There is one person in America who throughout their career has been repeatedly associated with fraud, deception and financial chicanery. But enough about Sarah Palin. This story is about her close runner-up, Donald Trump.
The New York office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a forty million dollar lawsuit against Trump and his phony Trump University (a name he was previously forced to change because it didn’t meet the legal definitions of a university). The Associated Press reports that…
“Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and caused real financial harm,” Schneiderman said. “Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”
The program at Trump U. apparently consisted of charging students $1,500 to attend a worthless three day seminar and then corralling them into the “Trump Elite” program that would extract as much as $35,000 more from the gullible Trump wannabes. Despite being told that they would receive personalized mentoring, the students never met Trump, but did get to pose for pictures with a cardboard cutout, which might actually provide more depth than exposure to the real squirrel-topped pseudo-billionaire.
Trump’s representative responded in a typically abrasive manner, accusing the AG of launching a politically motivated attack on his client. He asserted, without evidence, that Schneiderman was trying to extort campaign contributions from Trump.
Much of Trump’s reputation is rooted in fraud. He is not the business genius his PR agents would have you believe. His companies have wound up bankrupt on four separate occasions. Many of the buildings bearing his name are not his projects, but merely licensees to the Trump brand. Were he actually the billionaire he pretends to be, why would he host a cheesy game show on television? What other billionaires waste their valuable time on reality shows rubbing elbows with Gary Busey and Meat Loaf?
The obvious scam that Trump is running is second only to the hilarious attempt by Glenn Beck to operate his own Beck University, an affiliate of his premium web site operation. Students at Beck’s re-education facility learn how to fear impending tyranny and to stock up on bullets and gold coins. At least at Trump U. you get souvenir photos and maybe an old Trump paperback suitable for kindling.