Writings and observations

Trump 87: Trump University

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Lest it not be forgotten – since it first came to light many months ago – Trump University constitutes a useful comprehensive disqualifier for Donald Trump as president.

Consider what happened here: He sold a lot of people a bill of goods, said he would do for them many things he never did and had no intention of doing. Surely we can consider this ample warning of a Trump presidency.

The Wikipedia account seems a reasonable, and reasonably dispassionate, description of TU:

Trump University LLC (formerly the Trump Wealth Institute; later named Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC) was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until 2010. (A separate organization, Trump Institute, was licensed by Trump University but not owned by the Trump Organization.) After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct. It was founded by Donald Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny, in 2004. The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.[3]

The organization was not an accredited university or college. It did not confer college credit, grant degrees, or grade its students.[4] In 2011, the company became the subject of an inquiry by the New York Attorney General’s office for illegal business practices that resulted in a lawsuit filed in 2013, which remains ongoing.[5][6][7][8]

Trump University is also subject to two ongoing class action lawsuits in federal court. The lawsuits center around allegations that Trump University defrauded its students by using misleading marketing practices and engaging in aggressive sales tactics. The company and the lawsuits against it have received renewed interest due to Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential election.

That’s the situation in outline, but the closer you look, and them more you hear about individual cases, the slimier it appears.

By the way, the point to know when someone suggests there’s a political component to the lawsuits against TU, is to recall that the suits were launched in 2013 – long before Trump became or was seriously considering a presidential candidates. These cases got to court on their own steam.

One sample among many: “In his affidavit, Richard Hewson reported that he and his wife “concluded that we had paid over $20,000 for nothing, based on our belief in Donald Trump and the promises made at the [organization’s] free seminar and three-day workshop.” But “the whole thing was a scam.” (That one appeared in the conservative National Review magazine.)

New Yorker writer John Cassidy signed off one article outlining a stream of TU outrages by suggesting, “If the revelations about Trump University don’t do any damage to Trump, it’s time to worry—or worry even more—about American democracy.”

There you are. – rs

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