Monday, August 21, 2017

More Charities Cancel Fund-Raisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club

August 21, 2017 by  
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The Trump Organization, a conglomerate of Mr. Trump’s businesses, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Large nonprofits began peeling away from Mar-a-Lago on Thursday. The Washington Post reported that the American Cancer Society, the Cleveland Clinic and the American Friends of Magen David Adom all announced they would not be holding fund-raisers at the oceanside resort.

On Friday, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen also canceled events at Mar-a-Lago.

Mar-a-Lago “has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” the Red Cross said in a statement announcing that the 2018 International Red Cross Ball had been canceled.

It was a break in tradition for the Red Cross, which has held the ball at Mar-a-Lago every year since 2005, with the exception of 2013 and 2014.

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“The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle,” the statement said.

On Friday, Nancy G. Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen organization, wrote a post on Facebook in support of the board’s decision to seek another venue for the yearly fund-raiser: “There are no excuses, parsing or moral relativism when it comes to racism, bigotry and violence. There are no ‘sides.’ They are always wrong. Period.”

During his remarks on Tuesday at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, the president insisted that it was unfair to label all of the white nationalist protesters as neo-Nazis or white supremacists. The “alt-left” counterprotesters “came charging with clubs in their hands,” he said, and “there is blame on both sides.”

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“You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” President Trump said. “Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

His words set off an avalanche of criticism that led to the resignation of all 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the collapse of two of the president’s advisory groups: the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum.

Now Mar-a-Lago has landed in the crossfire. Laurel Baker, executive director of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, told The Palm Beach Post that supporting Mr. Trump “directly or indirectly” did not speak well of any organization.

“If you have a conscience, you’re really condoning bad behavior by continuing to be there,” Ms. Baker said of Mar-a-Lago.

Between November and April, 21 charities held events at Mar-a-Lago, The Associated Press reported, making the fund-raisers a lucrative business during the social season.


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Magic Johnson at center of NBA probe into Paul George tampering

August 21, 2017 by  
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7:35 PM ET

  • CloseESPN Senior Writer
    • Senior writer for ESPN.com
    • Spent seven years at the Los Angeles Daily News

The possibility of impermissible contact between Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and four-time All-Star Paul George is at the crux of an NBA probe into possible tampering, league sources tell ESPN.

The Indiana Pacers filed tampering charges with the NBA against the Lakers, and the league issued a statement Sunday saying that a probe is underway.

The Lakers are denying the allegations filed by the Pacers, insisting that there is no evidence of tampering, and they expect to be cleared in the matter, a team source told ESPN.

“As the NBA’s statement made clear, we cannot comment about the specifics of any ongoing investigation,” the Lakers said in a statement. “We can confirm, however, that we are cooperating fully with the NBA in the hope of clearing our name as soon as possible.”

If the league office’s probe can prove the Lakers were guilty of tampering with George while he was under contract with Indiana, Los Angeles can be punished in several ways, including a loss of draft picks, financial fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions of offending officials.

If the NBA were to find evidence that the Lakers had engaged in a side agreement with George, he could be prohibited from signing a free-agent deal with Los Angeles or being part of a trade to the Lakers.

Nevertheless, it is unclear if any evidence exists that could incriminate the Lakers or Johnson. The NBA is using the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen Katz to probe the matter, the NBA said.

The story on the tampering charges involving George was first reported by Peter Vecsey.

Team officials aren’t allowed to make contact with players or their agents to discuss future plans unless it’s after the opening of the players’ free-agency year on July 1.

The Pacers’ charges represent a growing concern among many NBA teams that some potential suitors are reaching out to players and agents with one or two years left on current deals, trying to manipulate opt-outs and trades, league sources said.

George informed the Pacers in June that he planned to opt out of his contract in 2018 and intended to sign a free-agent deal with the Lakers. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis on June 30. George has been public in his desire and interest to potentially play for his hometown Lakers.

George could be eligible to sign a four-year deal worth approximately $130 million in free agency.

George, 27, is one of the NBA’s most talented players and has long been connected to a possible return to his Southern California roots to play for the Lakers. The Lakers have started to clear salary-cap space to pursue George and Cleveland’s LeBron James in 2018 free agency.

George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 2016-17. George, a four-time All-Star, was part of the 2016 USA Olympic gold-medal team, less than two years after suffering a broken leg.