Donald Trump

Trump University Court Documents Make Clear that the GOP is Willingly Supporting a Fraud

Former employees say the presumptive GOP nominee's real estate seminar program was a scam. So is his campaign.

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Trump University Ad / As Seen on TV Network / screenshot

Even employees of Trump University say it was a fraud.

Newly unsealed documents from the ongoing class action lawsuit against Donald Trump's real estate training business reveal that managers working for the company believed it to be "misleading, fraudulent and dishonest" in its operations and its pitch to potential customers.

The testimony from former employees of the company is not only incredibly damning to Donald Trump, the GOP's presumptive nominee for president, but to his supporters in the Republican party, who are, in effect, furthering Trump's massive political scam. 

In one of the documents released this week as a result of a court order, Ronald Schnackenberg, a former sales manager for Trump University, described the entire operation as a "fraudulent scheme," one that "preyed upon the elderly and the uneducated in order to separate them from their money."

Trump University arrived at the tail end of the mid-00s real estate bubble promising to teach its customers how to successfully make money in the real estate business. The single biggest selling point of the school, which was not a traditionally accredited university, was Trump himself. He not only lent his name to the school, he appeared in its commercials, which promised to "make all of Donald Trump's secrets available" to those who signed up. "We teach success," Trump said in an ad for the program. "That's what it's all about. It's going to happen to you."

It's not clear that it happened to anyone, except, perhaps Donald Trump. "Virtually all students who purchased a Trump University seminar were dissatisfied with the program they purchased," Schnackenberg says in his sworn deposition, which was first reported by The New York Times. "To my knowledge, not a single consumer who paid for a Trump University seminar programs went on to successfully invest in real estate based on the techniques that were taught."

That may have been because, in many cases, the instructors at the school had little or no relevant experience in selling real estate. One mentor and speaker in the program had no real estate experience when he was hired; his background was in selling jewelry. In general, according to Schnackenberg, the program prioritized high-pressure sales experience for its hires. Few if any instructors had significant real-estate experience, and Trump University "misrepresented their experiences and successes to the public." 

Trump U staffers were pushed to get personal information about the finances of workers under the ruse that they were helping to explain how to finance real estate deals; in reality, the goal was to get a sense of how much they were worth so that Trump University could extract. The job of Trump University employees was not to teach the real estate business, but to sell expensive seminars through deceit.

That meant pushing potential buyers to purchase programs they could not afford. Schnackenberg describes one instance in which he was reprimanded for not making a harder sale on a $35,000 seminar to a couple living on disability. (Another salesman eventually made the sale.)

Trump U students were consistently told to raise their credit card limits in order to borrow money both to invest and to purchase seminars. The goal was to quickly extract as much of their money as possible, and not to provide any value in return. Schnackenberg eventually quit working for Trump University, because he believed it was a fundamentally dishonest scheme. 

Trump was, of course, central to the company's scheme, in that his name and image as a successful real estate salesman were integral to the pitch. Potential customers were told that the program's namesake would be closely involved in the seminars. That, however, was "a total lie," according to Jason Nicholas, another former Trump U employee. Schnackenberg also says he never once saw Donald Trump at Trump University.

I see no inherent problem with salesman making strong cases for their products, or with seminar programs designed to maximize their own profits. But those sales pitches must be essentially truthful. Trump U's pitch, delivered by Trump, was not. It was a series of misrepresentations and outright lies designed to convince the vulnerable to part with money that in many cases they could not afford to lose, while providing not one iota of value in return.

Donald Trump served as the frontman for this dishonest and predatory scheme. He lent it his name. 

The testimonies of Trump University's former employees do not reveal Trump's character so much as confirm what we already knew. 

After all, this is the same presidential candidate who delivered a victory speech on national television in which he claimed that Trump Steaks, which were discontinued shortly after their introduction in 2007, were still a going concern. The same person who put his name on Trump Ocean Resort, a beach condominium project that cost investors some $30 million when it failed to complete.  The same candidate whose businesses have been involved in an unprecedented 3,500 legal actions during the last 30 years, according to a USA Today analysis. 

Trump has repeatedly used his campaign to promote his business interests. He has also recently taken to using his political platform to implicitly threaten the judge who is overseeing the Trump University suit, calling the judge a "hater" and suggesting that some unspecified party should "look into" his actions. 

It has long been clear that Trump is a brazen liar and a practiced scam artist, and that his business and political personas are inseparable. He is continuing his scam as a political candidate.

Tellingly, his campaign's response to the unsealing of the Trump University legal documents was to release a video featuring happy testimonials about the program. The response merely perpetuates the fraud.  As Leon Wolf notes, none of those people were involved in real estate. None provide any evidence that Trump University made them successful at selling real estate. One has a business relationship with Trump involving protein water; another is a coaching seminar guru; one is—I am not making this up—a professional testimonial giver. 

Trump's response to accusations that he is a fraud is to add a new layer of misdirection. 

None of this is new for Trump. But what is now apparent is how willing much of the Republican party is to go along with it. 

The support is not limited to the primary voters who made Trump the nominee. Now that Trump is the presumptive nominee, prominent party actors are lining up to throw their support behind a transparent fraud. Senate leadership has thrown in with Trump. So has the Republican National Committee, and some major party donors

Even some of Trump's harshest critics are falling in line. Last summer, while running for president, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Trump a "cancer on conservatism." Perry now says he'd be willing to serve as Trump's running mate.

Florida Senator Marco, during his own failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination, described Trump as an "erratic individual" and a "lunatic" who was "wholly unprepared to be president." He repeatedly called Trump a "con artist."

Rubio now says that if it would be helpful to Trump's presidential campaign, he would "most certainly be honored" to speak in favor of Trump at the GOP convention.

Rubio's "con artist" remark suggests he has no illusions about Trump's character, and that like the former Trump University staffers who believed their employer to be a fraud, he understands that the Trump campaign is at heart a scam.

Yet in contrast to Schnackenberg, who quit after his discovery, Rubio didn't quit. Quite the opposite. He knew Trump was a con man, and signed on anyway. 

Rubio's enthusiastic willingness not only to accept Trump, but to endorse him, to speak out in Trump's favor and to say that it would be an "honor" to do so, suggests that Rubio and the rest of Trump's backers in the GOP are now willing to lend their own names—and, indeed, the sad and empty husk of the Republican party—to enable Trump's blatant political con. 

NEXT: Thaddeus Russell vs. Michael Moynihan on Blowback: The Fifth Column Returns

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  1. Fraud vs Fraud

    And the winner is….

      1. I sad “winner” not “wiener.”

        1. don’t worry. The LP’s guy for Vice-President is still telling everyone what a wonderful person Hillary is and what a good SoS she was. That’s a perfect strategy for getting the votes of Pubs put off by Trump.

          1. I heard that either Johnson or Weld said he was 73% the same as Bernie Sanders on policy. That’ll pull away the conservative vote.

            1. If only McAfee had won, he woulda been a shoe-in! Trump proves people will vote for a madman, all McAfee would have had to do is prove that he’s more insane than even Trump!

      2. Fuck Yeah!

    1. Except that judges exist to block, not order the release of Clinton documents.

    2. If the worst accusations against Trump are true, he would still be less evil that Hillary.

      1. Although the real question is whether or not he could equal or exceed Hillary’s evil behavior once given access to keys to the kingdom.

    3. It is quite amusing that people would rather support a scam artist than an established elected cockroach. It says a lot more about those big monied interest, donor focused “elected” status quo politicians. If the republican party had a better candidate he would be running against billary.

      1. As much as the GOPe wants to deny it, Trump is supported for his policies.

        Anti Immigration. Aggressive Trade Policy. Non Interventionism. The Welfare State.

        Nationalist populist. America First.

        He fought back against the Progressive Theocracy when other GOPe would have caved and have caved again and again and again. “The wall just got ten feet higher.”

        He may just be scamming us, but he is at least selling what people opposed to the Progressive Theocracy want. When the only alternatives are those selling capitulation to the Progressive Theocracy, Trump becomes the choice.

        1. “He fought back against the Progressive Theocracy”

          No he didn’t, and he’s going to get crushed in November.

  2. Spend some at NRO or Weekly Standard. The support sure isn’t “willingly” for the most part. I would call it “grudgingly” supporting Trump.

    1. Yeah that was the weirdest part of this article. Not the part where Suderman takes the evidence provided by the plaintiffs to convict Trump, but the part where the lead and beginning of the story is how this is some indictment of the GOP.

      I have no love for the GOP, but really, this guilt by association is a real stretch.

      Are we going to indict all of reason because it has grudgingly backed the LP even with the flaws of Johnson and Weld?

      1. Yes, they are all bad.

  3. Great. Two crooks running for president as the (likely) major party nominees.

    Nicely done, America.

    1. Yeah but I bet hillary is responsible for a lot more deaths than Trump. I kind of expect Trump to be found in dubious money making deals. It has kind of openly been his mo for 30 years. But this is a surprise to many.

      1. She’s worse on an international scale, but this Trump University thing undercuts Donald’s underlying theme that he fights for “the little guy.” What this shows is that he’ll bully and prey upon anyone for a quick buck.

        1. What this shows is that he’ll bully and prey upon anyone for a quick buck.

          Like any good libertarian.
          *rings servant bell*
          I fresh monocle at one, orphan!

          1. After giving the order, do you snap your fingers or crack the whip?

              1. Excellent.

            1. Grapeshot for all!

          2. That must be why Madsen Pirie rings a bell in all those “Economics is fun” videos over on youtube.

        2. What this shows is that he’ll bully and prey upon anyone for a quick buck.

          I’m not sure that’ll come as a surprise to anyone, including his supporters.

        3. …he fights for “the little guy.”

          That’s a misquote. He actually said he fights “little guys for their money”.

      2. Trump’s understanding of business deals is that 1 party wins & the other loses, not that they mutually benefit. Then again, that’s Robert Ringer’s view too. Maybe this is a circumstance peculiar to real estate, or maybe just that people in the real estate & development business think so.

      3. Yeah, Hillary only sells out national security for a quick buck.

      4. I find it ironic the democrats are complaining about a fraud.

    2. Heh. That never happens! Amiright?

  4. There are a couple of frauds: Trump University and the Clinton Foundation. I wish the latter would get the same intense scrutiny the former is getting.

    1. I’m sure I risk drawing the ire of the all-caps brigade in saying, but this is my position. Trump slapped his name on a shitty scam (one of many), and the media is digging like its Watergate. Meanwhile, they adopt a nothing-to-see-here, move along approach to Hillary’s far larger and dangerous racket. There is a willingness to call a spade a spade with Trump that is missing in coverage of Hillary. Even here.

      The fact that Trump has to resort to slapping his name on crap like this is further proof he’s not all that successful or wealthy.

      1. STEVE SMITH NOT SEE POINT IN LOWERING VOICE

        1. WHY FAGGOTS CUM!

          Wait. I did that wrong.

      2. There is a willingness to call a spade a spade with Trump that is missing in coverage of Hillary. Even here.

        Well, that would be racist given Hillary’s famous black accent. And how it would look if someone called the first black president’s wife a “spade”?

        1. She don’t feel no ways tarrrrrrrred of reading about Trump scams.

      3. WHY U TRUMPKIN FAGGOT NEOCON DICK!!1!!!

        1. faggot dick? uh, gary johnson?

        2. Does neocon mean neoconfederate? http://archive.boston.com/news…..federates/

      4. I’m sure I risk drawing the ire of the all-caps brigade

        You poor persecuted dear.

        I agree with you. The media covers for Democrats.

        1. Who are you to judge a politician, anyway? They have impressive titles. Even more impressive than Dr.

          1. I don’t know if you followed up on that thread, last night, but as I pointed out there:

            You may not like him. You may not agree with him. You may not find his Schtick funny…

            But calling him stupid (mental midget…) is, quite simply, ignorant.

            1. And the moral of that is don’t call people with fancy titles stupid. You like Warty – that’s fine. But don’t pretend to me you don’t call people with doctorates stupid all the time.

            2. Time to ‘fess up.

              I’ve met Trump on maybe three occasions and had a brief conversation with him.

              He’s not dumb. He has real charisma, knows how to work an audience and has street smarts. He might not know what the “Nuclear Triad” was (because he was fucking debutantes at the time) but he’s quite capable of competing intellectually with any of the presidential materials we’ve had in the last couple of decades. And I’d argue that a president that ‘knows more about defense’ than his Defense Specialists is not much of a president.

              He’s a mediocre businessman in a market that only functions when fragrant grease is splashed around. There’s a reason he wrote “The Art of The Deal”. The media are doing the world a disservice (just like always) by beating this “he’s a dumbass” drum.

              I have NO idea how good a job he would do as a president (in fact, I’d like him to be named “Emperor Gridlock” in the history books), but underestimate him at your peril.

              1. At my peril? I doubt there’s any more peril in a Trump presidency than another Clinton one. For the record I’m pulling for wailing and gnashing of teeth 2016.

              2. Time to ‘fess up.

                The subject matter wasn’t Trump. It was a followup to a previous thread. Sorry for the confusion.

              3. The media are doing the world a disservice (just like always) by beating this “he’s a dumbass” drum.

                The Left always has the conceit that they are the geniuses and anyone who disagrees with them is an ignoramus.

                What they fail to realize is that most people resent people smarter than they are. “He’s not a pointy headed smarty pants” is a selling point.

                Reagan rode the howls of derision from the Left to two terms in the White House.

                1. Or, if they went to college (didn’t need to have graduated), they think about the journalism majors they knew, and conclude that those people can’t possibly be all that smart. I mean look at Rico Suave

      5. I bet monetizing access to the Sec State made the Clintons far more money than this stupid “university” made Trump. Like hundreds of $ millions more.

      6. Meanwhile, they adopt a nothing-to-see-here, move along approach to Hillary’s far larger and dangerous AND TREASONOUS racket.

  5. Donald Trump served as the frontman for this dishonest and predatory scheme. He lent it his name.

    You know who else served as the frontman for a predatory scheme?

    1. Every head of state in the history of the world?

    2. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

    3. Lenin?

    4. Ambassador Christopher Stevens?

    5. Deacon Frost?

    6. Not the Clintons, nope, definitely NOT the Clintons!

    7. Danny Glover?

    8. Wolfman Jack?

    9. Rob Lowe?

    10. Phil Lynott?

      No, wait… that was Thin Lizzy.

    11. Michael Jackson?

    12. Bill Cosby?

  6. It sounds as if it is,just like the Clinton ‘foundation’ and their daughter’s making a mint on it to bail out her stupid fucking husband.People in glass houses,oh,and the whole email lying thing.What a crap show.

    1. POWELL DID IT 2, WHYCOME U ACT LIEK TRUMPKIN!

  7. Sounds like Trump had some bad employees who took money and did not deliver what the customer paid for

    But you can’t hold a whole business responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole business system? And if the whole business system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our free market institutions in general? I put it to you, (fill in the blank) – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to Trump University, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

    Leads Trump University out of the hearing, all humming the Star-Spangled Banner

    1. Don’t be surprised if Trump actually tries this.

      1. Don’t be surprised if he succeeds.

      2. Never fear. John boy did it for him

    2. You’re not walking out of this one mister! You’re finished! No more election! You’ve bought it this time, buster! I will call your national office! I will revoke your charter! And if you wise guys try one more thing, I am kicking you out of this country! No more fun of any kind!

      1. I bet you’re one of those Krauts who bombed Pearl Bailey…

    3. “Sounds like Trump had some bad employees who took money and did not deliver what the customer paid for”

      Sounds like a gov’t worker.

    4. It’ll still be on double secret probation.

    5. Tell those assholes to shut up.

      Hey, shut up you assholes!

  8. That settles it: Trump is qualified to be the next US President.

  9. The fraud is that he’s not selling access through his university scheme. Not much of a businessman.

    1. I think that is where Trump and Hillary diverge. Trump hornswoggled some rubes out of their money. Hillary actually delivered on her promises. Those Ruskies that wanted plutonium got it.

  10. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Trump has to testify during the general election and Hillary ends up having to testify before a federal grand jury? The presidential election will become Court TV!

    God bless America…

    1. Quit getting my hopes up.

    2. And the establishment puts in low energy jeb with little marco as vp, and the party of slavery puts up biden and pocahontas.

  11. Just to pick a nit, these are not “unsealed documents”. It is an unsealed document, as in the deposition of a single former employee. Is this guy in possession of the entire truth and telling it? Maybe. But he wouldn’t be the first former employee to lie about his former employer in a deposition.

    And lets look at what the guy actually said

    “To my knowledge, not a single consumer who paid for a Trump University seminar programs went on to successfully invest in real estate based on the techniques that were taught.”

    To his knowledge. How extensive is his knowledge? The Times doesn’t tell us. This guy was a sales manager. Maybe he has real intimate knowledge of the results of the entire university but unless he doesn’t, his statement alone doesn’t mean much. Further, notice how qualified the sentence is. He never says that none of the students were satisfied with the program or even that none of them ever went on to be successful in real estate. He just says none of them did so based on these techniques. Okay, how would he know that?

    1. Second, he was a sales guy. What reason would he have to follow students after they had completed the course? What basis does he have to make that statement? Moreover, even if it is true, if the students were still satisfied with the course for whatever reason, maybe it showed them techniques they could use in other areas of life, then the course isn’t a fraud. If the customers are happy with the product, you are not defrauding them.

      Maybe this was a giant fraud scheme. This testimony certainly doesn’t preclude that. It doesn’t prove it either. If it was, there will be a long stream of angry customers explaining how they were ripped off. Maybe I missed it during Suderman’s rambling rant but I don’t see that. They didn’t need employees to convict Madoff. They had real victims. So me real people who lost their money and can show it was taken under false pretenses.

      1. There are thousands of people suing trump making exactly the claims that you don’t see. They clearly are not satisfied. Some have their stories on U tube . It is difficult to fight a billionaire with his own army of attorneys who stall endlessly . Donald trump states in one of his his commercials that HE personally would be teaching his secrets . He never taught anyone anything . So that is indeed fraud . Moreover his secret was inheriting a multi-million dollar real estate company from his father ; Hard to teach that .

        1. There are thousands of people suing trump making exactly the claims that you don’t see.

          This by itself doesn’t mean much. Lawyers will actively solicit as many clients as they can in cases like this, and people are attracted to the idea of easy money from a settlement.

        2. There are thousands of people suing trump making exactly the claims that you don’t see. They clearly are not satisfied.

          Okay, then show me their depositions. Talk is cheap on youtube. I want to hear what they are saying under oath. Why bother with the employee’s deposition? More importantly, what is their proof? Again, it being a bad course doesn’t make it fraud.

          It is difficult to fight a billionaire with his own army of attorneys who stall endlessly

          It can be. But that doesn’t mean every law suit filed against such billionaire has merit.

          Donald trump states in one of his his commercials that HE personally would be teaching his secrets . He never taught anyone anything .

          Really? It was an online course. You mean he never appeared in a video? If he did, then he most certainly taught something. Moreover, if he endorsed the course and there was a course, he was teaching his secrets, whatever those are.

        3. The point is that there is a big difference between a bad product and fraud. Fraud is a term of art and involves very specific things and not just puffing your product. It is more than a bit ironic that the same people who are pants shitting over Trump wanting to get rid of the reckless disregard standard in libel cases because they love free speech so much are now all about how any product that doesn’t live up to its advertised claims “fraud”. Fraud can do to commercial speech what libel can do to personal speech. And last I looked libertarians to their credit were big promoters of commercial free speech. They would do well to remember that and not let their desire to social signal about Trump cause them to forget that.

        4. Some have their stories on U tube .

          LOL do they have sternly-written tweets too?

          1. The sterniest. With frowny face hash tags.

        5. You know, maybe those people who want high inheritance tax are on to something. Trump and Buffett, two sides of the same coin.

          1. I don’t like Buffet but there is nothing he does that is illegal.

      2. Fatal conceit, John. If Donald Trump (R) was Donald Trump (D), you would be singing a whole different tune.

        1. Maybe I would. But that doesn’t make the points I make any less valid.

          1. You wouldn’t even be making the points if Trump was still Trump (D).

            Selective outrage means you have questionable ethics.

  12. Does this mean that Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina are now in play?

    1. Phrasing….

    2. Were they ever in play?

  13. Trump and Hillary are much the same, ruthless Nihilists scrambling for money .

    1. Are you really a nihilists if you’re greedy?

      1. “Nihilist” is becoming an empty insult, like “fascist” or “Iowan.”

        1. Hitler?

            1. Could be.

          1. Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

        2. You can’t insult me. I’m an Iowan.

    2. So a quick google turned this up:
      Link

      1. It’s a link to nihilist Arby’s.

  14. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s only going to get worse and we’ll get President Pantsuit McEvil.

    We all know how this will end. So how ’bout we spend the summer ignoring it?

    1. That’s President CANKLES Pantsuit McEvil!

  15. And how was this a “predatory scheme”. What makes it predatory and not just a bad course? Did Trump force people to buy this course? Did the course do provide the instruction it said it would? If so, how is it fraud? The mere fact that some or even most people can’t be successful even using these techniques doesn’t make the course or the techniques a fraud. It is really hard to make money in real estate. Even if you know how to do it, that doesn’t mean you will be successful.

    Imagine if they had been selling acting classes that promised to prepare students for a career in the movies and it turned out none of the students ever became movie stars. By Suderman’s logic that would be a predatory fraud scheme not a class that produced few results because it is really hard to become a movie star.

    I love the “preying on the elderly and uneducated”. If only everyone could be urban hipsters like Suderman. What would America do without the protection and guidance of their betters?

    1. Did the FDA issue any recommendations about Trump U? No? Then it obviously is as much a predatory scheme as is Big Salt.

    2. Suderman is just trying to maintain his domestic bliss. What do you expect him to say? Something that’ll get him sleeping on the couch?

    3. I don’t know enough about this yet to even try to make a comment on it. But I think maybe Reason is trying a little bit too hard right here:

      That may have been because, in many cases, the instructors at the school had little or no relevant experience in selling real estate

      This makes me start thinking about all of the professors I had in college and all the ones that I have personally known. Few of them had any experience in what they were teaching. A few did. But most of them had spent their entire life in academia and had no real world private sector experience.

      Also, I have to mention here that even if not one of the students went on to become a successful real estate sales person, that means nothing. No one can guarantee you success through taking a few courses. Most of the successful real estate people I’ve known never took a class for it, they just learned on the job and got really good through the experience.

      Would I be surprised if the story is entirely accurate and Trump was found to have committed fraud? Nope.

      Would I be surprised if the entire thing is blown completely out of proportion or even totally made up? Nope.

      Remember, Hillary needs to go on the attack here and she has slim pickings compared to the mountain of corruption on Hillary that Trump doesn’t even need to dig for.

      1. The other thing to remember about this case is that there is this federal agency called the Federal Trade Commission that spends its life bringing civil and sometimes criminal proceedings against fraudulent businesses engaged in interstate commerce. If this thing is such a big deal and such an obvious fraud, why isn’t the FTC all over this. The feds have been up for profit colleges’ asses for the entire Obama administration. And the FTC somehow missed this? Why? Out of kindness?

        1. Well, unless it’s proven as fraud, this really will turn out to be a ‘fake scandal’. Reason has already made their minds up, it sounds like. So I guess based on the accuracy of this story, we’ll see the Donald hauled off on fraud charges any minute now.

          1. So much for due process. More importantly, reason is rightfully interested in the protection of commercial speech. It is more than a bit disappointing that they are willing to throw those concerns over the side and buy into the idea that any product that doesn’t produce exactly what its advertisements claim is fraud because TRUMP!!

            Trump will some day leave the public stage, the fraud laws won’t.

    4. Shades of all those Computer Game Design courses being offered. Like even a fraction of the students are going to get paying jobs in the industry…

    5. You caught yourself a real NeaderTrump, Peter!

    6. I got an email this week about taking online courses to get a master’s degree from Northwestern University in predictive analytics, one of the next big things. Truth is, I’m already in the field and would like to learn more. I clicked through, sent them my name and email, look at the course lists (8 required, 2 electives in major, 2 outside electives) – and the estimated cots was $50k. Holy shit. I can also get a 30 week online course from the University of Washington, no Master’s but a Certificate of Completion, for $479.

      I’m probably going to be working for myself (as a consultant selling data products). I want the knowledge. I don’t need to pay an extra $49,000 for a piece of paper.

  16. “They had no experience” sounds like most university staff and politician and everyone else when they first start out. I had no experience when I started my bussiness 33 years ago. There may be other issues but lack of experience is not proof of fraud.

    1. Exactly. And neither is lack of results. I wonder if Suderman wants to apply these standards to liberal arts programs. How many people who graduate from them ever are successful in the field of their major?

      Suderman has never been a particularly deep or subtle thinker, but he seems to refuse to use even his mental abilities when it comes to Trump. He basically will believe anything without question.

      1. I guess we agree

      2. he seems to refuse to use even his mental abilities when it comes to Trump. He basically will believe anything without question.

        LOL!!!

        John, John, John. You never fail to deliver some little bit of humor in your knee-jerk defense of your little dainty-handed hero.

        1. Yeah, I know Jerry. You don’t know anything about laws or law suits and are not big on learning anything new and thus have a hard time grasping this case and why it is not at least from what we know the obvious case of fraud Suderman claims it to be.

          I get that. You don’t have to self identify by saying something stupid and irrelevant. You really don’t. Maybe some day you will surprise me and have something smart and on topic to say that adds to the conversation but I am not holding my breath.

    2. and to continue i’ve even shown several others how I run my bussiness, they have all moved on to other trades does that make me a fraud or does it show that this was not for them. Also a higher percentage of people with degrees never work in the field of their degree does that make all those “OFFICIAL” universities frauds. I guess so.

      that said vote libertarian.

      1. Add onto that the fact that there was a MASSIVE financial and real estate collapse that wrecked the careers of even seasoned professionals in this business. Yeah, a bunch of people got really excited about the real estate business at the height of the bubble…that’s why it was a bubble. I would not be surprised to see that every single one of the TU students lost their shirt in “Financiopocalypse: the Crashening”. Hell, I did too. Do I get to sue fucking Fannie Mae for their fraud?

    3. Well, you beat me to it.

  17. Look, we have to pick some pack of hyenas to loot the corpse of our republic.
    I’m voting for a pro!

    1. I’m voting against all looter parties and their hijackers. But there is no end of schadenfreude in watching angry voters putting a real estate developer in charge of dismantling the party is still using real estate asset forfeiture to wreck this economy. As in 1933, only prohibition repeal by several states and a retreat from overt predatory looting has slowed the collapse somewhat. We need to discuss repeal of income taxes, not which clown is setting fire to the televangelist looter circus tent.

  18. This sounds an awful lot like the same arguments the Occupy crowd uses to justify their anti-Big Bank socialist nonsense.

    “Corporate-y scary man preyed on ignorant victims to make money, didn’t give them everything they’ve ever wanted and a unicorn! Waaaaahhhhh, WE NEED MOAR REGLASHUNS!”

    If he guaranteed the “students'” success then sue his ass to get your money back. If there was no guarantee, congratulations, you got scammed you moron.

    *please note: this is not meant to downplay Trump being a scam artist or in any way support him, so go ‘way.

  19. So Trump U was basically like every televangelist ever. Maybe he’s GOP material after all.
    *runs*

    1. Nice.

  20. This is so fucking stupid. There are actual issues on which Donald Trump is terrible, but instead you’re gonna fuck up the definition of fraud to talk about some real estate bullshit no one cares about. It wasn’t a fraud. They sold classes about real estate.

    And this is all based on 1 guy’s testimony? Maybe he was a disgruntled employee.

    Even for a blog, this shit is bad. Can you guys fire Suderman?

    1. Or maybe just an all around loser who Hillary handed a few sacks of green paper to?

    2. Can you guys fire Suderman?

      If they’re gonna start firing people, Suderman is at least 4th on the list, below Richman, Chapman, and Dalmia.

      1. Second!

    3. It’s not “based on 1 guy”. There have been legal issues with Trump U since what, 2005 or so? The only reason it hasn’t been resolved by now is that it’s easy to drag out a legal case when you have enough money to throw at it.

  21. Trump U’s pitch [..] was a series of misrepresentations and outright lies designed to convince the vulnerable to part with money that in many cases they could not afford to lose, while providing not one iota of value in return.

    So… just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  22. This ought to be entertaining…

    *pops popcorn*

    1. The thing that makes me most skeptical about this is that it was a $35,000 course. Unless, they just didn’t provide any courses at all, I have a hard time seeing someone who is willing to spend $35,000 on an online course as being a victim of fraud. What the hell did people expect from the course?

      if Trump U is a fraud scheme, then every liberal arts program in America is one as well. I really don’t think Suderman and his ilk view it that way.

      1. if Trump U is a fraud scheme, then every liberal arts program in America is one as well.

        That’s the dirty little secret: they are.

        $35,000 for a single course sounds like a shitload of money for one course. That was about 4 semesters worth of tuition at my college at a “full course load” of 15-18 hours per semester. But still, unless he deliberately advertised the course as something it wasn’t and made ridiculous promises he couldn’t possibly deliver (boy that sounds familiar), I’m not seeing the fraud angle either. And even if he did blatantly lie and rip them off, I’m still tempted to say to the idiots who paid for the course: “You fucked up! You trusted him!” Buyer beware.

        OTOH, I don’t think it’s solely the price tag that’s evidence of fraud, it’s the dishonest sales pitch that the seminars were sold with that people are saying are fraud. All advertising is at least a little dishonest. Think about every fast food commercial you’ve ever seen where they show a nice, juicy, yummy looking burger and then you when you get one it look like a sad little patty of mystery meat on a tiny bun with wilted lettuce and tomatoes that look like they’re about to turn. Should that be considered fraud? I’ve never seen any commercials for “Trump University” and never even heard of it until this lawsuit/ “scandal” so I can’t say if they crossed the line between dishonest advertising and actual fraud (or really where that line is, IANAL),

        1. All advertising is somewhat dishonest if for no other reason than because it tries to shade the facts in a positive way. You really don’t want to go down the path of saying anything less than the objective truth is fraud. Doing that would essentially ban most forms of advertising and severely restrict commercial speech.

          Unless those ads made concrete claims that are demonstrably false, it isn’t fraud and no one with any sense who values free speech would want them to be fraud.

          1. Gosh, there isn’t anything you’d do to defend your blessed Republican Party, would you?

            1. There is a whole lot. I doubt you would understand those arguments either.

      2. See my comments above about a major university offering an online master’s degree for $50k.

    2. Meh. I want something meatier. There should be something bigger than this, right?

      1. Phrasing…

      2. Gary Johnson?

  23. WHYCOME REASON NO MENSHUN HILLARY IS CROOK.

    oh wait. We are so fucked.

  24. Trump U is going to get plenty of play mostly because it’s easy to understand. For-profit colleges are the evil-of-the-week and most people under-30 were (or feel) ripped off by their colleges.

    What the Clinton Foundation scandal lacks is a smoking gun and the direct and understandable harm. The same shallow intellectual environment that makes Trump U an easy sell makes The Clinton Foundations scam a hard one.

    Both of their unfavorables are sky-high and their respective bases don’t give to give even half a shit about anything bad either one of them have done. With a large squishy middle that hates them both, this might be the perfect time for a third party, but the LP is ripping itself apart like always and the eGOP can only barf up a clown like David French.

    1. It will get a lot of play for sure. I am not sure it will change too many minds, however. And there is one easy thing to understand about the Clinton scandal that is not present in this; it is spelled FBI. Whatever you think of this, Trump is being sued not investigated by the FBI. That is a big difference. Even if you are the ultimate low information voter and don’t understand anything about the Clinton email scandal, you will understand she is under investigation by the FBI and that is a very bad thing and much worse than being sued.

    2. so the govts that made contributions and were later able to purchase weapons is not a smoking gun? The Foundation actually lists a number of its donors, even breaking it down by level of contribution for convenience. Quite a few backwaters have given seven figures, and it can’t be to support the work of a place that Charity Navigator won’t even try to score because of the inherent appearance of conflict in some of the donations.

      1. I’m not saying she didn’t do anything wrong; I’m saying it’s a hard story to get average slobs to understand.

        1. be nice if someone at least tried to explain it to them. Yesterday, it was Trump and the veterans donation; today, it’s Trump U. I can hardly wait for tomorrow. Meanwhile, GayJay’s VP pick is still telling everyone what a great person Herself is. Perhaps some Reason writer can explain who this makes the LP the go-to option for disaffected Pubs.

    3. …and the eGOP can only barf up a clown like David French.

      To be fair, a decent number of libertarians were pulling Austin Petersen, who pretty much had no experience doing anything other than “Internet blogging.”

      1. The LP is a doomed project. Uniting hardcore individualists is hard enough, but when you throw in the Aspy kids, the straight-up loons, the crypto Republicans, paranoids and the pragmatists in one big pot, it becomes impossible to stir.

        1. The LP is a doomed project. Uniting hardcore individualists is hard enough, but when you throw in the Aspy kids, the straight-up loons, the crypto Republicans, paranoids and the pragmatists in one big pot, it becomes impossible to stir.

          Or, if you will, a big loony salad that becomes impossible to toss.

          1. Both are cromulent analogies.

            1. Your erudite wordsmithing embiggens my soul.

    4. I am the large squishy middle who hates.

  25. The entirety of the GOP is fraudulent, so why wouldn’t Trump fit right in? The GOP has been infiltrated by the Evangelicals. IMHO, there is not a bigger group of scam artists in America. For your money, Trump at least promises a possibility on your return of investment (not likely, but possible). Evangelicals prey on the poor, uneducated, elderly, and gullible to finance their lavish lifestyles, with the only promise of “life ever after”. I imagine even Trump is envious of Joel Olsteen’s “humble abode”. Oral Roberts fleecing his sheep for millions to build a 100 foot Jesus, else God would kill him. Creflo Dollar (name says it all) fleecing his viewers for $6M because Jesus wants him to have his own private jet. A fool and their money are soon parted. This country is full of fools. I can’t vilify someone for taking advantage of that fact if they do so without breaking any laws. I have not seen any laws that Trump University (name was changed 6 years ago, but media (including Reason) still calls it that for the sensationalism) broke.

    1. SNOW CONEZ!!!!!

      Bo, is that you?

      1. I would like a snow cone. I hope you brought enough for the mob.

        1. Is there ever enough for the mob?

          1. Loaves and Fishes baby.

    2. You might enjoy “An honest liar” on Netflix. It’s about James Randi and how he took down scammers, including an evangelical preacher. Petey Popoff or something.

  26. I’m not really seeing a ‘scam’ here.

    This sounds like one of those real estate courses that works if you’ve got a shit-ton of money to throw around–the ones designed for people with a shit-ton of money (as opposed to the ‘buy and sell real estate with no money down type). These things are all over late night idiot TV.

    Are they all being sued? Or just the one lawyers think has deep pockets and might pay to shut them up?

    1. Pretty much that. And even if you do have a shit ton of money, trying to flip real estate is often a way to make a small fortune by starting with a large one. I guess it is too much to ask that Suderman be circumspect regarding anything related to Trump.

      1. Or you

        1. Totally. Writing multiple paragraphs explaining how while this might be fraud the evidence that is currently available doesn’t show that is not being circumspect at all.

          I don’t think that word means what you think it does.

    2. “I’m not really seeing a ‘scam’ here.”

      RTFA

  27. Hillary: Trump is a fraud and a liar.
    Trump: Hillary is a fraud and a liar.

    They are both right and both of their followers do not see it. Sad!

    1. Their followers see it. Their followers just don’t care.

    2. They most certainly are. The unfortunate news however is that Gary Johnson is also a fraud and a liar!

      It’s frauds, liars, and con artists all the way down. Just a very bad situation all around.

  28. You know those police stings where they send out a notice to wanted felons that they have won some prize and when they show up they are nabbed and put into jail?

    Maybe the presidential debate is one of those? Donald and Hillary will show up thinking they are going to debate and will be slapped into cuffs.

  29. Um… the text of the post just disappeared?

  30. When students, or more likely, their parents pay universities a quarter of a million dollars to get a degree in gender studies or some other meaningless bullshit, what do they tell the student/parents who are spending all that money? Do they tell them honestly ‘we just sold you a worthless piece of paper for $250,000, you fools’, or at least ‘the degree has no value, but the fact that it has our name on it will probably get you employed somewhere, maybe’. Or do they guarantee success? I’m just curious because back when I graduated from college, everyone I knew who were in the process of getting a degree, already had a degree, or aspiring to get one, did so because they needed to work and wanted something to get them in the door, in a position where they could earn more. I didn’t know anyone who went 4 years to a university so they could become activists and unemployed.

    1. Remember the occupy Wall Street guy with the Masters in Puppetry and 200,000 dollars or whatever in student loan debt? I am pretty sure he got ripped off a heck of a lot more than anyone who went to Trump U. Somehow he is a figure of derision that Suderman would happily use as an example of America’s economic illiteracy and the people who paid for Trump U, which cost much less money and time and likely provided more value, are elderly and uneducated victims.

      I guess if the guy who takes your money has a PHD after his name, it is buyer beware or something.

      1. Masters in Puppetry

        That degree has a lot more value than some they are selling today. At least puppetry is a real skill, not some made up esoteric horse shit.

        1. That is a fair point. At least that guy can put on a show. What can a women’s studies major do?

          1. Bitch about things.

          2. Put on a different sort of show.
            I remember being in the far east where the shows were bad enough that the guys shouted “Put it ON! Put it ON!”

        2. MASTER OF PUPPETS,
          DEBT’S PULLING YOUR STRINGS
          TWISTING YOUR LIFE
          AND SMASHING YOUR DREAMS

          1. ^Best comment yet^

            MASTER! MASTER!
            THAT DEGREE THAT YOU’VE BEEN AFTER
            MASTER! MASTER!
            SELLING ONLY LIES

      2. I have to think about all of the times that I have seen these wiz bang courses ‘guaranteed’ to make you a successful billionaire, just like the course vendor, in 5 days! And other bullshit like this. These have been around for as long as I can remember. And they basically play on people who are naive as hell. Not sure if that makes it fraud. I just don’t know where the line is drawn. Did the Donald have any type of disclaimer in tiny print saying something like ‘results might vary’? It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t and if he did, I think his ass is covered.

        1. This definitely doesn’t say good things about Trump. He is a real estate hustler. Everyone knows that. It is not however fraud. And claiming it is just makes the person claiming it look stupid and butt hurt.

          The best argument you can make against Trump is that we shouldn’t have a real estate hustler and reality TV star as President. And that is one hell of a convincing argument until you consider his Democratic opponent.

          1. “You see that building? I bought that building ten years ago. My first real estate deal. Sold it two years later, made an $800,000 profit. It was better than sex. At the time I thought that was all the money in the world. Now it’s a day’s pay.”

            ~Quote from Trump U brochure.

            1. The people who bought my house in Virginia in 2004 sold it 13 months later for a $125k (30%) profit.

              The people who bought it from them had it foreclosed upon.

        2. Used to see ads from ITT and their ilk about learning to fix air conditioners, weld, drive big-rigs, or other “honest” labor jobs. Says something that afternoon ads these days are for ambulance chasing lawyers and get-rich-quick hucksters.

    2. There are some administrative academics that are getting worried about it and many more that really should be.

      I sure there is an exact term for in economics, but modern academia is a completely belief-driven economy. As long as the school act like they are selling something of value, the students believe they are receiving something of value and employers hire them as if the degree has meaning, everything keeps bumping along. Maybe that’s just a bubble, but it’s a bubble with a lot of moving parts and some of those parts come very close to fraud.

      1. *I’m”

      2. You are exactly right. I am not sure how you call any academic course “fraud”. Fraud is when you sell me a used car that you have rolled back the odometer on or take my money promising to redo my roof only to replace a few shingles and nothing else.

        No matter how great a course is, there is no guaranteeing the results. The course is what you make of it. Sure some classes are good and others bad. But none of them are fraud by a strict reading of the term.

        1. I’m talking about stuff like graduation rates, job placement rates, degree placement/remuneration rates. Those numbers are so cooked they are basically mush.

          1. Yes. And now that you put it that way, that is fraud. And if it turns out that Trump U was putting out fake numbers like “50% of our graduates were making six figure incomes in real estate within two years of taking the course”, they need to fry him and everyone involved. I doubt that will turn out to be true since if it were I would think we would have already heard about it and the FTC would be involved instead of this being a civil suit.

            I want to saw a couple of law schools were sued successfully by former students for lying about their post graduate employment rates, though I could be remembering wrong. If they didn’t win, they should have won.

      3. Everyone having information at their fingertips really hurts purely knowledge based degrees. You have to have some skill to go with the education.

        Cite: my butt

        1. Don’t be ashamed Florida. I am not going anywhere but my ass is going to win a Pulitzer some day.

      4. “As long as the school act like they are selling something of value, the students believe they are receiving something of value and employers hire them as if the degree has meaning, ”

        Like every church?

      5. As long as the school act like they are selling something of value, the students believe they are receiving something of value and employers hire them as if the degree has meaning

        You’d think that eventually the market would become so saturated with people with BA degrees in pointless majors that employers would no longer see having that BA in “Social Justice Warrioring” or whatever as having any value.

        “Oh, you have a BA in Gender Studies from Oberlin? So does my idiot cousin, who’s a complete moron.”

    3. Re: Hyperion,

      When students, or more likely, their parents pay universities a quarter of a million dollars to get a degree in gender studies or some other meaningless bullshit, what do they tell the student/parents who are spending all that money?

      That they got their degree from a ‘prestigious’ center for higher learning.

      I didn’t know anyone who went 4 years to a university so they could become activists and unemployed.

      I knew quite a few in the 90s. And people who live in countries where college education is ‘free’ and seen as a ‘right’ also find out that unemployment lines are populated with college grads. The same way cheap money tends to finance unsustainable bubbles of what seemed to be profitable endeavors, ‘free’ college or government-financed college tuition generates an unsustainable bubble of college grads because of the false perception of profitability tied to college degrees. All of those things are the results of meddling with the price system. However, it is not a problem created by higher education. Higher education still has the weight of its prestige.

      The problem for El Trumpo and his band of merry Trumpistas is that his ‘University’ carries NO weight when it comes to perception so it HAD to offer a super great product and not a bill of goods. Seems to me that, unfortunately, that is exactly what those students received for their money.

      1. When I was stationed in Germany the contracted cleaning crew for the facility were Germans. Our cleaning lady, a cuteish MILF who had a thing for wearing white capris, had a bachelor’s degree in childhood education from the local University. She was only able to get the job collecting trash and mopping the floors of an American Army installation because she was a single mom and so had some priority due to having to be on welfare. Every opinion Americans in America have about the wealth and economic security of Germans is 99% wrong. The pundits repeating how awesome that welfare state is are basing it off their summer trip where they stayed in hostels and used a Europass.

  31. Well the Clintons would never stoop so low as to profit from education. Except that Bill Clinton was hired in 2010 to be Chancellor for the Laureate Network, the world’s largest for-profit university network.

    http://www.americanthinker.com…..rsity.html

  32. I’m waiting for a bunch of baristas with degrees in sociology and fifty grand of non-dischargeable debt suing their educational institutions for fraud.

    1. Would the jury have to read their Senior Theses as the schools try to prove they provided the service the students requested? No damn way would I submit to the kind of torture that jury would face.

      1. No damn way would I submit to the kind of torture that jury would face.

        We could always just populate the juries with detainees from Gitmo.

  33. Worse than negligently handling top secret info, which is espionage. 1,000,000 times worse. Trump must go!

  34. “Even some of Trump’s harshest critics are falling in line. Last summer, while running for president, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry called Trump a “cancer on conservatism.” Perry now says he’d be willing to serve as Trump’s running mate.”

    Of course Perry wants to be Trump’s VP — he figures Trump will get himself impeached, and Perry will be there to take over…

  35. Doesn’t Trump University sound like a rip off of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”?

  36. A year ago, w/o Trump’s running for prez, this story would’ve taken his side.

  37. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude. Wow.

    http://www.Real-Anon.tk

  38. Trump will lend the USA his name, and short there after, it too will fail.

  39. Libertarian Robert Wenzel (Economic Policy Journal) actually ATTENDED one of these years ago. Your coverage and headline are outright lies.

    It is REASON that is the scam, not a billionaire who has hundreds of successful ventures apart from Trump U.

    http://bit.ly/EPJTrumpU

    1. That website tries to download malware disguised as an Adobe Flash update. Always good for your credibility…

  40. Seems like that behavior is more the norm in businesses in the US! I remember going through real estate courses back in the late ’80-s, that resulted in my wasting the money I paid for it. People take the courses thinking they have discovered the next get rich quick scheme, only to find out that the system is not going to yield the wealth it claims that its practitioners will accumulate! The rich figured another way to get the money from the poor. It is no different watching all of the “courses” offered to people for skills that are not going to produce the jobs they claim to, like dental/medical assistants, medical insurance coders, medical transcriptionists, and on and on! There is always a way to separate a fool and his money! These people are whining about their waste of time and money when they knowingly entered into the contracts!

  41. I almost got involved with ACN, which was also endorsed by Trump (and other celebrities). Needless to say, I was glad that I didn’t give them any of my hard earned money.

    The best defense for Trump I can think of is that his university is essentially a legal scam. Phoenix university and multilevel marketing schemes are not necessarily illegal. I imagine the aggressive sales tactics are expected of these borderline pyramid operations. They need consumers to invest more in the next tier.

    Regardless of the court ruling it’s a strike against his judgment and business acumen. But it won’t matter one iota to Trumpers. They’re exactly where the Obama drones were 8 years ago. Their guy can do no wrong.

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  43. Oh how fun it is to be a smug libertarian sitting at the back of the room. During every intra-election period, talk about the power of free markets and the importance of civil liberties but then when we have a less-than-perfect successful businessman who calls out political correctness for it’s cultural Marxism, shit all over him and cite the NY Times. Reminds of how each time Ron Paul ran you all would write little hit pieces on him claiming he isn’t a true libertarian but then you effectively bent over for Rand despite him being less of a libertarian purist than Ron. Reason is becoming part of the cosmopolitan DC problem. With every extra interview Matt and Nick get on MSNBC, the less and less they’ll support conservative candidates.

    1. Well said. Hypocrisy is ripe here.

  44. Trump may be the greatest con man in history. Some of his critics call him an idiot, but that is far from the case. He is absolutely brilliant at conning people.

    It’s one thing to con a lot of people out of money. It’s another to be able to do this time after time, when your business failures are front-page news, and make billions. And it’s yet another to be able to use your skills to con your way to the nomination for president of the most powerful nation on the planet.

    Seriously, W.C. Fields and Bernie Madoff were rank amateurs compared to Trump.

  45. Most collage graduates say the same thing about their schools, so what’s the difference?
    School is expensive, it can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job or even learn anything.
    Do your research before you enroll, or such it up buttercup when you’ve found you make bad a choice.

  46. Scott Adams observed that voters–NOT the Go Pee prohibitionists–are electing a grenade to roll into Congress. If so, then a terminal cancer on conservatism would do just as nicely. Conservatism, let’s face facts, means religious fanaticism out to use government force in the coercive exercise thereof–exactly the monstrosity we are observing in Ottoman nations and all European countries those mystical ideologies have infested. Salem, the Inquisition, burning at the stake, pogroms… Old Testament Christianity maybe, but national socialist death camp operators are still being found and arrested even today.
    Four separate parties have been so infiltrated here, and similar tentacles seek to turn even the LP into a weapon against the rights of exactly half of humanity.
    Canada has no such problem. Why?

    1. Being conservative has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Being Socially Conservative might be what you’re thinking of. Regular Conservative means you prefer the tried and true over the unknown or unproven.

    2. Your country elected Trudeau, indicating a fundamental problem.

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  48. “I see no inherent problem with salesman making strong cases for their products, or with seminar programs designed to maximize their own profits. But those sales pitches must be essentially truthful.”

    Must be? And who is going to enforce the ‘truth’ I wonder? Does caveat emptor not apply? Why, or why not? You go to a ‘school’ without any accreditation and it’s run by a reality TV star that owns casinos, and what would a reasonable person expect to obtain? I’d say exactly what they received. They bent over, pulled their pants down, and are now complaining they were violated.

    I massively dislike Trump, and this is a thing I also don’t like him for, but there is no regulation that will protect stupid people from their own stupidity.

  49. I would argue that anyone who enrolled in Trump University should have known exactly what they were getting. Trump has spent his lifetime branding everything Trump as classless, superficial, overblown bullshit.

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