lost money for seven straight years with cumulative losses totaling over £9.4 million or about $120.5 million in U.S. currency.
Environmentalists in Scotland gloated over Trump’s capitulation.
“Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said : ‘Trump has attempted to avoid any responsibility over the impact of his developments and bullied anyone who has tried to stand in his way, so I’m delighted his business is being forced to compensate Scotland for his failed legal challenges. Hopefully this high-profile case will encourage all developers to consult, include and listen to communities rather than bully them,’” Scottish newspaper, The Scotsman reported.
“Welcoming confirmation of the settlement, Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, congratulated the Scottish Government for ‘resisting repeated attempts’ to stop the ‘popular and much needed’ renewable scheme.”
“He added: ‘A positive gesture would be for this money recouped from Donald Trump to be committed into programmes which support the growth in community-owned renewables. Scotland needs to continue its growth in clean, reliable renewable energy as we transition away from fossil fuels to a zero carbon economy.“
With Trump on a losing streak that also includes the latest court strike down of his attempts to prevent his tax returns from being revealed, one can only hope that his slump of losses extends to his impeachment battle in Congress. With “loser” one of the president’s favorite epithets, it’s gratifying to see the term so accurately used to describe Trump himself.
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Original reporting by Martyn McLaughlin at The Scotsman.