Celebrity developer Donald Trump has filed two ethics complaints against state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, accusing him of misconduct.
Trump says the Democratic attorney general solicited campaign donations from Trump's daughter even as Schneiderman's office was investigating the real estate mogul's 'Trump University', according to the complaints.
Schneiderman hasn't solicited Trump for a campaign contribution since he took office in January 2011, according to a spokesman. And while Schneiderman says he met socially with Ivanka Trump and her husband, neither is an official of Trump University, and anyone who contributes must certify he or she has no matters under investigation by the attorney general's office, the spokesman said.
In August, Schneiderman sued Trump and his business school for $40 million. Schneiderman said the school engaged in persistent fraud and illegal and deceptive conduct and violated federal consumer-protection law. In a conflict that was nasty from the start, Schneiderman said then that "no one, no matter how rich or famous they are, has a right to scam hard-working New Yorkers."
Trump, who is considering a run for governor as a Republican, filed complaints this month with two state ethics panels, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the state Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. Schneiderman has appointees and staff working for the Moreland Commission and deputised many of its commissioners. The commission is charged with uncovering "pay-to-play" corruption involving campaign contributions and official state action throughout state government.
"We consider and review all communications that are submitted to the commission," Moreland spokeswoman Michelle Duffy said. "However, we do not discuss potential or ongoing investigations."
use his leverage
Neither she nor John Milgrim of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, New York's ethics and lobbying board, would comment on any action their panel is taking as a result of the complaints.
Trump's attorney in the ethics case, former state lobbying regulator David Grandeau, said Schneiderman tried to use his leverage while running an investigation to wring out more campaign contributions from Trump's daughter, Ivanka.
"It's pay-or-pray fundraising tactics," Grandeau said.
"Donald Trump and his associates will say and do anything to avoid talking about the facts in this case," Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal said. "His wild accusations, outlandish conspiracy theories and outright distortions will not distract Attorney General Schneiderman from pursuing justice for the students victimised by Mr Trump and his scam university."