Everyone at some point has heard the term Trump University being used, what was this Trump University?
Will America become his next ‘Trump-University-Bubble-go-Bust-experiment’ in 2017?
Promise all, deliver much less as next U.S. President?
Big talk- less substance?
- It was a make-money- tool that would share with its participants Donald Trump’s “secrets” to real estate and business success. But the problem was it was not a formed university, it was a just series of online courses and in-person seminars.
- After an umpteen warnings from the New York State Department of Education board its name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010.
- Today it is currently defending itself in two class-action lawsuits and one fraud lawsuit, filed by New York state Attorney General Mr. Eric Schneiderman.
- They are founded on claims that the platform coaxed the students to pay thousands of dollars for a “Gold Elite” syllabus that claimed to offer inside information and personal mentoring.
- The Trump University’s legal troubles and fame for dishonesty may slow Trump’s momentum in the contest with Hillary Clinton.
Billionaire turned educator
For some people, “Trump University” is much more than just a late-night punch line. It’s a mark on their résumé. Many of Trump University “graduates” list their credentials on their LinkedIn profiles.
Why, would anyone brag about attending a seminar? Many felt that they had got their money’s worth and were genuinely proud of the accomplishments they achieved after attending the Trump University seminars. Lawsuits call the seminars “an expensive rip-off” even though some alumni disagree.
Even though his former students are skeptical of his career as a politician, they still take pride in “Trump University” as they use it on their social networking profiles. They feel so mainly because they paid the price for Trump’s Insider information that they had glimpses of, those more in tune with business have taken that knowledge and utilized it to make their careers. This would probably explain his appeal as a presidential candidate.
Those close to these achievers claimed that their success in business had more to do with their own determination and hard work than with what they gained at Trump University. They may have got their initial push from attending these “Multibillionaire-personal” seminars, but they continued to make their own careers.
Donald Trump established the program on May 23, 2005, in New York, as “Trump University” with President Michael Sexton. Bloomberg Business labeled the program as a venture into the “fast growing field of online education” in an article. But the process began in 2004 with a $6 million dollar investment by Trump, wherein it was promoted as- “Trump University is owned, lock, stock and barrel by Mr. Trump, it’s his baby, his company, designed to help him accomplish his goal of leaving a legacy.”
The New York State Education Department penned the real estate mogul, “educator” immediately after Trump University was founded. It issued a number of warnings stating that using the name “university” without a license was illegal (Trump University did not confer degrees / certifications / license of any kind to work). In response to the warnings he merely created a mail-drop office in Dover, Delaware and continued to operate out of offices at 40 Wall Street for the next five years. Trump’s offices were included in the sales pitch, telling potential students that, “other people don’t have anyone to call, but you’ve got Trump. You’ll call 40 Wall Street and they’ll walk you through it.” The first three courses available were set at the price of $300 each, which gave out introduction to real estate, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
The price set for Trump University’s “fulfillment” seminar, which was theoretically an annual internship to teach Trump’s “business strategies” and all that they needed to know to get rich fast was $1495. The three day seminar mainly inclusive of Trump’s trainers who worked for a commission, based on pestering gullible students to reveal their financial information, raise their credit limits, even empty their 401ks in eagerness of becoming a real estate mogul, stating that “you’ll learn how to finance your deals using other people’s money.” Another package known as the Trump University Elite mentoring package that cost a whopping $35,000.It provided little opportunity for sales pitches. Trump U holds copyrights on the Trump 101 series of books with names like Trump 101: The Way to Success and Wealth Building 101: Your First 90 Days on the Path to Prosperity which is a package to order for leisure reads.
The Washington Post stated that more than 80,000 people attended the free introductory seminars that were held in hotel ballrooms all over the country. Almost 9,200 signed up for the three-day online seminars, for $1,495, and approximately 800 paid for the $35,000 package that included one-on-one mentoring.
What happened to those who attended Trump University?
- Michael LA Monica, owner of an estate sale and art auction business in New Jersey. he was named Donald Trump’s “Student of the Month” in October 2008 and was profiled on Trump’s blog as a “real estate success.”
- Joel Halley spent about $1,000 on online Trump University courses in sales and marketing he said the program taught him concepts about marketing that he uses currently as an owner of a computer repair shop in Melbourne.
- Margaret Tom a woman at 69 was going to retire from work, having her retirement savings reduced by recession she was looking for a way to earn enough to retire in comfort. So she paid about $35,000 for multiple Trump University seminars and a private coach in 2010. But she found the curriculum thin about business administration. She realized this only after paying for the program, where Trump himself would not make personal appearances during the program. Tom declares Trump University was not a scam but her understandings in real estate investing have been diverse.
- Brent Choi, works as a software engineer at Stanford University’s IT department, he basically learned how to use Zillow from Trump University. Nobody made any money, and everyone was promised of professional coaches who would direct the students to succeed until their money was recouped, which never actually happened for anyone.
What is happening to Trump University now?
Tara Marakieff filed a class action lawsuit in 2010 consisting of 34-pages accusing Trump University of numerous violations under her state’s consumer protection laws at California’s southern district federal court. She also wrote to the “Better Business Bureau” and to her bank about the high stress, tiny delivery tactics used by Trump’s “instructors” to source money from students, mostly by training them to increase their credit card limits during term breaks. She persistently spoke out to the Fair Trade Commission and other consumer review websites also. Trump’s attorneys tackled her warnings to additional potential victims, and claimed defamation. The lower court tossed Marakieff’s anti-SLAPP motion to attack, ruling bizarrely that Trump University LLC was not a public figure at all under “New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan”, which makes it impossible for a public figure to win a defamation lawsuit by forming the standard of “actual malice” as the petitioner’s liability of proof. An appeals court accurately ruled that Trump University was in fact a “limited public figure” based on the high profile advertising used to lure students in for “free advice from a billionaire”. It took four years, but Marakieff won her anti-SLAPP claim. The court granted her attorney’s fees as it was a pretty expensive long a fight. Marakieff could have evaded an almost decade long legal and financial catastrophe. In 2007 LA Times reported that Trump’s instructor was not a millionaire as promoted, but instead a previously bankrupt, divorced man who lost his home to foreclosure. Trump called on the reporter himself and slammed him as “3rd rate” which was out in a follow up column demanding that his own letter be issued clarifying that he was “the hottest name in real estate” and how much he loved the photo of the story. The name was altered in 2010 to the “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative” after the pestering of the New York State Education Department, following that it stopped operating soon.
Donald Trump inherited the New York real estate firm and spun it into a multibillion dollar empire. He believed that a series of seminars or a year-long mentorship program is like a genuine university .It seems incredibly naïve, but calling Trump University a shady money making college does not do justice as even the most dubious colleges provide a syllabus parallel to an actual degree program. Trump’s seminars recruited with the promise of life-changing education and triumph, but were sadly unable to deliver.