Boch’s Trump soiree collected thousands, but where did it go?

Printed from:

Broadcast live by CNN and attended by hundreds drawn by Donald Trump, Ernie Boch Jr.’s Summer Bash caught the eye of nearly everyone in and around Boston. At $100 a head, it surely raised tens of thousands of dollars. But for whom?

At the Aug. 28 event, Trump insisted the cash wasn’t going toward his presidential campaign.

“This is not a fundraiser,” Trump told reporters, according to The Associated Press and CNN. “I turn down a lot of money.”

Boch told CNN the cash being collected that night was for Trump’s campaign, and signs outside the entrance to the soiree on the lawn behind the car dealer’s palatial home in Norwood directed patrons to make checks payable to “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.” Boch said he was paying for the event. Trump told reporters the money raised would be used to cover the costs of the party.

Who paid whom for what can make a difference in the state once renowned for its high taxes. According to the state Department of Revenue’s website, the payments made by patrons at a one-time event with an admission charge that covers food, beverages and entertainment may be subject to the state sales tax of 6.25 percent. If 1,000 guests paid $100 each, that could amount to $6,250. Peggy Rose, a Boch spokeswoman, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The state says no sales taxes are due on food sold by a nonprofit if the funds are used to further the organization’s mission.

Also, a full liquor license for one-time events can only be issued to nonprofit organizations. Other sorts of applicants are limited to beer and wine. According to a Boston Herald report, Boch’s paying guests enjoyed “patriotic-themed cocktails.”

But it’s not clear whether there was a liquor license issued for the event. An assistant to the Norwood Board of Selectmen, Christina Mulvehill, said that to her knowledge, it didn’t issue one for the party. The town charges $100 for a one-day, all-alcoholic beverages license, according to a fee schedule on its website.

Of course, the caterer that provided the food and drink could have supplied the liquor license too. But the state’s list of caterers with liquor licenses doesn’t include Anthony Ambrose, the sole listed contact for Ambrosia Events & Catering on the South Shore company’s website. That company name also isn’t on the list. Ambrose, who reportedly served up the evening’s fare, didn’t respond to a call and an email seeking comment.

Norwood also charges $150 for a license for a weekday musical performance, including karaoke. The Herald reported that Boch’s party featured a rock band called Fortune.

All that might not matter much if the event was nothing more than a private party or even a fundraiser for a not-for-profit organization like the Trump campaign. Trump’s campaign is registered as just that with the state of New York.

But Trump, a real estate developer and reality TV star who boasts a net worth of $10 billion, told reporters that evening and again the next day that the occasion wasn’t a campaign fundraiser. He reportedly ordered aides to take down the sign out front that directed patrons to make checks payable to the campaign.

Despite his insistence that he doesn’t ask for or want campaign donations, his campaign reported receiving tens of thousands of dollars from dozens of supporters in a July filing with the Federal Election Commission. Some contributions came from chief executives, lawyers, doctors and airline pilots, while others came from retirees and homemakers.

Trump declared his bid for the Republican presidential nomination June 16, saying at the time that he would self-fund his campaign. Today, his campaign website features a button on the home page where supporters can contribute money.

Exactly where the cash collected at Boch’s event went, and what it was used for, might not be clarified until the next round of Trump campaign finance reports, which include listings of disbursements, right down to cups of coffee. If sales taxes are due, those responsible probably have weeks to pay them, based on state revenue department documents and related state law.

Also by Ted Bunker:

Costs balloon on Green Line Extension, a Big Dig legacy