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Mar 01 2016

NY Appeals Court Rules Trump Must Stand Trial for Fraud

This presidential election season just got crazier. The First Department (the NY Appeals court covering Manhattan) ruled today that the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of the State of New York against Trump University and Donald Trump can move forward to trial. The Donald and his lawyers had sought to dismiss the suit because they argued a three year statute of limitations had applied and the conduct alleged occurred more than three years prior to the filing of the suit. Further they argued that the law the AG brought the case under did not allow the AG to bring a fraud action for damages but only allowed the AG to bring an injunction to stop the fraudulent activity.

In deciding that the applicable law (NY’s Executive Law section 63(12)) is governed by a six year statute of limitation and that it does indeed authorize an independent special proceeding by the AG to prove fraud and collect damages, the court clarified some esoteric legal points that will likely make this case an important one in the annals of consumer law. But far more damaging than the court’s ruling that the matters now move forward to adjudication is the court’s language regarding the shenanigans behind Trump University and Trump’s involvement in it. No doubt Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz will be reading this to whomever they can get to listen today – Super Tuesday.

The first problem with the University according to the allegations is that it was not a licensed University and therefore could not call itself “Trump University” under NYS Education Law. When this was brought to Trump’s attention in 2005, he quickly formed a Delaware LLC and told the State Ed Dept that he would not conduct any business or do any seminars in NY and that the school had relocated to Delaware. But it hadn’t. When it got caught in 2009 holding seminars and conducting business in NY State, Trump got another letter from State Ed. This time he simply changed the company’s name to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (TEI). The third letter from State Ed then stated that while this was all well and good, TEI would still need a license to operate as an educational institution in NY State. Trump responded by advising State Ed that the business was closing down at the end of 2010.

That may have satisfied the State Education Dept but Attorney General Eric Schneiderman picked up the ball in 2011 when he began investigating for-profit universities and trade schools for fraud. His office issued a subpoena to TEI that revealed some damaging information. The AG’s office claims that not only was TEI operating in NYS as an unlicensed, illegal university, but that it had operated a serious bait-and-switch program to get students to enroll in ever more expensive seminars. The complaint alleges that through various fraudulent practices, TEI intentionally misled more than 5,000 students nationwide, including over 600 New York residents, into paying between $1,495 to $35,000 each to participate in live seminars and mentor programs that the students thought were part of a licensed university. That’s a whopping fraud claim of between a low of $52 Million and a high of $175 Million in fraud, in just damages alone, never mind interest and penalties. So you could see why Donald wanted this thrown out.

"House of Frauds?"

“House of Frauds?”

How was the fraud allegedly perpetrated? By a simple bait-and-switch program that has been time-tested since the days of traveling snake oil salesman. Per the complaint, Trump University and later TEI started by representing in advertising that real estate experts “handpicked” by Trump himself would teach his strategies and techniques for real estate investing, and that these strategies would lead to success. One advertisement offered a free workshop and referred to “Donald Trump’s handpicked experts.” The same advertisement bore a quotation attributed to Trump, stating, “I can turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you.” Similarly, a direct mail solicitation sent to prospective students read, “In just 90 minutes, my hand-picked instructors will share my techniques, which took my entire career to develop” and went on to state, “Then just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

The Attorney General noted that at the free seminars, instructors played a video featuring Donald Trump telling prospective students, “We’re going to have professors that are absolutely terrific — terrific people, terrific brains, successful, the best” and noted that they were “all people that are handpicked by me.” Sounds like his Presidential campaign stump speeches, no? However, the Attorney General’s complaint alleges, Trump did not handpick the instructors;indeed, only one of the live event speakers for Trump University had even ever met Donald Trump. Similarly, Donald Trump never participated in the creation of any instructional content and never reviewed any curricula. The Attorney General further claims that the instructors had been inadequately vetted and in fact had little or no experience in real estate investing, instead having prior work experience such as food service management and graphic design. In other words, every promise was a total sham. As I said, sounds like his Presidential campaign stump speeches, no?

But it gets worse: According to the complaint, the free seminars were merely an instrument through which instructors would induce students to enroll in increasingly expensive seminars, starting with a three-day $1,495 seminar. Although Trump University speakers represented that the three-day seminar would teach students “all they needed to know” to be successful real estate investors, the instructors then told students that they needed to attend yet another seminar for an additional $5,000 in order to learn more about particular lenders. Instructors at the $5,000 seminars are also alleged to have engaged in a bait-and-switch by then urging students to sign up for “Trump mentorship packages, which ranged anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000” and supposedly provided “the only way to succeed in real estate investment.” But wait – you said the $1495 seminar was all I needed to get rich like Donald! So some of these sycophants ponied up the $35K to be like Donald. Guess how that worked out.

Trump tried to get out of the suit filed against him personally saying he should have no personal exposure as he always operated through a corporation. But that argument failed as well for a number of reasons: The complaint alleges that Trump was personally involved with the founding of Trump University;Trump conceded that he had “significant involvement with both the operation and overall business strategy of Trump University,” including “attending frequent meetings” to “discuss Trump University operations;” Trump’s photographs and signature appeared on all of Trump University’s advertising; and Trump personally reviewed and approved all the ads that were in the newspapers. That was enough evidence, if proven, the court said, to hold him personally liablefor fraud under the law.

Wow. Reading the decision provides an outline of Trump’s entire persona: Promise big, promote your greatness, claim personal involvement, say you’ll hire the best, then run for the hills. Let’s hope he doesn’t do to the voters (much less the country) what he did to the poor saps who enrolled in Trump University. Expect his political opponents to try an dmake as much use of today’s decision as they can. You can read the full decision HERE

Follow me on twitter @oscarmichelen

H/T to Eric Turkewitz at NY personal injury attorney blog

114 comments

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  1. Matthew S. Chan

    I have some insight into the Trump University issue that many do not. When Trump University came online many years ago, I was initially excited. However, it didn’t take me long to figure out that Trump was talked into lending his name to this sad venture. It was similar to his involvement to his Learning Annex involvement where his name is used for marketing and bring in the masses, but the actual service/product (seminars) were severely disconnected with the higher vision. It was always a huge sales pitch. And a lot of the allegations I am reading is (quite sadly) entirely consistent with how other operations work. They sucker people into the fleecing program using the Trump name.

    The reason why I can make these assertions is because I recognized many of the speakers, “educators”, and marketing tactics used were transplanted from the sleazy “creative real estate” education business. It disgusted me. I recognized many of the sleazy names that were working in/with Trump University. I was dismayed that this happened because Trump, for all his bluster, is generally associated with quality and excellence. Trump University was a sleazy operation not because of Donald Trump directly. The people he got involved with were very sleazy but Donald probably didn’t know. Donald got “sold” a bad bill of goods on the venture and now he is paying for it.

    I was involved on the fringes of the real estate investing education industry and found a lot of it very disgusting. I would get invitations to speak at events or do podcasts due to my books, manuals, and audio CD’s on the subject matter. I was “credible” and I reported/wrote the good and the bad and I never oversold the product. Because of this credibility that I built, I frequently got invitations to speak/teach but I regularly turned nearly all of them down. There were a few good educators and products but most were sleazy, misleading, and deceptive.

    Trump University will be one of the most visible failures along with his other 4 corporate bankruptcies. In my view, there was so much sleaze in that operation. What needs to happen is that the employees and the contractors were the true perpetrators of fraud, not Donald Trump himself. I believe he was largely ignorant of what happened and would not condone it. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of lending his name and letting sleazy people run with it and he will now pay for it.

    1. ianosmond

      You may be right that Trump himself did not perpetrate fraud. But it certainly sounds like there is a situation here where it’s reasonable to bring it to court to determine the preponderance of evidence.

      1. Jack Jackson

        To say that Trump merely lent his name to the University is absolutely false. There would not be grounds for a class action suit against Trump if that were true.

    2. Jack Large

      Good luck in court.

      1. Clara Newsom Castle

        HOPE HE HAS TO REPAY ALL THOSE PEOPLE HE SCAMED

    3. Richard Marcus

      To say Trump was used by others is a fairy tale. He conceived it, posted for photos, advertised it, and benefitted from it. And to quote him, “I have hand-picked the finest instructors…” But don’t worry Matthew, being guilty of fraud is fine for Republican Presidential candidates, just ask Mitt Romney who accepted an IRS amnesty of his Swiss bank accounts.

      1. ncrdbl1

        How can one person be so wrong on any one subject. He did NOT conceive the idea. He was approached by two men who conceived the idea and was asked to put his name on the venture.

        1. SpiffyLaw

          Per the article above:
          Trump conceded that he had “significant involvement with both the operation and overall business strategy of Trump University,” including “attending frequent meetings” to “discuss Trump University operations;”…

          Right–totally not involved, simply because you say so/don’t want to believe it.

        2. Steve Jay

          Trump sold the scam by inferring students were getting a direct line into how to make money in real estate the Trump way. Now he says he’s not personally responsible for anything Trump University. Give me a fricking break, will ya?

          1. stormkite

            Perhaps committing fraud and disclaiming yourself when the time comes IS the Trump Way?

        3. Susan White McNichol

          Right. Two men approached him and he just jumped right in and fell for the deal. I will never believe that. He always says what a great mind he has and great ” words”. Who says stuff like that?

        4. Jim Grandone

          Please name names. If Trump did not conceive the Trump University, then who were the two men who did? If I lend my name to anything, I expect to be responsible for the actions done by the people hired under my name.
          What is the point of calling it Trump University, if it is neither Trump, nor a university?
          Fraud.

        5. lynn

          This is silly. How could one man conceive of such an idea…followed up by, two men conceived of the idea. Clearly, one man could…the question is, was Donald capable of thinking up something on his own, or was he just taken for a sucker? Either way, he is very unethical, or, not all that bright.

          1. Isidro Garcia

            Either way doesn’t make Drumpf look good. He sells his fake name cheaply. He conceived the fraud; he lied about bona fides of fake “University” which he continued to pimp on that surreal infomercial “press conference.” As he continued to pimp his failed Trump steak venture. Carnival barker and loser.

        6. Joan Stevens

          He sold the University garbage just like the wall he’s going to build,or the Mexican’s will build.He has no moral’s when it come’s to money.

    4. Jack Wall

      It’s his name. Therefore he is 100% responsible. Period.

      1. Drawer22

        @Jack Wall – Re “It’s his name. Therefore he is 100% responsible. Period.” By your impeccable illogic, for every drunk driver of a Ford who causes injury or death to others, Henry Ford is 100% personally responsible. (Since ol’ Hank has passed away, his estate has no responsibility, not the driver, not any involved bartender, not the maker of the alcoholic beverage consumed, and most certainly neither the corporation nor the dealership. So how would you plan to exact judicial leverage for the purposes of revenge and make Henry pay? I’m curious!)

        Please seek psychiatric assistance.

        De Oppresso Liber

        1. John

          Really – that’s your counter argument. Ford didn’t sign his car buyers up with an addition promise of making they Grand Prix drivers. Trump affirmatively promise a result with his product or better describe as a service.

        2. Christopher Hintz

          You cant sue ford because they sell a car they promised a car and they delivered. You cant sue the liquior company because they didnt comvince you to over imbibe, but you can sue the bartender. And if ford told you they were selling you a ford but instead you got a yugo you could sue them. If Jack Daniels sold you a product advertised as 45proof but was really 150 you could sue. Trump knew what was going on and profitted from it. He should be held responsible

      2. debrakcarey

        Trump has resorted to selling ‘his name’ because he has failed at actualy running the actual businesses he started. In the case of Trump University he may have sold his name, but he also sold his image and his words… via video adverts. He’s responsibile for what transpired legally.

    5. Oscar Michelen

      He can;t have it both ways. If this was a huge success and became the next University of Phoenix for example, he would be touting his business know-how and how he developed one of the greatest online education platforms in history. And it may be one thing to lend your name to a steak-shipping company but to lend your name to a real-estate education program when you are a rel-estate investor is a different story. The clear impression given to students was that they would learn his strategies and thought processes from experts he hand-selected. If he didn’t look into it at all and “just lent his name” its even a worse indictment of his reputation and judgment..

    6. Joe Sixpack

      Trump is associated with “quality”? You’re an idiot, Matthew Chan. He’s a fraud, and he knew exactly what was going on with Trump University. It’s Trump apologists like you who are admiring a bloviating ignoramus and bringing this country down.

      1. RockJockPA

        Joe, please stop the name calling. By calling Trump a bloviating ignoramus, you have just brought down perfectly respectable bloviating ignorami to his level.

      2. Michael Dioughty

        Trump, is a complete fraud, He’s playing the people for suckers, Most of his followers have very low IQ’s, He is a very dangerous man!

        1. Phyllis Harris

          Actually he is a liar and con man but not really a fraud to me. Trumps speeches all sound unprofessional and ignorant and never says one word appropriate to convince people of why he would make a good president. Who are these people that want him as their President? He is an embarrassment to our country.

          1. V Hall

            The people who want him for president, I think, are the white people who were impressed by Sarah Palin, Mexicans and other Hispanics who want to be white, and really out-of-touch black people. There’s a lot of them out there, folks. But, California’s vote will be telling this time, because we have all of the extremes.

        2. Brenda J Wilhite

          You said the simple truth. It’s either low IQ or it’s those who have allowed themselves to dumb down so they can deny the real world and attach to sensationalism. It’s like Trump supporters read too many National Enquirer newspapers. No blame for a low IQ making stupid decisions. Terrible blame to those deliberate ‘dumb-downers’.

    7. Daryl Morris

      If this is the case, then why does Trump continue to defend Trump University?

    8. Ray Hubbard

      Matthew Chan, You need to read the article before replying. You state that you have inside information and you attempt to get Trump off the hook. The the State Attorney General is saying that his personal signature was on the entire scam. He made personal promises and received money based on guarantees. Trump is a phony, a fraud, and more deserving of jail than of an oval office… oops, I forgot, the wealthy don’t go to jail in this country.

    9. Thomas Heiser

      It’s quite ignorant of you to imply that man who touts his high iq, intelligence and going to the needy should could be ignorant enough to get involved in an operation you hat he did not have the clear knowledge of knowing out was a fraud. You my friend are not the brightest.

      1. PHV

        I cannot believe that Trump’s legal staff and strategists did not research the credibility of this management group for being the administrators of his “University”. Trump has the resources and intelligence to “vet” these people. No excuses, it is his fault.

      2. Fliptrx

        Re-read what you just wrote please, and then tell me who the ignorant one is again.

    10. patz

      Very good read Matthew Chan,thanks for your added and needed info

    11. Oliver

      Trump is not a fool – he was well aware of what his name was being used for – he was aware the university continued to trade despite requests to cease. Knowledge of the fact that he was trading illegally and continuing to trade is a fraud regardless of what went on in the program – you’re a turkey if you can’t see that! It’s not just about the program is his defiance of running a legally licenced operation. !!

    12. Scott gilbert

      One would think that if you were to even lend your name to any program like this that you would do a little research into it’s business model and it’s “instructors”. Even if Trump’s claims are true, that his involvement was in name only, he no doubt was paid handsomely or was being cut in on a percentage of the profits.
      Either way there is culpability here.
      But, let’s give the devil his due… If he was unaware of the business practices and reaped no reward for using his name (which is highly unlikely given his egotistical nature) that would make him irresponsible. Not exactly presidential material.

    13. bigeyes

      Matthew, please. roflol If Drumpf could have found a way to pile a bunch of “Trump U” bumperstickers or some other branded crap up there on the table behind him with the steaks, water, ties (made in Bangladesh) and shirts (made en Mexico), he would have. Guy sold his “brand” to whomever was running this “university” scam, just like with everything else. He makes his $ from his BRAND, dude. (look up the term if you’re not familiar with it) And there’s no goodwill behind Drumpf’s “brand.” You slap your name on something and get paid for it, you reap the consequences, good or bad. Period. Methinks you might need a class in ethics. I certainly hope you’re not a practicing attorney cuz you just threw your rep into question with your cheerleader essay. Sheesh.

    14. Me

      It only takes a quick Google search to see he was not only the founder but also the soul owner. How exactly can you claim he was just tricked into lending his name to this?

    15. Mikala

      This was an interesting commentary on the corruption within the Real Estate business. Thanks you for providing insight that not everyone would necessarily have.

      If your comment is true, it contradicts the article on Trumps level of involvement in Trump University; neglected to mention why Trump made claims that he would change the nature of the establishment; and still suggests that Donald Trump is careless enough to endorse a business without knowing that it is making millions of dollars off of people by dishonest means.

      Trump is not necessarily put into a better light by your comment, but is being portrayed as ignorant as opposed to malicious.

    16. Patricia Robertson

      Well he’ll have to be very careful next time he called Hillary a liar. At least we know he’s going to have to testify about all the lies he told.

    17. Dick Martin

      Well, that’s some damning insight, Matthew. If Trump can be so easily duped, I don’t want him making decisions for the nation. To clarify, he was sold a bill of goods and not the other way around, right? And yet he claims to be so very much smarter than everybody. Weird, huh?

    18. Ana-Rene Ruiz Bolton

      So, in other words, Donald Trump is a naive, uneducated nitwit who is easily taken in by grifters and scammers and doesn’t have enough sense to vet his business partners. If you can know so much about the people he got involved with, he should have known even more simply because of the strength his resources and connections. Trump’s out is always “he doesn’t/didn’t know about that.” He claims to know how to make America great again but he doesn’t recognize “David Duke” or any supremacy group and disparages everything that isn’t white and male. Seems what Trump does best is encourage investors and then go bankrupt. I wonder where all the money went – don’t you?

    19. Maree Adams

      Fraud or not, do we want someone gullible enough to lend his name to fraud without even knowing what he was getting into to run our country? I think not.

      Giving some benefit of the doubt, the question isn’t necessarily “Did he know?” The question is “should he have known?” And the answer is “Yes.” He’s a smart guy with tons of advisors who should have and likely did know exactly what he was doing.

      With that said, anyone with the capability of independent thought knows he had actual knowledge about it, but chose to ignore it in the name of greed.

      Look, that video bore HIS face, HIS name, and HIS spoken words. He said something untrue and profited from it.

    20. Isidro

      Drumpf lied on videos. He is a con man. Stop the excuses. Fraud is his middle name.

    21. Carol Campbell

      How “blind” can you be? It’s exactly the same behavior he exhibited in Scotland with the golf course. He wanted peoples’ homes forcibly resumed to add land to it. When he was told that wouldn’t happen he had a hissy fit,,stalled on communication for months, walked out on the project and left the place destroyed. He behaves like a spoilt brat.

    22. Brian

      He made a video saying he hand picked the people.
      If he did that out of ignorance to the scam he is an idiot.
      Even the most simplist of us would say what am I putting my name on in making this video?
      Sorry Donald that lack of attention definitely is negligent at best.
      FRAUD most likely.
      Not very Presidential wouldn’t you say?

    23. verlie cristman

      I thought Trump always makes amazing deals..nope

    24. John

      Vicarious liability enjoins Trump in the fraud

    25. John

      Regardless of the extent of his involvement or guilt, we are talking about a presidential candidate in who we expect foresight, wisdom, moral restraint and selfless concern for the public. He should stick to what he does best, which I perceive is not leading a nation. It is outside his gifting and experience. We have more qualified candidates, who have more courage, wisdom and vision in this area. Anyone who has to BS his way into the hearts of the disgruntled citizenry is not proving that he is made of presidential material.

  2. Gloria Wolk

    Trump cannot be excused for his bad judgment. This was an ongoing venture. If he actually had no involvement, why did he allow himself to be used to such an extent? He has the resources to vet the sleazes who directly deceived the victims.

    Not to mention the “red flags” from the Ed. Dept. Which he chose to ignore.

    Years ago Life Partners tried to use Jane Bryant Quinn as an endorsement, I sent her the ad and she published an angry expose of the company.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      I agree with you. He has to take the good with the bad. Does anyone seriously doubt that if Trump University had become the next University of Phoenix that he would be crowing about the great success of it and how it was his baby?

  3. Janet Beatrice

    Matthew, I do find your point of view helpful. But I agree with Gloria. If any businessperson lends his or her name to a venture, they have a serious responsibility to ensure that it’s a legitimate venture. I’ve done that myself when I do something as small as recommending a product or service on a blog and using an affiliate link. And I don’t have nearly the resources Trump has to look into such matters. Gloria makes excellent points.

  4. Anthony

    Trump 2016 my president

    1. Kathy Kelly

      So, if Trump is an innocent dupe, do you want someone with that recklessness and naivete to be your president? I don’t believe a word of the excuse. He is a snake oil salesman.

  5. Robert McComsey

    Just like Hillary, Donald is innocent until proven guilty.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      You will certainly get no argument from me on that.

    2. ianosmond

      It’s a civil case. It doesn’t start with a presumption of innocence OR a presumption of guilt. it’s based on a preponderance of evidence.

      1. Oscar Michelen

        Yes but even in civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proof and the defense has no obligation to put on a case. While these seem to be pretty straightforward allegations that the AG can prove, the allegations
        have not yet been proven in court. That’s all I was saying.

  6. Floyd Black

    I am surprised this subject took so long to be discussed by the other GOP candidates. What about Trumps $5M payment from the University? The trial timing couldn’t be better for this sleaze bag.

  7. weeklysift

    Trump personally got $5 million out of Trump U. He said he was going to give his profits to charity, but he never did. He’s the scammer, not the victim. http://time.com/4101290/what-the-legal-battle-over-trump-university-reveals-about-its-founder/

  8. tanbiere

    Well either he’s guilty of fraud, or he’s guilty of being ignorant in regards to business, either way, he’s not innocent. I’m not sure why Hillary is part of the discussion, but once these things get sorted out, they can both share their stories in prison. If the system would toss wealthy criminals in prison as fast as they do folks who rob kwik stops, the public would have a bit more faith in American Justice. As long as the Wall Street folks, that did and still perpetuate ripping off the average american, are walking around free, the Justice system is unjust.

  9. Alan Seeger

    This was every bit as fraudulent as the Bernie Madoff case. Trump should be sharing a cell with Madoff.

    1. signalfire6

      Oh, that would be too cruel to Madoff… besides, if you put them in close contact, they might reproduce. The world does not need any more of these types.

  10. Stan

    Why didn’t they just buy his books? That’s what I did, ” The Art Of The Deal ” tells you everything you pretty much need to know. Donald grew up in the construction business of his dad’s, even then it was a tough, hard slog for Donald to make a go of it in Real Estate.

    What people don’t want to hear is that becoming successful in pretty much anything is slow, painful, and will probably take a great amount of time and effort to pull off.

    1. Kathy Kelly

      Of course, the restof us can slog along for many years, but without inheriting $400 million dollars from our Daddies and investing it for over 30 years, I do not think we will be billiionaires.

      1. ncrdbl1

        More miss leading information and out and out lies. Trump did not inherit $400 million from his father. His father’s entire estate when he died in 1999 was less than $300 million and divided between five kids. Need to quit getting your information from web Memes

        1. George Smith

          You are not really helping his case. So what if it was $60 million instead of $400 million? He still started with much more money than most people, which gave him quite the head start. Was no work required? No, but significantly less work than the vast majority of people.

    2. Suck My Nick

      Yeah he had it so rough, his father only loaned him $1mil. to become financially established. The title of his book should be “The Silver Spoon Buffoon”.

  11. kwcrosby

    I can’t believe you would excuse Trump from culpability on this. If he doesn’t know what his businesses do, then he’s a fool. Do you really think he’s that much of a fool? He knew enough to “move” the operation to Delaware — fraudulently.

  12. Margaret

    If he was as smart as he claims to be, why didn’t he know more about the business he was getting into, giving his name to? He claims to be the smartest business man around, so why was he so dumb about this? Why didn’t he know to vet his employees? Why didn’t he get things in order when the state started coming after him? He’s all flash, no substance. His ego’s the problem. Just like all his promises for Presidency—-he’s like, “I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it great”, gut he never gives us the details. That’s what he’s going to do to our country, get in office and have no clue! Put in offices under him the same kind of unvetted charlatans he hired for his university.

  13. Seee James

    TO ALL THE TRUMP SUPPORTERS – this is a true test for you. Don’t fail by buying into promises that to this day have not been backed up with anything. On every promise that you deem important, Trump has been asked to explain specifically how it will be done and he simply couldn’t. Or, he changed his mind or he didn’t recall. The test is for you to quickly recognize this so that you are not hurt if he is elected. Many of us spent many months trying to really study and learn his promises to see how any of them could work. Accountants, lawyers, students, economists, scholars, and people from all walks of life have researched his promises and discovered that not only could they not work but the country would be worse. You will not get an increase of income – only Trump will. He truly doesn’t care for you and will quickly become someone you despise. He promises anything he wants regardless of how horrible it sounds and if the polls go up he’ll keep saying it and if the polls go down he’ll change and say something completely different. This is what has been happening the last 6 months. Please, please recognize this and do not fail this very important test.

  14. ndnwindrider

    @Matthew S. Chan…the only money Trump made was on selling his name…there is NO WAY his name was ever used without his knowing about it. his ego would not allow it and he LOVES to sue people. he will love your devotion but it is misplaced. i have many stories of slezy doings with Trump…and they all start with his selling his name…he sells his name and brags about owning the business that paid for it…ref: a few buildings here in NYC that do not belong to him but have his name in huge gold letters according to his explicit instructions. his word is as good as his make believe ownerships…and you can ask Alantic City about the promises he made to the neighborhoods surrounding the casinos to which he never to this day kept. he is a con artist and an expert as in tell them what they want to hear and just get it done. but…he is innocent until proven guilty…something he forgets when dealing with other people.

  15. Debbie

    The law libraries across the United States are filled with appellate decisions that were appealed to a higher court and overturned. I’m sure the Donald will have his lawyers appeal this poor decision by the NY appeals court on this matter. This whole case is politically motivated now and the appeals court is full of liberal judges that want to derail Trump and found a way to try to do that. This case is going to fall flat on its face. Just not enough “evidence” of “fraud.” Sounds more like a witch hunt to me, trying to make something out of nothing.

  16. R. Blau

    The most interesting question of all is “when will the trial occur?”

  17. Marjorie Reitman

    Donald Trump was not talked into “lending his name” to the money pit that was Trump University/TEI. He would just as likely renounce all the trappings of his “wealth”. If you look up the word “hubris” in any dictionary, he of the orange skin will be staring back at you. He has yet to present any details of how he will make this country “great” again. And if you insist on buying into any part of his delusional rant, I can only conclude that you have lost all semblance of rational, reasoned and intelligent thought.

  18. Jeanette Gandionco Lazam

    Or me! You’d think with all his business acumen, he forgot to read the fine print. Oh well, this is what usually happens to someone who believes him/her self to be too busy to smell the flowers or cross all the “T’s” and dot the “i’s”. But, I do not shed a tear for Trump, he deserves what he gets for lying and committing fraud, and I’m surprised he’s not getting indicted for mail fraud as well.
    Well, this is one person whose “heart” won’t bleed for that crook, liar, deceptive M___therF___jer!

  19. Pam

    SEND him straight to JAIL. Do not pass GO. since he thinks this world is his monopoly.

  20. artsiecl

    It happens all the time, you grow in your business and some creeps slide under the rails..(that appear to be winners) …and they do you wrong while you are not watching……it happened to a family member of mine ….I felt he sould not let the guy work for him, but he was a nice “minister” so he did and he paid a big price for this man’s actions….wow (and I am writing about a small business, not huge like Trump’s, this will probably not be the last time this kind of thing happens to Trump or to any of you growing a business and putting others in charge)

  21. Eric

    Did you even read the article or are you a trump campaign manager trying to put good spin on this story. The story itself says Trump conceded that he played a substantial role in the business attended man-eating and personally approved of advertising etc. The reason they conceded this was to prevent the AG from parading witnesses in to testify to how much involvement he truly had in the enterprise because his legal team knew how much sway that testimony would have against him during the hearings. So all your blather about him not knowing is horse puckey.

  22. Gary Duell

    He just copied Rich Dad Poor Dad’s scam.

  23. Linda Clardy

    It doesn’t matter whether Trump knew or not. It goes to show that he has poor judgement. I almost felt sorry for him in the debate last night because he was totally outclassed by Rubio and Cruz. Anyone who thinks a trade war is a good idea doesn’t know history and would have us in a deep depression before he realizes what is happening. He is used to using other people’s money, and has a history of not caring if he loses it or not. As far as foreign policy goes, we can’t afford to have another Obama learning on the job. He obviously doesn’t know much about it. Trump University is just one of many lapses of judgement he has shown in the past. People who run a business need to take responsibility for it whether it wins or fails. We need a president who can take responsibility too.

  24. Angus Beef

    “Trump was talked into lending his name to this sad venture.”

    Are you trolling us or simply simple ?

    His business involves licensing his name (steaks, liquor, clothing, real estate projects, mortgage company etc…etc…) Excuse me, his “brand.” Because people like you apparently attach value to it. Yes, I guess he was “talked into it” to the same extent anyone doing any business deal is “talked into it.”

    I don’t know which is worse. That he was involved in the details of Trump “university” or not. Either way it has to reflect back on the brand.

  25. JW

    Trump himself, out of his own mouth- went to great lengths to defend this product as tecently as last week. Vehemently denied customer dissatisfaction. Any argument about him being duped is beyond ridiculous.

  26. Mundo

    I sure hope they stick it to him…he deserves it for being a Con Artist…

  27. laurel52

    Trump’s name should be “JOKER”. He’s a total complete liar.

  28. Keith Ensminger

    Wait until we hear about the small business owners swept down the rat hole of Trump’s bankruptcies, owners who lost homes, cars, and careers. Trump bragged he made out OK, but his life has always been about Trump.

  29. Doug Huebner

    If Donald Trump profitted in any way then he is guilty of fraud. Even if it was just for the use of his name and photos, but it sounds like he was much involved in the planning and approving of the advertising.

  30. rsmdotcom

    I found the article informative – until the last paragraph which was personal opinion rant by the writer giving inflammatory slut shaming of Trump. Was that was not necessary? Trump might be a jerk but why stoop to his level of name calling? Ruined the whole article.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      @rsmdotcom I get what you’re saying but that’s the point of the blog for me: to express my view on certain issues..

  31. Kathy

    So it’s not a licensed “University ” ? You mean to say that Trump-Bo thinks he needs a license for anything ? What a hoot !!!

  32. Molly

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse… if he really was ignorant of it.

  33. Rudy Gonzales (@RudyTejano)

    Boom!

  34. Gigi

    What about all the other celebrities that put their name and face on products and services that are actually run by other people? Do they get put on trial for fraud too? Sketchy timing for this, don’t you think? They’re saying it might be past the statute of limitations… Why now? Hmm I wonder.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      A simple product endorsement is different than someone saying they take an active role ins choosing the instructors and that you will be learning “their method” of real estate investment.

  35. William

    Wow, this article also shows your own bias on the matter. Why don’t you go back to law school and figure out how to rule on things without prejudice. Oh! I forgot. Because in your law book, a person is guilty before being heard in court and being tried by a judge. Ignorant and pathetic, that describes this article.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      “This article shows your own bias in the matter.” Exactly. I am not a journalist. I blog on my views about courtroom cases and litigation. Almost all of my pieces take a side (I’m a litigator that’s what I do). It is an opinion piece – that requires you state an opinion generally. And maybe you ought to look at my background and legal work before you make those ridiculous judgments.

  36. Meaghan Haggerty

    In a nutshell, Trump views himself as a business genius. That he is, but only by way of underhanded high-end scam. He takes no responsibility for the fraudulent ways of this so-called higher learning institution and that he was used/tricked/taken advantage of. If his personal claim to be a genius in business and money making is accurate, then he is too intelligent to fall for such a scam. So what is it? It can’t be both. Mr. trump, you are either avery bad business man to have allowed the two men to dupe you into this venture, or you are a con man who has duped these students into believinga non-truth aand taken them for several thousands of dollars. So either way it makes you look like a horrible business man who has either lied, cheated, or was too ignorant yourself. Personally I feel you need to be locked up for fraud and refund all those youconned out of ttheir money with the lies of a false education. Just as you are conning the most uneducated ignorant individuals in the United States to believe your lies in your political goals. Thessaddest part of all is how many are following these lies of sheer blatant bull-shit!

  37. mitch

    go trump go

  38. Mel

    I agree with you…Meaghan Haggerty

  39. Pat Bell

    Follow the money people, I’m sure you’ll find it landed in Trumps bank account, There’s your answer to who committed the Fraud, ” Trump “.

  40. Mark Gregory

    Hmm… sounds shady to me. At least it didn’t compromise our national security

  41. Edward Martn

    Sounds like Trump got advice from the Clinton family,why not Hillary and Bill are the con artist who sold favors for meeting with her when she was sec of state.Trump called and asked the Clintons how they go about being criminals and dont go to jail.

  42. Et Snell

    OK so trump ain’t perfect but what I want to know is if Monica and Bill’s cigar trick was true than what did Bill really have Hillary doing to the farm animals when they where kids on the farm. Just saying

  43. Edie Barry

    People think he’ll be great for America because of his savy business sense. Stop making excuses for this man.

    1. John Miller (aka John Baron)

      He certainly knows his way around Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. He could probably get a position at Weil Gotshal after his POTUS run is over.

      That is if his tax expertise isn’t scooped up first “I think nobody knows more about taxes than I do,” (Trump)

      What a Schmuck.

  44. Saul Goodman

    Imma gettin’ a pH and D from Trumpster University.

    I wuz gonna go to Wharton until I learned The Man himself started a little ol’ University. Suck me some money outta this Chan kid when I get out too.

  45. Treas Hunter

    Vote TRUMP 2016 Boo hoo hoo !!!!

  46. Elizabeth Ferares

    This article is a fake, It’s the establishment still trying to fight a Trump presidency. It won’t happen. Trump is our next president.

    1. Oscar Michelen

      Uhm, I’m kind of sure I’m real.

    2. Paua

      This article is no fake. My husband & I am are one of the ones that got ripe off with the Trump University scam back in 2007-08 when it was offered in the Washington, D.C. area. We lost over $30K thinking we could trust Trump. LOL we found out different and it was a very expensive learning experience.

  47. Chuck Miller

    This and so many other reasons why we need a President Ted Cruz!!!!!!!

  48. Elliott

    This is old news. Nobody is talking about it because it’s a non story.

  49. Edmund

    Let’s wait to comment until the outcome of the case. You know innocent until found guilty.

  50. Leo

    Did you see the article today detailing how he stiffs the contractors he does business with ?

    Anyway, more on Trump “University”

    https://www.propublica.org/article/the-absolute-best-most-terrific-reporting-on-trump-university?google_editors_picks=true

    We should expect him to get into POTUS branding if we’re dumb enough to elect him.

    “The President of the United States approved GINSU Knife for only four easy payments”

    1. Oscar Michelen

      Yes the man is incredible

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