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Lerner writes: "Non-profit advocacy group Free Speech for People has asked New York's attorney general to investigate whether to file a lawsuit to revoke the charter of The Trump Organization for violating state business laws."

The Doorman in front of Trump tower. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)
The Doorman in front of Trump tower. (photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

New York Attorney General Reviewing Request to Bring Action to Dissolve Trump Organization

By Kira Lerner, ThinkProgress

16 February 17


An alternate legal route, when impeachment isn’t possible.

on-profit advocacy group Free Speech for People has asked New York’s attorney general to investigate whether to file a lawsuit to revoke the charter of The Trump Organization for violating state business laws.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the group and four attorneys said that the attorney general’s office has the power to revoke the corporate charter from Trump’s organization, which has violated laws that prohibit the president from receiving payments from foreign governments.

Schneiderman’s press secretary Amy Spitalnick told ThinkProgress that the attorney general’s office will review the letter.

In an FAQ document, Free Speech for People and attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ben T. Clements, and Fordham University School of Law Professor Jed Shugerman explain how Schneiderman could bring about a lawsuit.

“Under Section 1101 of New York’s Business Corporation Law, the attorney general can ‘bring an action for the dissolution of a corporation . . . [if] the corporation has exceeded the authority conferred upon it by law, or has violated any provision of law whereby it has forfeited its charter, or carried on, conducted or transacted its business in a persistently fraudulent or illegal manner, or by the abuse of its powers contrary to the public policy of the state has become liable to be dissolved.’

As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, it’s unlikely that the Republican Congress will impeach Trump for his violations of the Emoluments Clause. However, state attorneys general could hold Trump accountable through the legal system by filing lawsuits like the one Free Speech for People suggests.

This lawsuit, known as a “Quo Warranto” proceeding, would allow a judge to determine whether the corporation is a conduit for illegal activity.

New York is the ideal venue for such a lawsuit, as The Trump Organization is incorporated in the state. If Schneiderman were to succeed, the remedies under New York law could include “revoking or dissolving the corporate charter, enjoining it from exercising the illegal activity, and/or imposing a financial penalty on the corporation.”

Shugerman, who helped write the letter to Schneiderman and who explained the legal concept to ThinkProgress, said that state attorneys general have rarely brought Quo Warranto lawsuits against corporation since 1950, but noted that The Trump Organization’s situation is unique.

Schneiderman has also not shied away from holding Trump accountable for illegal activity.

He has successfully brought cases against Trump related to his foundation and to Trump University, securing a $25 million settlement for victims of his “phony university.”

In their document explaining the letter to Schneiderman, Shugerman and the advocacy group contend that The Trump Organization “flagrantly abuses its state-granted powers.” While the Office of Government Ethics told Trump in November that the only way to avoid conflicts of interest was to divest from his companies, Trump took no such action.

“The nearly ten-week transition period between the presidential election and the presidential inauguration gave Mr. Trump sufficient opportunity to sell or otherwise divest all conflict-producing interests in the Trump Organization in numerous ways,” the document says. “But despite every opportunity, the Trump Organization did not do anything remotely adequate to address these serious concerns.”

The attorneys also point to other illegal activity conducted by The Trump Organization's holdings, including housing discrimination, fraud against investors, and violations of labor and campaign finance laws.

“The company’s history, and that of its namesake, give every reason to expect that illegal activities will increase, not decrease, the longer that President Trump remains in the White House,” they wrote. your social media marketing partner


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+10 # HowardMH 2017-02-16 11:40
"As ThinkProgress reported earlier this week, it’s unlikely that the Republican Congress will impeach Trump for his violations of the Emoluments Clause". That is the understatement of the week for sure.

The Republicans are so scared of Trump's big mouth they have lost any backbone they might have had, and the Democrats never did have any backbone to loose.

I sure hope Schneiderman takes these attorneys advice, and with their help goes after Trump.
+6 # thekidde 2017-02-16 13:17
I've always believed the fraudulent Trump 'University" was b.s. enough to keep this ass out of the White House. There are too damn many low information idiots with the ability to cast a vote.
+2 # thekidde 2017-02-16 13:26
Donnie Boy sure can't say, 'I am not a crook" with this kind of information out there.
8' x 8' should contain even his gigantic ego. Don't bend over in the shower Donnie.
+8 # thekidde 2017-02-16 13:33
5 to 10 - years that is, for fraud.
+12 # Femihumanist 2017-02-16 15:16
Trump supports civil forfeiture. If he's being investigated for a crime and any of his property is involved (as it has to be), it should be seized.
+4 # thekidde 2017-02-16 15:51
Drumpf - draft dodger, pussy grabber, liar, con man - jail.
+3 # thekidde 2017-02-16 15:53
10 to 20 with no time off for any kind of behavior.
-10 # ojkelly 2017-02-16 17:06
This idea is whacko. Maybe Schneiderman gets a headline so he can try to succeed Cuomo or Schumer, but puhleeze.
George Washington sold tobacco to England. You know what happens to a dissolved corporation? Eric and Don, Jr wind up its affairs and transfer the assets to the shareholders. Now that would accomplish alot.

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