Business mogul, TV star and possible GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has labeled New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman a "sleazebag" over a corruption flap between the two, in which Trump alleges Schneiderman indicated he would drop a fraud probe into a Trump-owned Florida college in return for campaign contributions.
"This guy is bad news. He's disliked by practically everybody. I'm just shocked he continues to hold office. He is a total lowlife, a sleazebag who hates Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo and would love to be governor someday," Trump told the New York Post
In response to a complaint from Trump, New York's Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) has announced that it will investigate Trump's contention that Schneiderman "barraged" Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, with requests for campaign contributions, while hinting that a fraud investigation against Trump University his office had launched could be called off.
"This is great news," Trump told the Post. "It's coming at a time when there is an unbelievable amount of corruption in the state. New York has become a cesspool of corruption. It's talked about all over the world. It's an embarrassment.
"Two or three years ago, this complaint would have gone nowhere."
Schneiderman, the Post noted, ultimately filed charges against the business school. While some have been dismissed, others still are pending.
Trump also has complained that the attorney he hired to handle the Trump University case, Avi Schick, simultaneously was involved with arranging political fundraisers for Schneiderman.
Schneiderman's spokesman, Matt Mittental, struck back, saying: "No one should be surprised when people accused of fraud lash out at the prosecutor to avoid addressing facts alleged in the case against them. We will continue to pursue our claims against Mr. Trump in court."
Trump Organization Vice President George Sorial told the Post
: "We think it's great news that JCOPE has taken our complaint seriously and appears to be conducting an investigation into very serious allegations and breach of public trust that we raised more than a year ago."
The New York Daily News reports
that Trump won a court victory in the flap when acting State Supreme Court Justice Henry Zwack gave JCOPE 30 days to take a vote on Trump's demand for a formal probe of Schneiderman and report the results to the court.
Trump's complaint alleges that Schneiderman had Ivanka Trump and her husband host a fundraising breakfast, have dinner with him at Lure Fishbar in Soho and drinks at The Four Seasons, while, "during many of these targeted solicitations, Mr. Schneiderman, on his own initiative, brought up his office's inquiry into (Trump University) and assured (Ivanka Trump) and others that they should not be concerned since the investigation was 'going nowhere,' " the Post reports.
Former New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco told the Post: "If I was investigating Donald Trump, I would not have been having lunch with his daughter for a campaign contribution. It's incredibly nervy," while predicting that ethics charges will not be brought against Schneiderman because fraud charges ultimately were filed against Trump University.
JCOPE has issued subpoenas for Trump's daughter and some Trump executives in the investigation, which could result in ethics violations and fines against Schneiderman, the Post notes
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