The top polling Republican in the presidential primary has more to worry about than just an upcoming debate. A new report shows Donald Trump is in the middle of multiple lawsuits for defrauding college students who attended his alleged real estate “university.”
Between 2005 and 2010, Donald Trump’s “Trump University” was suppose to offer potential students instructions on how to become a successful real estate investor, but things went sour, as reported by Vox on July 29. The real estate school offered a free 90 minute seminar, but charged $1,495 for a three day package, and students could purchase what was known as “Trump Gold Elite” for $35,000. The elite package included a one on one “mentorship” from experienced instructors who were allegedly “handpicked” by Trump” himself. As students cashed in, it allegedly was for nothing. New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman went on to sue Trump in 2013 on allegations of fraud, after opening up an investigation in 2010.
Citing the illegal use of the term “university,” the investigation found that each seminar promised students more valuable real estate secrets, if only they purchased a higher level package. One tactic Trump University, which was later renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, used was to encourage students to call their credit card companies, which they claimed would raise their credit score. As Vox pointed out, asking for a credit increase usually results in a drop in credit score, not an increase.
The investigation also revealed that the alleged “experienced real estate investors” often didn’t have any credentials, nor did they have much history in real estate, with some have declared bankruptcy themselves. Trump was also suppose to be there to handpick instructors, but that never came to be true.
After warning Trump in 2005 that he couldn’t use the term “university” without an education license in New York, Trump University ignored the request and continued operations. In the time since the warning, multiple lawsuits have been filed. The suit against Trump was partly thrown out, but the university was forced to pay restitution to nearly 800 students, while Trump counter sued the attorney general for $100 million. Currently in the court are two class-action lawsuits against Trump from students who paid nearly $40,000 to attend the seminars. Trump is due to testify on August 10.
Trump is currently leading in most national polls for the Republican nomination for president. Surprising most, Trump is even leading in key swing states, including New Hampshire and Florida. The first Republican primary debate is set for August 6, just four days before he takes the stand to testify in his shady for-profit “university.”