The Trump University Lawsuit Scandal Breakdown
Trump University: The Basics
Trump University is the latest business venture connected to Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to come under scrutiny.
In one of three active lawsuits against Trump, a state attorney general is accusing the real estate mogul’s now-defunct school of “engaging in specific fraudulent, deceptive and illegal acts.”
Trump has been refuting the claims made against him and his business partners.
What Was Trump University?
The business at the center of the debate was first started in October 2004, according to court records.
An October 2014 court decision states that it started when an entrepreneur named Michael Sexton contacted Trump “with the concept of developing a company that would primarily use technology to provide an instructional curriculum to small business owners and individual entrepreneurs across a broad range of business subjects such as marketing, finance, sales, entrepreneurship and real estate under the ‘Trump’ name and brand.”
Potential students took part in a free seminar “at which Trump University instructors would recommend signing up for a three-day seminar which cost approximately $1,500 at which the instructors would teach certain real estate strategies,” that 2014 court decision states.
From there, enrollees would reportedly be urged to sign up for the Trump Elite Programs, which included year-long mentorships with a starting cost of $20,000, the decision states.
How Was the School Rated?
One of Trump’s defenses against critiques of the company is that it received an A grade from the Better Business Bureau, but that wasn’t always the case.
The BBB has since released a statement saying the company’s grade was not always an A. “Over the years, the company’s BBB rating has fluctuated between an A+ and a D-,” the agency’s statement reads.
On “Good Morning America” today, Trump said that the company’s grades went up after unspecified information was shared with the BBB, but the BBB would not comment on the details of the grades of the now-defunct company.
“I think they gave us a different [grade] before we gave them information. After they got the information, we got an A,” Trump said.
The BBB’s description of the company, based on information it says it received from the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, notes that while it does sell classes, seminars and workshops, it “does not grant academic degrees or certification.”
What a Former Student Thinks
A student whose form is shared on the website, Bob Guillo, talked to ABC News about his dissatisfaction with the program. He is also one of the three students that were featured in attack ads made by the American Future Fund, a conservative Political Action Committee. His sworn affidavit was included in the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit.
Guillo and his son spent nearly $36,000 to take Trump’s courses and he believes he learned little specialized expertise from the program.
“A lot of the information they taught seemed to come from the website zillow.com or could have been easily gathered from the IRS website,” Guillo said in an affidavit about what he learned at the Trump Elite Programs retreats. “After the first seminar, I began to realize I had been taken.”
According to the affidavit, Guillo said that he felt that he had to complete a satisfaction questionnaire in order to get a certificate of completion for the course.
“They also pleaded for a favorable rating,” Guillo said in the affidavits of the presenters at the retreats, “so that ‘Mr. Trump would invite [them] back to do other retreats.”
Where Does Everything Stand?
The lawsuit from the New York Attorney General’s office was filed in 2013. Initially, the state supreme court ruled that only claims from 2010 on would be allowed, but the AG appealed that decision and, on Super Tuesday this week, a court ruled that claims dating back to 2007 can go to trial.
With that expanded timeline, there are believed to be 5,000 people nationwide who could have claims against the company, according to the spokesman for the AG’s office, and the lawsuit is seeking $40 million in damages for those impacted.
There are also two open lawsuits in California pertaining to active class action lawsuits making similar claims to that of the New York suit.
In court papers and on the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations and said the suit is meritless.
Donald Trump: ‘Never Enough’ Book Review
Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success
Ask Donald Trump about his hair and he will probably invite you to pull on it. Love him or hate him Donald Trump is America’s (and the world’s) most well – known and infamous real estate mogul. From starting as a Broadway showman who was a regular on the New York club scene before becoming a property developer and being mentored by scoundrel attorney Roy Cohn, his successes in real estate development, hotels, casinos, airlines, beauty pageants, reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’, writing books and public speaking has brought him fame and wealth in abundance. More importantly, he has succeeded like nobody else in converting his celebrity into profit. He has mastered the media through turning publicity into billions.
After dabbling in politics for years Trump has recently announced that he would be seeking Republican nomination for President. He has now become one of the leading candidates for president of the US after initially being written off as a political joke. Trump has stirred up so much controversy with his outlandish and brash statements managing to convince people into accepting him as a prime candidate for US president.
by Michael D’Antonio
“Never Enough” reveals Trump’s successes, failures, scandals and triumphs and charts his rise to power. He is a firm believer in the Norman Vincent Peale philosophy that encouraged optimism as a solution to virtually all of life’s problems. He is also a believer in guarding against a downside, which is the paradox of his personality. He declares himself a winner but also expects conflict and criticism. He also believes his blatant honesty gets him into a lot of trouble.
The public trials and tribulations of his marriage to his first wife Ivana Trump, his second wife Marla Maples and his current wife Melania Knauss also shaped his penchant for beautiful woman as a means of success and failures in both business and relationships. He is an outrageous self-promoter who is not shy to talk about success on stage as he did on multiple occasions before he delivered political speeches. He pockets anything from $100,000 to $1 million per appearance for business advice dispensed at seminars. Trump often shares the stage with self-help guru Tony Robbins, sharing information on money while Robbins focused on power (Many of them landed up with legal troubles for events that were hosted promising high results).
He also authored a number of books and his first one ‘Art of the deal’ was for business people looking for advice while he also wrote `Trump; How to get rich and Trump: Think like a billionaire. Many of the books promoted his branded products and eventually his own reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’ became a huge hit for him earning him millions of dollars in the process.
By Neale Petersen