Racine asked the judge to have the Trump Hotel refund the money so that it could be donated to charity.
DC Superior Court judge José M. López rejected one of Racine’s main arguments, ruling that the committee had not wasted its money renting the ballrooms. López noted that the “waste” claims were difficult to prove.
“It is not enough for a plaintiff to show that the defendant made a bad call or even that he was negligent,” he wrote. “Rather, ‘[t]The decision must go so far beyond the bounds of reasonable business judgment that its only explanation is bad faith. ‘ ”
But López allowed another allegation – that the nonprofit committee had embezzled assets for the private gain of the Trump family – to go ahead. Non-profit organizations are not allowed to use funds for the private benefit of their leaders.
Racine’s lawsuit in particular alleged that Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser at the time and a former senior executive of the Trump Organization, was involved in discussions about rentals and had been warned at least twice that the prices of the hotel could result in self-operation charges. against his father.
According to an email Submitted as part of Racine’s trial, Rick Gates, deputy director of the inaugural committee, told Ivanka Trump that the hotel’s $ 3.6 million proposal for space rental and food service could result in negative publicity for Trump if the committee accepted it.
López said in order to rule on Racine’s charge of so-called “private engagement,” he would need to know more about the Trump family’s involvement in the “functioning” of the committee. .
“Did the senior officials of the Trump family have the capacity to control the functioning of the [committee]? Do the members of the [committee] ignore internal recommendations to pay the Trump hotel for services that could have been offered for free? Lopez wrote.
The Trump Organization has vigorously challenged Racine’s lawsuit, calling the claims “false, intentionally misleading and riddled with inaccuracies.”
“The rates charged by the hotel were very much in line with what someone else should have paid for an unprecedented event of this enormous magnitude and reflected the fact that the hotel had just opened, had superior facilities and was centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue, ”said a statement from Trump’s Hotel Group in 2020.