Pro-Trump group donor sues over failure to expose election fraud

Despite numerous allegations of voter fraud and irregularities from President Donald Trump and his supporters, no evidence has emerged. PHOTO: AFP

HOUSTON (BLOOMBERG) - A pro-Trump group that promised to challenge the Nov 3 election results and expose fraud was sued by a North Carolina money manager who donated US$2.5 million (S$3.35 million) to the cause but says he didn't get his money's worth.

Mr Fred Eshelman, founder of Eshelman Ventures LLC, wants his money back, saying he "regularly and repeatedly" asked for updates on the project but his "requests were consistently met with vague responses, platitudes, and empty promises", according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday (Nov 25) in Houston federal court.

Houston-based True the Vote Inc had promised a multi-pronged plan to "investigate, litigate, and expose suspected illegal balloting and fraud in the 2020 general election", according to the lawsuit.

In the weeks after the election, True the Vote filed four lawsuits, but it dropped them all last week.

"While we stand by the voters' testimony that was brought forth, barriers to advancing our arguments, coupled with constraints on time, made it necessary for us to pursue a different path," the group announced on its website on Nov 17.

Despite numerous allegations of voter fraud and irregularities from President Donald Trump and his supporters, no evidence has emerged of widespread problems that would have changed the results of the election which President-elect Joe Biden won with 306 electoral votes.

True the Vote called its effort to reverse the election results Validate the Vote. The plan included filing lawsuits in seven swing states, collecting whistle-blower complaints, galvanising Republican legislative support in key states, and conducting "sophisticated data modeling and statistical analysis to identify potential illegal or fraudulent balloting," according to Mr Eshelman's lawsuit.

The money manager said he agreed to support the plan and wired the group US$2 million on Nov 5 and US$500,000 a week later after the group's president told him that more money might be needed to achieve their goals, according to the suit.

When True the Vote failed to provide any reports on its progress and with certification deadlines approaching, Mr Eshelman said it became obvious the group wouldn't be able to execute the plan he agreed to support. So, he asked for his money back.

True the Vote had offered him US$1 million if he would drop any plans for a lawsuit, he said in the complaint.

Mr Eshelman is the former CEO of Pharmaceutical Product Development and founding chairman of Furiex Pharmaceuticals.

He recently donated US$100 million to the pharmacy school of his alma mater, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

True the Vote didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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