Bogus University? Meh. Trump’s Done Worse


. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.This week, a judge found Donald Trump liable for operating a get-rich-quick school, the erstwhile Trump University, without a license. The case was originally brought against Trump by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, which, according to the Daily News, alleged that Trump University had “ripped off 5,000 students nationwide by promising to make them rich when instead they were steered into costly and mostly useless seminars.”

While he’s already been held liable for the university’s operation, Trump will now go to trial to see if he’s also liable for defrauding the students.

But history has shown you can’t keep The Donald down. After all, this is a man who has recovered from self-inflicted injury again and again:

    • In 1989, Trump took out a full-page ad in four city papers demanding to “Bring Back The Death Penalty” and kill five teenage boys who had confessed on videotape to raping and beating a woman in a city park. Those teenagers would later become famous faces of wrongful conviction, known as the Central Park Five.But earlier this year, when the five men — now in their forties — received a $40 million settlement from the city for its mishandling of the case, Trump wasn’t ready to eat crow just yet. “Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts,” he said to the Daily News. “These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels.”
    • In 1991, Trump filed for corporate bankruptcy. He did it again in 1992, 2004, and 2009. That’s right — four times.
    • In 1992, former Voice writer Wayne Barrett published a book called Trump: The Deals and the Downfall. Barrett wrote that Trump’s life “intertwines with the underworld” and that New Jersey officials had turned a blind eye to his relationship with the mob. An article about the biography, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, went over some of the book’s juiciest details:

      Key among these assertions is that in 1983, after Trump had obtained a casino license, he met with Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, at the Manhattan townhouse of Roy Cohn, a lawyer who represented both men. The book cites an unnamed eyewitness as its source.

Other casino executives have had their licenses revoked or were denied a license just for being photographed in the company of major organized-crime figures, including Salerno. At the time of the purported meeting, Trump was using a concrete company called S&A to build his Trump Plaza condos in Manhattan, according to federal court records cited in the book. S&A was controlled by Salerno and Paul Castellano, then head of New York’s Gambino crime family, according to those same records.

  • In 2011, Trump was sued by more than 300 people after he marketed luxury highrises as “Trump” developments, when they were actually being built by other developers who had been renting access to his name and cachet. According to the New York Times,

    When three of the planned buildings encountered financial trouble, it became clear that Mr. Trump had essentially rented his name to the developments and had no responsibility for their outcomes, according to buyers. In each case, he yanked his name off the projects, which were never completed. The buyers lost millions of dollars in deposits even as Mr. Trump pocketed hefty license fees.

  • And then there was the time he killed an entire professional football league.
  • And also, The Apprentice.

But through it all, Trump has managed to stick around. And Trump University? The Daily News reports he just might stick with that, too:

“As soon as this case is over, we will consider re-opening the school to all our students and hire back the teachers and others, thereby creating lots of jobs for New York,” Trump said in a statement.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 17, 2014

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