Trump University Scam

Update: Trump University Scam $25 Million Settlement Finalized.

Donald Trump, the spokesperson for ACN, decided to run his own “University” back in 2005. His “University” offered to give you access to the considerable knowledge that Mr. Trump has from his years in business. Let’s take a look at the results of his “University”.

Trump University Scam Claims

We’re going to have professors and adjunct professors that are absolutely terrific. Terrific people. Terrific brains. Successful. The best. We are going to have the best of the best. And, honestly, if you don’t learn from them, if you don’t learn from me, if you don’t learn from the people that we’re going to be putting forward, and these are all people that are handpicked by me, then, you’re just not gonna make it in terms of the world of success. And that’s okay, but you’re not gonna make it in terms of success. – Source Donald Trump

Trump University Promotional VideoTrump University Scam Promotional Video

Trump University Scam Reality

Donald Trump promised Trump University, but delivered neither Donald Trump nor a University.

  • Trump was not actively involved in Trump University’s Live Events;
  • Trump did not select or interview Trump University’s Live Event instructors or mentors;
  • Trump offered no input into the actual instruction provided to Trump University’s students; 
  • Trump University did not have a faculty of professors and adjunct professors, but rather independent contractors paid commissions for sales;
  • Trump University was unaccredited and unlicensed to operate as an institution of  higher learning;
  • Trump University provided no degrees, no credits, no licenses, nor anything else of marketable value to students.

Donald Trump first lured consumers in with a free 90-minute Live Event called the Preview. The Preview was used to persuade students to purchase the $1,495 “one year apprenticeship” course called the Fulfillment. If students purchased the Fulfillment, Donald Trump used the Live Event to convince them to purchase Trump University’s $35,000 Gold Elite program. Even then, after investing nearly $36,500, students still did not receive Trump’s “secrets” they were promised, but were constantly subjected to upsells of additional Live Events, products and books.

One of the things I find most valuable is to hear directly from the victims of a scam.  Here are some of the highlights from a class action lawsuit against Trump University by one of it’s victims Art Cohen.

Art Cohen is a businessman and resident of the state of California. Cohen learned about Trump University in 2009 when he saw an advertisement in the San Jose Mercury News, which is delivered daily to his home. Cohen received by mail a “special invitation” to Trump University from Donald Trump, which included 2 VIP tickets to the free seminar.

Donald Trump ensnared Plaintiff and thousands of other student-victims in a fraudulent scheme nationwide to sell real estate seminars and mentorships (“Live Events”) by trading on the Trump moniker. Defendant uniformly misled Plaintiff and the Class that they would learn Donald Trump’s real estate secrets through him and his handpicked professors at his elite “University.” The misleading nature of the enterprise is embodied by its very name. That is because, though Defendant promised “Trump University,” he delivered neither Donald Trump nor a University.

Defendant expressly set out to leverage Donald Trump’s fame and expertise as a real estate mogul by creating “Trump University,” which Defendant marketed as a premier institution of higher learning rivaling Wharton Business School, and with which Trump was so integrally involved, students would effectively be learning from him. Defendant marketed Trump University as `the next best thing to being Trump’s “Apprentice,” referencing Trump’s hit reality television series.

Defendant mass mailed to Plaintiff and the Class a “Special Invitation from Donald J. Trump” to the free introductory Live Event, adorned with the Trump University coat of arms and promising: “My hand-picked instructors and mentors will show you how to use real estate strategies ….” The letter continues that with “ongoing support from your own Team of Trump Experts — you’ll have what you need to succeed!” The letter closes with Donald J. Trump’s name, signature, and Trump University’s address at 40 Wall Street, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10005.

Trump gave himself a prominent, if not exclusive, role in the national advertising campaign for “Trump University.” However, Trump did not fulfill the promises he made to student-victims around the country — he did not teach students his coveted real estate investing “secrets” at the Live Events, he did not contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum for the Live Events, and he did not handpick the Live Event seminar instructors and mentors who “taught” student-victims at 3-day Live Events and Elite mentorship programs — both of which were upsells from the free introductory Live Event called the “Preview.”

Almost immediately after Trump founded Trump University, the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) wrote to Donald Trump on May 27, 2005, warning him that using the name “University” was illegal without a license, and asked Trump to stop using the name “Trump University.” Instead of complying, Defendant’s agents created a fictitious office in Dover, Delaware, and then Defendant continued to brazenly operate illegally out of his 40 Wall Street office in New York, New York for five years. On March 30, 2010, the NYSED wrote to Donald Trump and again advised that use of the title “University” in the name of his corporation was “misleading” and illegal. On June 15, 2010, NYSED wrote to Trump University directing Defendant to cease any further training until Trump University obtained a license to operate as an institution of higher learning. The NYSED demanded: “All current students should be refunded” and warned that failure to comply with the law “may result in disciplinary action.” Defendant did not give students refunds, but did stop offering and selling Live Events shortly thereafter in or about August 2010. However, Defendant has made multiple statements that he intends to resume Trump University courses in the future.

At least 11 Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Justice have received numerous complaints about Trump University; the Texas Attorney General’s investigation into misleading advertisements by Trump University ultimately led to the suspension of Live Events in that state; and a year after the filing of a related class action in this Court, the New York Attorney General launched an investigation into Trump University’s deceptive practices. And, due to Defendant’s misleading advertisements and marketing of Trump University as a “University,” the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) refused to accredit Trump University and gave it a D- grade due to the many complaints lodged by consumers. – Source Class Action Lawsuit Against Trump University

N.Y. Attorney General: Trump University Students Scammed
New York Attorney General Video

Trump University Scam Conclusion

In my opinion, Trump created a “University” to take advantage of his fame and fortune. He bilked millions from his students in the process. I think he has clearly shown by his actions what it takes to be rich like him. Donald Trump has said that he may reopen Trump University.  If he does, you should avoid this scam.