In August, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump over his eponymous “Trump University.”
Schneiderman argued that the “university” was more like a get-rich-quick scheme, and that the school defrauded students looking for the Donald’s brand of real estate investing tips out of, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars.
In a new story in Vanity Fair, William Cohan highlighted one sorry tale from Trump’s alleged shakedown. From Vanity Fair:
Bob Guillo, from Manhasset, New York, and his son, Alex, fell hard for the Trump line. After the free seminar and the three-day course costing nearly $US1,500 — and which he graded as “excellent” in his evaluation — Guillo signed up for the Trump Gold Elite program and paid nearly $US35,000. He was told he would be part of a select “in-the-know group” and among “insiders” who would have access to proprietary real-estate deals. “For example,” Guillo wrote in an affidavit, “where Mr. Trump would be involved in building condominiums, we would get first choice at purchasing an apartment and then would be able to immediately sell it at a profit.”
Guillo wrote that at the first day of the Trump Gold Elite program he “began to realise I had been taken” because the information conveyed seemed to be coming from Zillow.com, a real-estate Web site, or from the I.R.S. Web site.
Turns out $US35,000 is a lot to spend on free information from Zillow. Guillo complained to the folks at Trump University and tried to get a refund. He told Cohan, “”I got a picture of myself with a Trump cutout and basically very, very little else.”
A Trump representative maintained to Vanity Fair that Guillo “could not articulate one thing that was wrong with the course.”
Ever since this saga began, Trump has called out Schneiderman for playing politics. The two have gone back in forth in the media over the past few months. Trump even filed a formal state ethics complaint saying Schneiderman asked Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her real estate magnate husband for favours as he “downplayed the ongoing probe into her father’s venture,” the New York Daily News reported.