NYC official: No evidence Trump gave $10K to 9/11 fund
By NBC News
Photo by NBC News.
by JOSH MEYER
New York City's comptroller has found no evidence that Donald Trump gave $10,000 to a fund for 9/11 victims after the terror attack, and concluded that the GOP nominee "may have lied" about making a donation.
The office of Comptroller Scott Stringer conducted a review of donation records to the Twin Towers Fund and the New York City Public/Private Initiatives, Inc., to see if Trump had donated after the 9/11 attacks.
"Contrary to Donald Trump's claims, the Comptroller's Office found no evidence of a donation by Mr. Trump in the year following the attacks," according to an "Information Sheet on 9/11 Donation Review" provided to NBC News on Friday that summarizes the office's findings.
"As first reported by the New York Daily News, Donald Trump may have lied about donations given to the Twin Towers Fund in support of 9/11 victims and first responders. While he claimed to make a $10,000 donation to that fund, the Comptroller's review in response to Freedom of Information Law requests shows that no donation was made within a nearly 12-month window immediately following the tragedy," the information sheet quoted Stringer as saying.
Stringer said it was still possible that Trump made contributions at a later date, and if so he should come forward and show proof.
The Daily News said that in the weeks after the attacks, Trump pledged $10,000 to the Twin Towers Fund as part of a charity effort that radio host Howard Stern was pushing. It linked to an Oct. 10, 2001 interview on Howard Stern's radio show, in which Stern and co-host Robin Quivers thanked him for the donation.
Said Quivers, "He gave us $10,000, that was beautiful."
"Yes he did, to our fund," Stern replied, before asking Trump about other topics. Trump didn't say anything in response to Stern or Quivers, or dispute that he'd made such a pledge.
At the time, Stern was directing people to make out checks to the NYC Public/Private Initiatives, using the "Howard Stern Relief Fund" as a marketing hook, as the website for the charity efforts shows, according to the Daily News. The New York Post reported on Sept. 26, 2001 that Trump, "who often calls in to Stern's show, kicked in $10,000."
The night before his Howard Stern appearance, Trump and then fiancé Melania Knauss had attended a Carnegie Hall benefit for the Twin Towers fund and the New York Police and Fire Widows and Children's Benefit Fund. Tickets for the "Stand Up For New York" event ranged from $100 to $2500. Attendees, including former President Bill Clinton, were told they could also make checks out to the Twin Towers fund.
The Twin Towers Fund and the Public/Private Initiatives were created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to raise money to support families of victims, first responders, and first responders' families. The comptroller's audit of the Twin Towers Fund covered from September 12, 2001 to August 31, 2002. The audit of the New York City Public/Private Initiatives, Inc. covered September 12, 2001 - June 30, 2002.
Comptroller's Office Press Secretary Tyrone Stevens told NBC News on Friday that the office manually reviewed approximately 1,500 pages of donor records, which contained the names of more than 110,000 individuals and entities that were collected as part of the audits.
Stevens told NBC News it was highly unlikely that the review missed any money given by Trump or one of his entities, since virtually all of the donations came in the months following the attacks, and included identifying information about the donors. "We just don't see a donation from any Trump entity—certainly there's nothing that we can confirm from the time period covered by the audit," Stevens said.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.