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Donors cover deposit after LAUSD cancels fundraiser at Trump club

Craig Clough | July 10, 2015

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Beyond the Bell Executive Director Alvaro Cortes and LA Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L), Alvaro Cortes and Ramon Cortines (credit: Twitter @BTBLA)

The sum of $7,500 may be chump change for Donald Trump, but it has bought him another round of immeasurable bad press.

One day after LA Unified announced it was pulling its annual fundraiser golf tournament for its Beyond the Bell program from Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, two corporations stepped forward yesterday, each donating $7,500 to cover the deposit that the club refused to return.

The decision to pull out from the Trump-owned club came in response to the billionaire’s incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants.

“There are good people in this world,” Alvaro Cortés, Beyond the Bell’s executive director, said at a press conference at LA Unified’s headquarters. “I was ecstatic to receive two morning calls from donors who were willing to cover our deposit from the golf club. I am still calling people back who want to help.”

The donations came from Wetzel’s Pretzels and developer Rick Caruso, founder and chief executive officer of Caruso Affiliated. The Beyond the Bell Golf Classic was scheduled for Nov. 23, and the district said it is looking for a new venue. Beyond the Bell operates before- and after-school programs for the district.

“As an entrepreneurial-managed company, we understand how the sudden loss of thousands of dollars could have a negative impact, and Wetzel’s Pretzels is proud to make this donation to Beyond the Bell and the programs it supports,” said Bill Phelps, the company’s CEO. “As a Los Angeles-based company, this was especially personal for us with close to half our stores serving the local Southern California area.”

Basketball legend and former LA Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also attended the press conference, as the golf fundraiser also raises money for Camp Skyhook, which is run in collaboration between LA Unified and Abdul-Jabbar’s Skyhook Foundation.

Trump National Golf Club’s refusal to return the deposit for LAUSD’s annual fundraiser may result in the loss of 300 under-privileged fourth and fifth graders who will not be able to attend Camp Skyhook,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “Having to scramble and relocate the venue for this charitable event will divert substantial resources from implementing our programs and will likely reduce our fundraising revenue which we rely on to cover program costs for Camp Skyhook.”

Abdul-Jabbar also recently penned an editorial in Time attacking Trump for his comments, which came during a June 16 speech in which Trump announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for president. Trump labeled Mexican immigrants as rapists that are bringing drugs and crime to America, while adding as an afterthought that “some, I assume, are good people.”

LA Unified pulling out of the golf fundraiser — which it said is expected to raise $70,000 — was just the latest in a line of companies and organizations that have cut ties with Trump, a billionaire and TV personality. Macy’s, mattress giant Serta, PVH Corp, ESPN, PGA, Univision and NBCUniversal have all cut business ties with him.

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