To the shock and surprise of absolutely nobody, Donald Trump’s “Trump University” has been sued by the New York State attorney general’s office for illegal business practices. The suit seeks $40 million in restitution and accuses Trump and his staff of running an unlicensed educational institution and making false claims about its course offerings. “Trump University” a fraud? The deuce you say!
You will be perfectly astonished to learn that Trump responded with a petulant hissy fit, accusing Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of going after him because Trump had refused to give him a campaign contribution. We’re not quite sure what to make of Trump’s additional claim that Scheiderman had been trying to steal the strawberries from his icebox.
According to complaints from students, the “university” mostly operated as a series of marketing pitches, with “upsells” at every stage. The “school” would lure people in
with the promise of a free 90-minute seminar about real estate investing that, according to the lawsuit, “served as a sales pitch for a three-day seminar costing $1,495.” This three-day seminar was itself “an upsell,” the lawsuit said, for increasingly costly “Trump Elite” packages that included so-called personal mentorship programs at $35,000 a course.
And at the gold-star level, other people will be making money for YOU, and you get a free pink Cadillac! Ask us how!!
The suit also accused the organization of false advertising, claiming that that Trump had personally chosen the instructors and designed the curriculum; in reality, the lawsuit alleges, Trump’s involvement was mostly a matter of putting his name on the scheme. Our favorite detail: Students who had been led to think they would meet Trump instead were treated to the opportunity to have their photo taken with a life-sized picture of the short-fingered vulgarian.
The New York Education Department “had told Trump to change the name of his enterprise years ago, saying it lacked a license and didn’t meet the legal definitions of a university.” Finally, in 2011, it changed its name to the “Trump Entrepreneur Institute,” because an institute can pretty much do any damn thing it pleases.
Over the weekend, Trump took to the Twitter machine to offer his well-thought-out defense:
You know that he’s a serious man, because the AG is a lightweight. After all, since Donald Trump is motivated by spite and personal animus, it only stands to reason that the rest of the world is, too.
A bit later, we were treated to the spectacle of Donald Trump, Investigative Reporter:
Well of course. AG Schneiderman is taking his marching orders from Obama; it all just fits together now! And Old Man Trump would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling teenagers and that dumb dog.Related