Real-estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump is no stranger to the spotlight — but he can’t be reveling in the attention he’s receiving now. On August 24, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, a for-profit school run by Trump, claiming that it tricked students into paying thousands of dollars for courses that failed to provide promised instruction on real-estate business techniques. If these allegations are true, it’s a warning that at least some of what purports to be nontraditional for-profit education can be an old-fashioned rip-off.
Schneiderman maintains that the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative — known until a couple of years ago as Trump University — told prospective students all the instructors were “hand-picked” by the mogul himself. But in fact, the lawsuit asserts, Trump wasn’t involved with hiring teachers; the institution vetted them poorly, and even hired some who’d previously filed for bankruptcy related to their own real-estate dealings. Furthermore, the suit alleges that the school used a free 90-minute seminar to sucker customers into ever-pricier additional courses, topping off with a $35,000 mentorship program that failed to provide many students with the one-on-one instruction they were promised.