Donald Trump “personally pocketed $5m” from his Trump University “scam”, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, said on Thursday.
“This never was a university. The fraud started with the name of the organization,” said Eric Schneiderman, who is suing Trump University in New York over allegations of fraud. “It really was a fraud from beginning to end.”
Schneiderman said Trump “bilked people out of millions of dollars” and promised to “make sure he pays it back”.
“Thousands of people paid millions of dollars believing that he would tell them his real estate secrets,” Schneiderman told ABC News’s Good Morning America. “And we know from his own sworn testimony … that he didn’t write the curriculum – none of them were his secrets.”
Schneiderman said he will demand that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee takes the stand when his case comes to court, by which time the real estate magnate could be president. “He doesn’t have immunity from civil fraud trials,” he said.
Trump is currently facing three class action lawsuits against Trump University over allegations of fraud. Trump denies all the charges and has vowed to fight them all in court.
The judge in one of two class action lawsuits in California this week published damning testimony from former Trump University workers. They described the university as “a facade, a total lie” and a “fraudulent scheme” that “preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money”.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who has faced sustained personal attacks from Trump, also published Trump University “playbooks” that instructed staff in how to aggressively sell courses costing up to $34,995 to prospective clients.
Schneiderman also appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he described Trump University as a “straight-up fraud”. “It’s like selling people something you say is a Mercedes and it turns out to be a Volkswagen,” he said. “And even if some people say, ‘Well actually, I kind of like the Volkswagen,’ it’s still fraud because it’s not a Mercedes. This was not a university.”
Schneiderman said his prosecution team had videos of Trump that would clearly show the businessman making “false promises”, and that documents would prove that people described as real estate experts and Trump’s right-hand men were no such thing.
“Donald Trump’s sole role was in marketing. He was the pitchman,” Schneiderman said. “He was clearly in charge of pitching his scam university to people.”
Trump used 'fraud' university to pocket millions, New York attorney general says
Eric Schneiderman says presumptive Republican nominee ‘bilked people’ and that his
prosecution team has video evidence of fraudulent statements
Trump will reopen Trump "University" after litigation ends
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Thursday said he will reopen the controversial Trump University real estate school at the close of litigation.
"I have instructed my execs to open Trump U (University), so much interest in it! I will be pres (president)," he said in a tweet.
Trump is fighting a lawsuit against the venture that accuses the school of misleading thousands of people who paid up to $35,000 for seminars to learn real estate investment strategies.
(Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Chris Reese)