Ivanka Trump Auctions $50K Coffee Chat to Benefit Brother Eric's Foundation
Proceeds from the auction will go to Eric Trump’s foundation to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
UPDATE: The auction was cancelled on Friday, according to the New York Times.
Ivanka Trump‘s time is apparently really valuable.
The daughter of President-elect Donald Trump is auctioning off a “private meet and greet” over coffee, with auction site Charitybuzz valuing the experience at $50,000.
The auction listing, posted last week, offers two deep-pocketed bidders the chance to sit down with Ivanka for a 30 to 45-minute coffee date. The private meet and greet will take place sometime in 2017, either at Trump Tower or at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Proceeds from the auction will go to her brother Eric Trump’s foundation, which works to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help terminally ill youth.
The auction closes Dec. 20, and as of Tuesday bidding reached $25,000.
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The winner and a guest must pass criminal background checks and be approved by the Secret Service, members of which will be present during the meeting. The winners are also expected to “conduct themselves appropriately” with “polite manners” and “respect,” the auction description says.
Ivanka was one of her father’s closest advisers in his presidential campaign, and she is now planning a move to Washington, D.C. as Trump prepares to take office.
The auction listing makes no mention of Ivanka’s involvement in her father’s incoming administration, instead describing her accomplishments as an executive vice president with the Trump Organization, and her family life with husband Jared Kushner, who’s also a top Trump adviser.
Scandal Surrounding the Eric Trump Foundation
The listing for the coffee date with Ivanka says the donation will go to the “Eric Trump Foundation to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.” Like his father’s charitable foundation — which was ordered to stop fundraising by the New York attorney general’s office after an investigation — Eric’s charity is not without its scandals.
The Daily Beast reported in September that Eric had spent $880,000 of his charity’s money at Trump-owned golf courses. A portion of that money was reported as paid directly “to a company of a family member of the Board of Directors” — “in other words,” the The Daily Beast charged, “Donald Trump himself.”
The foundation also claimed that all the prizes at its yearly silent auction would be donated. But after conducting an analysis of the annual IRS reports and New York state financial disclosures from the charity’s inception in 2007 through 2014, The Daily Beast found that the foundation paid $25,000 to an artist’s foundation in exchange for a portrait of Donald Trump that was sold at the 2012 Golf Invitational — to Eric Trump, “who hung it over his living room sofa.”
Eric Trump did not return a request for comment from The Daily Beast at the time.
His foundation’s executive director, Paige Scardigli, wrote an email to The Daily Beast commenting on the advantages of holding foundation fundraisers at Trump hotels, where guests are encouraged to donate and buy special services, a portion of which goes to St. Jude. “We pride ourselves on having an extremely low expense ratio and that is only made possible by leveraging off the Trump assets,” she said at the time. “Trump assets are not profiting from these ETF events, but instead they are donating their time and resources to the cause.”
Despite the controversy, the Daily Beast admitted that, “when viewed through the prism of his father’s questionable philanthropic practices, Eric Trump’s foundation seems downright angelic.”
“Eric Trump’s foundation operates with almost no overhead: Eric neither pays himself nor his board members and relies on Trump Organization employees who volunteer for whatever the foundation may need,” The Daily Beast reported. “Most importantly, Eric Trump’s charity has, over the last 10 years according to its tax reports, raised $6.5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a beloved Tennessee-based nonprofit that treats children with catastrophic diseases free-of-charge.”