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Aug 26 2013

In related academic news, “Trump University” accused of scamming

In news that should surprise no one, Donald Trump is at the center of complaints and a lawsuit alleging he scammed $40 million from hopeful applicants to something called Trump University. According to the suit, Trump U is not a university and was instead merely a vessel to charge people for the privilege of listening to a more sophisticated sales pitch persuading them to spend even more money on equally useless seminars at Trump U:

Gotamist — According to Schneiderman, Trump’s scheme involved getting people to sign up for a $1,495 three-day seminar, which was just a springboard for pitching the “Trump Elite Mentorship” programs that cost $10K to $35K.

In the seminar, participants were allegedly “encouraged to call their credit card companies during breaks, to increase their credit limits to have access to funds to do real estate deals.” Naturally, “the real reason Trump University asked consumers to request higher credit limits was so they could use the credit to pay for the expensive Elite programs.”

All the while, Trump promised “hand-picked” instructors. “We’re gonna teach you better than the business schools are gonna teach you,” Trump tells a strange, unidentified man in the video below. “We’re gonna teach you life.”

Oh, they taught a life lesson alright.

Can you imagine someone like Trump trying to get a job in today’s market without the benefit of his mythos, wealth, and celebrity? How might that interview go?

“Hi … Donald is it? I noticed in your resume there’s not much about job skills. What kind of applications and programs have you used or helped develop in the past and on what jobs?”

“I’m a blow hard who pretends to fire people on youTube … that’s a program! When do I get my first paycheck?”

“Umm, no, that’s not the kind of program I was asking about. But we always have positions for those who are happy to fire much less fortunate people. If you’re familiar with termination processes, the Equal Opportunity Act, hold those basic HR certifications and they are current and in good standing, can multi-task and think outside the box, are willing to put in 60 hours a week doing our dirtiest work, willing to volunteer to being run over by the corporate bus at the first sign of a lawsuit with merit, and are a self-organizing enthusiastic go-getter able to properly create and file related CYA documentation and procedures, we might have a fit in theory. What are you salary expectations and experience in this field?”

“Pay me $1500 an hour for my seminar covering salary negotiations and credit card advances, and you’ll never be taken advantage of again!”

“Sir .. the job I’m referring to starts as an unpaid intern, after 30 days you might make it to a temp at $11/hr, after 90 days if you exceed our expectations as a temp there is a chance you might be hired directly for the same rate. In which case you would qualify for basic health insurance 90 days after that.”

“What? I pay my dead dog’s wetback grave-digger more than that! You’re FIRED!”

“No, Mr Trump, you’re NOT hired … SECURITY!?!”

6 comments

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  1. 1
    unbound

    Well, no surprise to those who know how top level executives from large corporations actually behave. Most of the masses will be confused by this report.

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    I saw The Donald on the tube this morning. He’s not worried because the state AG is a “lightweight”.

  3. 3
    Kevin

    Seriously? 26 thousand people fell for this?

    Barnum seriously underestimated the rate at which suckers are born.

    On a side note, though, I routinely get mail notices for 3-day conferences in the field in which I’m employed that are run by private conference-running organizations. And the $1500 freight is about right. I’ve never gone to any of those kinds of “conferences” though, so can’t tell you how the curriculum stacks up. But I suspect better than “raise your credit card limit so you can give me even more money”.

    My guess is that the lawsuit is going to fail without even getting to the merits. Caveat emptor and all that.

  4. 4
    dean

    I’m sure these “classes” were just as content-free as those offered by places like U of Phoenix – the philosophy of “Learn important things for a career” has triumphed over “Education” in many places.

    My guess is that the lawsuit is going to fail without even getting to the merits.

    My first thought is to agree. Trump may be an idiot and congenital liar, but I have a feeling his legal team has some sharp bulbs, and the “course” (better name anyone?) descriptions and outcomes (if any) were probably written to be so nebulous that proving this was a scam will be nigh-on impossible.

  5. 5
    naturalcynic

    At least 90% of those who signed up deserve to lose their money if they fell for this scheme. Too bad that the lawyers will be the only ones to gain from the scheme.

  6. 6
    Ace of Sevens

    There’s a reason most of these fake schools incorporate in Arizona. New York has strong consumer protection laws.

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