Trump University is a sham “university,” says New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. In August of 2013, AG Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, The Trump Entrepreneur Institute — formerly named Trump University LLC (“Trump University”), and Michael Sexton, former President of Trump University for engaging in persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct in connection with the operation of Trump University. That lawsuit is still working its way in the courts. During Thursday night’s CNN Republican debate, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, accused Trump University of being a fake school. “There are people that borrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University, and they’re suing him now,” Mr. Rubio said. “And you know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump.”
Trump immediately responded to Rubio, defending the “sham” venture at the debate, Mr. Trump said, “They actually did a very good job, and I’ve won most of the lawsuits.” However, Donald Trump is in fact still facing three lawsuits that claim Trump University, a real estate program launched by Trump from 2005 to 2010, was a fraud that took $40 million from unsuspecting students.
At the time of the announcement of the lawsuit in 2013, as the Examiner reported at the time, Trump falsely claimed that President Barack Obama was behind the lawsuit for political reasons. Trump charged in 2013 that Obama is in such fear of Trump, that he conspired with AG Schneiderman to discredit Trump.
Here is what the AG Schneiderman said the time. “More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got. No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard working New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable.”
Even though Trump University was notified by the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) as early as 2005 that these practices violated New York law, Trump University did not change its name until May 2010 and never received a license to operate in the state. As a result, many students believed they were attending a University, when they were not. This misconception was reinforced by Trump University’s use of a University-like seal on much of its material and awarding diploma-like Certificates of Completion bearing Donald Trump’s signature.
Despite Trump University’s advertised claims, consumers attending free seminars did not learn Donald Trump’s real estate techniques. Instead, Trump University’s instructors made multiple misrepresentations to convince consumers to sign up for a $1,495 three-day seminar. These misrepresentations included false claims about the three-day seminars such as:
- consumers would learn “everything [they] need[ed] to know” to become successful real estate investors;
- consumers would quickly recoup their investment by doing real estate deals, with some instructors claiming that consumers would earn tens of thousands of dollars within thirty days;
- instructors were “handpicked” by Donald Trump;
- consumers would be taught Donald Trump’s very own real estate strategies and techniques;
- consumers would receive access to private sources of financing (“hard money lenders”); and
- the three-day seminar would include a year-long “Apprenticeship Support” program.
Instructors also insinuated Donald Trump himself would appear at the three-day seminar. That did not occur and “Trump University” closed in 2010.