Last modified on 9 April 2019, at 23:24

Trump University

The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative

Trump University was incorporated in 2004 by Donald Trump and two partners in New York as an LLC. In 2010 it was renamed The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, as the use of the term university violated the New York Education Law. The new website explained:

There is a wealth of opportunities now available to entrepreneurs because of the economic challenges we have all faced over the last few years. In response to your growing need for world-class training to capitalize on these opportunities, we have dramatically increased our commitment to provide YOU – the next generation of entrepreneurs, business builders, and investors - with the hands-on experience and real world skills needed to succeed. We have worked hard to earn your trust and take great pride in our exceptional 98% Student Satisfaction Rating. Join us today and get started on the path to success.

To celebrate our leadership commitment to the growing entrepreneurial community, we are proud to announce that Trump University has officially changed its name to The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. The new URL is www.trumpinitiative.com. This change reflects our core mission to empower you with the tools and confidence to achieve your personal and financial goals. Learn to achieve success with the world's most renowned entrepreneur, Donald J. Trump. [1]

Trump University stopped enrolling students in July 2010 and no longer sells seminars or other programs.[2]

In 2010, the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott investigated Trump University. The AG did not file a lawsuit, but after exchanging communications with investigators that included requests from the investigators for customer lists and internal documents, Trump University closed its operations in the state.

The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced in September 2013 that it was considering joining a New York lawsuit against Trump University.[3] Four days later, the Donald J. Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to "And Justice for All," a 527 group supporting Bondi's re-election campaign. Following this, Bondi declined to join New York in the lawsuit. According to a Bondi spokesman, Bondi had personally solicited the donation from Trump several weeks before her office announced it was considering joining the lawsuit.[4] In September 2016 it was reported that the donation violated laws against political contributions from nonprofit organizations, and that Donald Trump had reimbursed the foundation from his own money and paid the IRS a $2,500 excise tax as a penalty.[5] Trump denied that the donation was connected to the Trump University lawsuit, saying that it was for Bondi's performance as attorney general.[6] In November 2016, Trump appointed Bondi to his transition team.

Lawsuits

Though Donald Trump is adamant, that 98% of the customers - as the students were called in internal documents - were satisfied,[7] more than 16% of the students who paid $35,000 for the top courses received refunds and more than 30% of those who paid for the $1,500 package got refunds.[8] As of November 2016, three lawsuits were pending over the practices of Trump University:

  • New York v. Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC
  • Cohen vs. Trump
  • Low v. Trump University, LLC

The latter two are presided by judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was attacked vehemently by Donald Trump:

I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curiel. [..] The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine.[9]

References

  1. www.trumpinitiative.com (archived June 5, 2010)
  2. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Sorry, Donald Trump, the Trump University judge was just following the law, The Washington Post (June 7, 2016).
  3. Trump's $25K to A.G. Bondi merits probe (April 2, 2016). Retrieved on June 3, 2016.
  4. Florida AG asked Trump for donation before nixing fraud case (June 6, 2016). Retrieved on June 6, 2016.
  5. Fahrenthold, David A.. "Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general", September 1, 2016. Retrieved on September 7, 2016. 
  6. Lima, Cristiano (September 5, 2016). Trump rejects impropriety in Trump U. donation controversy. Politico. Retrieved on September 7, 2016.
  7. 98% approval - The Truth about Trump University
  8. Donald Trump’s Defense of ‘University’ Relies on Shaky Math by Ryan Teague Beckwith, March 3, 2016, Time
  9. Trump Attacks Federal Judge in Trump U Case, Reid J. Epstein, The Wall Street Journal Blog, May 27, 2016