“I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers ― like my dad was ― whom you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do,” Clinton said.
It was a direct attack on Trump’s self-professed qualification for the presidency: that his business success will rub off on everyday Americans if he’s elected.
But Clinton didn’t even mention one of Trump’s worst business endeavors: Trump University, which ripped off consumers. Trump has paid a fine for making a donation to the Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi, at the same time her office was reportedly deciding whether to investigate Trump U. Ultimately, Bondi did not investigate Trump or his company, and both parties deny any wrongdoing.
Trump went on to hold a fundraiser for Bondi at his Palm Beach mansion. He and his daughter Ivanka gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Florida Republican party, which is Bondi’s biggest source of campaign funds.
Beyond improper political gifts, the glaring scam of the Republican nominee’s for-profit real estate seminar company was in the name: It was never an accredited academic institution. It’s illegal in New York for an institution to be called a university if it is not one. State regulators told Trump he was violating state law in 2005, but he marketed his real estate seminars as a “university” for five more years.
The deception didn’t stop there.
Trump employees were told to use emotional manipulation tactics to trick people into buying real estate courses they didn’t need, according to company documents unsealed by court order. They also pressured customers to max out their credit cards ― and even open up new ones ― to pay for classes, The New York Times reported.
And when people did scrape together hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to pay for real estate advice they were told would open an easy path to wealth, the services they were expecting often never materialized. The Huffington Post reported earlier this month that customers complained about not receiving one-on-one tutoring they’d been promised; their phone calls not being returned; and supposedly valuable instruction materials being nothing more than what you could find online after an hour or two of googling.
Customers paid upfront and were often told they could cancel easily at any time, but getting money back from Trump’s sham university was incredibly difficult. Some people lost tens of thousands of dollars and got almost nothing in return.
Trump University is now the subject of several lawsuits. Trump’s spokespeople deny the charges and say they will prevail in a trial by jury.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.