Employees Of Trump 'University' Say It Was High Pressure Sales Scam. Whaaaaaat????
You too can scam your way to the Republican nomination. Ask me how!
Hope everyone's sitting down for this: In court documents unsealed Tuesday, former employees of Donald Trump's fake "University" say the real estate seminars weren't so much a way to learn Donald Trump's secrets for getting rich as a high-pressure scam to sell people more expensive real-estate seminars. So at least somebody was making a lot of money from the fake "school."
One sales manager for Trump University, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway.
Schnackenberg said in his affidavit that he resigned his job at Trump University in disgust, saying that when he began working for Trump University 2006, the curriculum was based on an online training program focusing on real estate (though not one developed by Donald Trump), but that it was soon replaced by a program focused on high-pressure sales tactics run by people who knew little about real estate, where the goal was to upsell enrollees to the most expensive classes, whether they could afford the classes or not. Like other former Trump U employees, he said people were encouraged to max out their credit cards and request higher credit card limits to purchase the classes, although to his knowledge, "not a single consumer who paid for a Trump University seminar program went on to successfully invest in real estate based upon the techniques that were taught." Schnackenberg also wrote,
I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.
The release of the documents was ordered by Gonzalo Curiel, the judge in one of the two California lawsuits against Trump University, so of course Donald Trump spent much of the weekend attacking Curiel at campaign appearances and on Twitter, explaining to crowds who booed at the judge's scary foreign-sounding name:
I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel. And he is not doing the right thing [...]
We are in front of a very hostile judge. The judge was appointed by by Barack Obama -- federal judge. [Boos]. Frankly he should recuse himself. He has given us ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative. I have a top lawyer who said he has never seen anything like this before [...]
So what happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great. I think that is fine. You know what? I think the Mexicans are going to end up loving Donald Trump when I give all these jobs. I think they are going to love it. I think they are going to love me.
Trump repeated the attacks on Curiel Tuesday, again calling him "Mexican." Curiel was born in Indiana, although it's true, he is of Mexican descent, so that must make him a very bad man. Trump's Internet Flying Monkey Brigade has responded enthusiastically on Twitter, parroting that Curiel is totally unfair because he's a member of a California organization of Latino attorneys called the "La Raza Lawyers Association." Campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson took to CNN Monday to muddy the waters and rile up the rubes:
"This is an organization that has been out there organizing anti-Trump protesters with the Mexican flags," Pierson said (apparently confusing the La Raza Lawyers Association with the National Council on La Raza, which is a different group). "And so Mr. Trump is just stating the obvious."
Well, yeah, but they're all the same, aren't they? Yes, we know, we're talking about facts while discussing Donald Trump. Bad habit of ours, thinking that his campaign's lies even matter. An obviously fake Twitter account for "Gonzalo Curiel" has been created, with a caricature of Donald Trump on it, and at least one Trump Troll is already complaining it proves Curiel is biased and unfair:
You know how those federal judges Tweet about cases they're involved with all the time.
We're reasonably certain Trump won't be able to make an issue of Curiel's filthy biased ethnicity at trial, where the focus will be on documents like the employee affidavits testifying that Trump wasn't involved in designing Trump University's "curriculum" or picking its instructors. Another former Trump U employee, Corinne Sommer, testified that Trump University customers who bought the mid-level 3-day seminar were encouraged to max out their credit cards or dip into their savings so they could purchase the top-level seminars, because soon they'd get rich in real estate just like Donald Trump. The presenters -- again, experts in selling Trump University, not real estate -- promised quick returns on those maxed-out credit cards, although maybe they failed to mention the real secret of Donald Trump's success:
In addition to the employee affidavits, the court also released Trump University "playbooks" which contained very few techniques for getting rich in real estate, but lots of tips for selling more Trump University seminars, including how to deal with reporters: Be nice, vague, and send them to an official spokesperson, because even if you really believe in Trump University (hahaha), reporters are not your friends:
"Instructors" also got step-by-step instructions on overcoming objections to trivial matters like not being able to afford the classes:
"Money is never a reason for not enrolling in Trump University," the sales guide states, adding, "if they really believe in you and your product, they will find the money."
Elsewhere in the playbooks, instructors are encouraged to tell
marks students that they're losers who should be winners, but unless they cough up more dough, they'll never be winners. “You’ve had your entire adult life to accomplish your financial goals... and you’re not even close to where you need to be.”
You don't win anymore. Buy another seminar and you'll be winning so much, you'll be sick of winning. Huh. That seems strangely familiar, doesn't it? Expect a lot more shouting about that "Mexican" judge.
[NYT / Vox / Josh Blackman's blog / NPR / HuffPo]
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.