The president slammed the suit in a pair of tweets Thursday, writing that “New York Democrats ... are doing everything they can to sue me,” and vowing not to settle.
Underwood's predecessor, Democrat Eric Schneiderman, began investigating the foundation in 2016 following Washington Post reports that its spending personally benefited the presidential candidate. Schneiderman ordered the foundation to stop fundraising in New York. He resigned last month after allegations that he abused women he had dated surfaced. He denied the claims.
Investigators said in a 41-page petition filed in court Thursday that Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski strategically ordered that foundation grants be given to nonprofit organizations in Iowa ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucuses. At least five $100,000 grants were given to Iowa nonprofits at Lewandowski's behest, according to authorities.
Investigators said Trump also used foundation funds to pay off his legal obligations and to promote Trump hotels and businesses.
The president is accused of using at least $258,000 of the foundation’s money to settle legal claims against his Mar-A-Lago resort and the Trump National Golf Club. Authorities said he also used $10,000 to buy a painting of himself at a charity auction.
Trump repaid the funds after authorities launched their probe of the Trump Foundation, Underwood said.
None of the payments were approved by the foundation’s board of directors, which includes the president’s children Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, officials said. The board has not met since 1999, according to Underwood.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.