Ex-Employees: Trump University 'Preyed Upon' People

Judge unseals written testimony in fraud case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2016 7:00 AM CDT
Ex Employees: Trump University 'Preyed Upon' People
Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference in New York Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A judge ordered court documents unsealed Tuesday in the fraud case being brought by former customers of Trump University who call it a scam. Donald Trump will be happy to read testimonials like this from one happy customer: “Trump University is some of the best money I ever invested!” per the Washington Post. He will be less pleased to read the testimonials of former managers who say it was business as usual to strong-arm financially vulnerable customers into classes they couldn't afford, reports the New York Times. For example:

  • “I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money," wrote Ronald Schnackenberg, a sales manager for Trump University, which was active from 2005 to 2010.

  • Trump University was "a facade, a total lie," says a former sales exec, Jason Nicholas, in his testimony.
  • “It’s OK, just max out your credit card,” says another former employee, Corrine Sommer, referring to the advice given to customers who were worried about the cost; classes cost as much as $34,995. Another internal sales document reads, "We teach the technique of using OPM ... Other People's Money," in encouraging the use of credit cards to pay for tuition.
  • Another scripted response for those customers, per CBS News: "[D]o you like living paycheck to paycheck? ... Do you enjoy seeing everyone else but yourself in their dream houses and driving their dreams cars with huge checking accounts. Those people saw an opportunity, and didn't make excuses, like what you're doing now. "
  • Team Trump's response: "Trump University looks forward to using this evidence, along with much more, to win when the case is brought before a jury,” says a spokeswoman for Trump. The case is scheduled to go to trial in November, after the presidential election.
(Read more Trump University stories.)

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