In a separate lawsuit, business partner Jill Harth accused Trump of attempting to rape her multiple times "despite her protests,” according to court filings. The case was settled out of court. The New York Times published a lengthy investigation into multiple instances of Trump's sexual misconduct against women.
Like his pimping grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, who ran brothels for miners during the gold rush, Donald Trump profits from prostitution as well in his hotel-casinos and strip clubs. His beauty pageants have paraded women as bodily objects.
There is no longer any doubt that Donald Trump’s defunct real estate school, Trump University, was one big scam that operated to swindle credulous people out of their money. As Ronald Schnackenberg, a former sales manager at the for-profit venture (who was once reprimanded for not pushing hard enough to sell a $35,000 “elite program” to a couple who had “no money to pay for the program” and would have had to take out an equity loan on their apartment and used disability income) wrote in his testimony:
“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”
Like Wall Street predators who sold subprime mortgages to unknowing Americans with promises of incessant growth in home value, Trump University sold bogus educations to bright-eyed working people, promising to teach them “better than the best business school.” And it was the promises that ultimately got Trump in trouble with the law. The for-profit educational venture was almost entirely concerned with the profit aspect, and gave “seminars and classes across the country that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring students to buy more.”
Trump is not a man fighting for Joe Average. He is a scam-artist who preys on them.
Donald Trump's lies are endless, and of his statements checked by PolitiFact, only two percent have been ruled true, while sixty percent have been utterly false.
In 2005, then-New York Times reporter Tim O’Brien published the book TrumpNation, in which he reported that Trump was actually only worth $150-250 million, not the billions he claimed. Trump sued O’Brien for $5 billion but the suit against O'Brien was tossed. More recently, O’Brien has mocked Trump’s current claims about his net worth. Trump, meanwhile, has said on the campaign trail in an interview with the Washington Post editorial board—that he wants to make it easier to sue for libel.
The Department of Justice sued Trump and his father Fred in 1973 for housing discrimination at 39 sites around New York. “The government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color,’” The New York Times reported. “It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.”
In the end the Trumps settled with the government, promising not to discriminate and submitting to regular review by the New York Urban League WITHOUT admitting guilt.
Trump has been linked to the mafia many times over the years. For example, organized crime controlled the 1980s New York City concrete business. Anyone building in the city brushed up against it. While Trump has portrayed himself as an unwitting participant, not everyone agrees. There have been a string of other allegations, too, many reported by investigative journalist Wayne Barrett. Cohn, Trump’s lawyer, also represented the Genovese crime family boss Tony Salerno. Barrett reported a series of transactions involving organized crime, and alleged that Trump paid twice market rate to a mob figure for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Michael Isikoff has reported that Trump was close to Robert LiButti, an associate of John Gotti, inviting him on his yacht and helicopter. In one case, Trump’s company bought LiButti nine luxury cars.
In 2005, the Trump announced an eponymous “university” to teach his real-estate development secrets. Students ponied up as much as $35,000—some after being suckered in by slick free “seminars”—to learn how to get rich. One ad promised they would “learn from Donald Trump’s handpicked instructors, and that participants would have access to Trump’s real estate ‘secrets.’” In fact, Trump had little to do with the curriculum or the instructors. Many of the “students” have since complained that Trump U. was a scam. The “faculty” turned out to be a motley bunch of misfits. Trum0p University changed its name to the “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative,” because the school was violating New York law by operating without an educational license.
It shut down in 2010, but the litigation continues. New York is suing Trump, alleging the Trump U. bilked students out of $40 million. He’s also the subject of two class-action suits in California. Meanwhile, Trump appears to have been trying to intimidate plaintiffs, including countersuing one for $1 million (a favorite Trump litigation tactic) and refusing to let her withdraw from the suit. (The countersuit was thrown out.) His lawyers have cited positive reviews, but former students say they were pressured to give those. A set of damning internal documents were released by court order in May. Trump decided to attack the judge, claiming his ethnicity made him biased. Trump has been widely repudiated across the board, with fellow Republicans openly calling him racist.
In 1981, Trump scooped up a building on Central Park South, reasoning that the existing structure was a dump, but the land it was on would be a great place for luxury condos. Trump’s problem was that the existing tenants were unwilling to let go of their rent-controlled apartments on Central Park.
Trump threatened eviction, to cut off heat and hot water, refused to make repairs and sued tenants for $150 million when they complained. Trump finally gave in. The building still stands today and his son Eric owns a unit on the top floor.
Trump threated the 13 year old girl he allegedly raped in 1994 by allegedly telling her “were she ever to reveal any of the details of the sexual and physical abuse of her by Defendant Trump, she and her family would be physically harmed if not killed.”
- In the late 1980s, after insisting that his major qualification to build a new casino in Atlantic City was that he wouldn’t need to use junk bonds, Trump used junk bonds to build Trump Taj Mahal. He built the casino, but couldn’t keep up with interest payments, so his company declared bankruptcy in 1991. He had to sell his yacht, his airline, and half his ownership in the casino.
- A year later, another of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, the Trump Plaza, went bust after losing more than $550 million. Trump gave up his stake but otherwise insulated himself personally from losses, and managed to keep his CEO title, even though he surrendered any salary or role in day-to-day operations. By the time all was said and done, he had some $900 million in personal debt.
- Trump bounced back over the following decade, but by 2004, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was $1.8 billion in debt. The company filed for bankruptcy and emerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump himself was the chairman of the new company, but he no longer had a controlling stake in it.
- Five years later, after the real-estate collapse, Trump Entertainment Resorts once again went bankrupt. Trump resigned from the board, but the company retained his name. In 2014, he successfully sued to take his name off the company and its casinos—one of which had already closed, and the other of which was near closing.
Contractors, waiters, dishwashers, and plumbers who have worked at Trump projects say that his company stiffed them for work, refusing to pay for services rendered. USA Today did a lengthy review, finding that some of those contracts were for hundreds of thousands of dollars, many owed to small businesses that failed or struggled to continue because of unpaid bills. (Trump was also found to have improperly withheld compensation in the undocumented Polish worker controversy.)
The upshot: Trump has offered various excuses, including shoddy workmanship, but the scale of the problem—hundreds of allegations—makes that hard to credit. In some cases, even the lawyers Trump has hired to defend him have sued him for failing to pony up their fees. In one lawsuit, a Trump employee admitted in court that a painter was stiffed because managers determined they had “already paid enough.” The cases are damaging because they show Trump not driving a hard bargain with other businesses, but harming ordinary, hard-working Americans.
In order to construct his signature Trump Tower, the builder first had to demolish the Bonwit Teller store, an architecturally beloved Art Deco edifice. The work had to be done fast, and so managers hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to tear it down, paying them substandard wages for backbreaking work—$5 per hour, when they were paid at all. The workers didn’t wear hard hats and often slept at the site. When the workers complained about their back pay, they were allegedly threatened with deportation. Trump said he was unaware that illegal immigrants were working at the site.
The upshot: In 1991, a federal judge found Trump and other defendants guilty of conspiring to avoid paying union pension and welfare contributions for the workers. The decision was appealed, with partial victories for both sides, and ultimately settled privately in 1999. In a February GOP debate, Marco Rubio brought up the story to accuse Trump of hypocrisy in his stance on illegal immigration.
Trump has been repeatedly fined for breaking rules in the operation of his casinos. In 1990, with Trump Taj Mahal in trouble, Trump’s father Fred strolled in and bought 700 chips worth a total of $3.5 million. The purchase helped the casino pay debt that was due, but because Fred Trump had no plans to gamble, the New Jersey gaming commission ruled that it was a loan that violated operating rules. Trump paid a $30,000 fine; in the end, the loan didn’t prevent a bankruptcy the following year. As noted above, New Jersey also fined Trump $200,000 for arranging to keep black employees away from mafioso Robert LiButti’s gambling table. In 1991, the Casino Control Commission fined Trump’s company another $450,000 for buying LiButti nine luxury cars. And in 2000, Trump was fined $250,000 for breaking New York state law in lobbying to prevent an Indian casino from opening in the Catskills, for fear it would compete against his Atlantic City casinos.
The upshot: Trump admitted no wrongdoing in the New York case. He’s now out of the casino business.
The dirt: In 1986, Trump decided he wanted to expand his casino empire in Atlantic City. His plan was to mount a hostile takeover of two casino companies, Holiday and Bally. Trump started buying up stock in the companies with an eye toward gaining control. But Bally realized what was going on and sued him for antitrust violations. “Trump hopes to wrest control of Bally from its public shareholders without paying them the control premium they otherwise could command had they been adequately informed of Trump's intentions,” the company argued.
In New York, Florida, Mexico during the mid-2000s, Trump was heavily involved in condo hotels, a pre-real-estate crash fixation in which people would buy units that they’d only use for a portion of the year. The rest of the time, the units would be rented out as hotel rooms, with the developer and the owner sharing the profit. Lawsuits by condo buyers claim they were bilked. Central to many of these is the question of what Trump’s role in the projects was. Trump has often sold his name rights to developers—he gets a payoff, and they get the aura of luxury from his name. Similar complaints have been made about Trump's involvement in a multilevel marketing schemes.
In the case of Trump SoHo, in Manhattan, Trump’s partners turned out to have a lengthy criminal past. Trump settled a lawsuit with buyers without admitting wrongdoing. Another, Trump International Hotel & Tower Fort Lauderdale, went into foreclosure, and Trump has sued the complex’s developer. In 2013, he settled a suit with prospective buyers who lost millions when a development in Baja Mexico went under. Trump blamed the developers again, saying he had only licensed his name.