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Manhattan, NY - Lawsuit: Trump University a Ripoff

Published on: May 5, 2010 02:47 PM
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Donald Trump with Michael Sexton, President of Trump University. (B. Smith for Daily News)Manhattan, NY - The No. 1 lesson students learn at Donald Trump’s online business program is How To Max Out Credit Cards 101, a new lawsuit charges.

A California businesswoman says that lured by the Trump name, she took bogus seminars at Trump University that destroyed her credit - and taught her almost nothing about real estate.

Fashion designer Tarla Makaeff filed a class-action suit claiming she was guaranteed a one-year apprenticeship - and a personal real estate mentor that would be the “next best thing to being Donald Trump’s next ‘Apprentice.’”

Instead, she got a half-day trip to a Home Depot to examine supplies for fixing up foreclosed homes - plus mentors who pushed self-serving deals, then disappeared and failed to return calls, she says in court papers.

Makaeff’s suit comes with “Trump University” already under fire from the state Education Department, which is demanding the program immediately stop calling itself a university in violation of state education law.

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Makaeff says she lost $80,000, including $34,995 for a “Trump Gold Elite membership.” She was whacked on interest, financing, late fees, penalties and expenses.

“I relied on the Trump name and Donald Trump’s reputation as a real estate mogul,” she told the Daily News. “I expected nothing less than the best. ... Big mistake.”

The for-profit, nonaccredited school, founded by Trump in 2005, denies the charges:

“This lawsuit is completely without merit. We will vigorously defend our brand, our services, our company, our reputation and our integrity,” said Trump U. President Michael Sexton.

The suit, filed in federal court in San Diego, doesn’t name Donald Trump personally.

Sexton said Makaeff “consumed all the services she purchased” and declared herself satisfied in a videotaped testimonial.



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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 05, 2010 at 03:03 PM Anonymous Says:

I don't understand??
She says she relied "on the donald trump reputation"
How many times did "the Donald" file bankruptcy???

2

 May 05, 2010 at 03:07 PM smart one Says:

Rule in life: If its to good to be true its not true. She deserves what she got she took the bait and fell for it.

3

 May 05, 2010 at 03:16 PM Anonymous Says:

but in the end she learned a valuable lesson, so maybe it was worth it!

4

 May 05, 2010 at 03:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

I don't understand??
She says she relied "on the donald trump reputation"
How many times did "the Donald" file bankruptcy???

oh missed the chance!!! you took the words right out of my mouth!!

5

 May 05, 2010 at 03:46 PM smarter one Says:

Reply to #2  
smart one Says:

Rule in life: If its to good to be true its not true. She deserves what she got she took the bait and fell for it.

Did she make a mistake? Yes. But don't blame the victim for someone else's crime. Besides, what she was promised is not outrageous- a course teaching her the business, and then a 1-yr internship or "apprenticeship."

6

 May 05, 2010 at 03:48 PM Use Your Head Says:

This is an even bigger scam than actual universities.

7

 May 05, 2010 at 04:01 PM power up Says:

This trump way of doing business is not made for the lightheaded or light hearted, that bankrupcy can be profitble is not a way to start your financial life, its a high risk way of doing business, its not the dave remsey '' I'm debt free"" or the suzy ormen "invest only in bonds" kinda stuff.

I can only assume, trumps way of soing business is being highly leveraged etc.

LAV KOL MOICHA SUVIL DU!!

8

 May 05, 2010 at 04:04 PM Avi Says:

Anyone who maxes out credit cards to pay for a non-accredited university deserves what she gets.

9

 May 05, 2010 at 04:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Donald Trump also lent his name to a promotional seminar evening about how to be successful in real estate. which charged about $1800.00 per head and was nothing more than a hyped up amway style presentation. I wasn't there but I read about it. Not so stupid Donald Trump, he charged the company $1,000,000.00 for one evening and the use of his name.

10

 May 05, 2010 at 04:32 PM Anonymous Says:

Donald Trump is the most arrogant sob in the business world-

11

 May 05, 2010 at 04:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Avi Says:

Anyone who maxes out credit cards to pay for a non-accredited university deserves what she gets.

seeing how you used the word "maxes" i would imagine you are not from those who "maxed" out any credit cards for education

12

 May 05, 2010 at 04:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Donald Trump also lent his name to a promotional seminar evening about how to be successful in real estate. which charged about $1800.00 per head and was nothing more than a hyped up amway style presentation. I wasn't there but I read about it. Not so stupid Donald Trump, he charged the company $1,000,000.00 for one evening and the use of his name.

Actually the Donald Trump Seminar I went to at the Javitts Center was free, and I even got his autographed book for free as well.

13

 May 05, 2010 at 04:52 PM Anonymous Says:

all these training courses are a scam none of those rich people are ever interested in sharing their secrets. And if they are so successful why rob some poor people ?

14

 May 05, 2010 at 05:08 PM PMO Says:

Why are people sympathizing with this woman? Did Trump guarantee success in the real estate market? Did this woman invest more than she should have? Why did she tape a positive testimonial?

This smells like an armchair, wannabe real estate investor who lost. That's what happens when you invest. You win some, you lose some. If you only have enough to make ONE bet, or worse you only have enough on your CREDIT CARDS to make ONE bet, DON'T BET!

She should have to pay his court costs for this ridiculous suit.

15

 May 05, 2010 at 05:34 PM DryCast Says:

Indeed - the many for profit colleges are turning out to be a scam - please beware of the huge student loans - and poor teaching. Very few graduates qualify for a job. i just heard an ad on the radio for Trump mattresses - really - The Donald needs a few lessons in humility - his name will be trashed at this rate- if not already.

16

 May 05, 2010 at 06:08 PM Anonymous Says:

There are a lot of ignorant people commenting on here. I feel sorry for that woman. Why would you blame her for being scammed by the Donald? I'm sure we do not know the full story and shouldn't make judgments until it's totally out.

17

 May 05, 2010 at 06:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Were you in the classes? Do you know what went on? Stop your mindless gabbing against the girl and read the complaint so you can make comments based on fact.

18

 May 05, 2010 at 06:45 PM Anonymous Says:

The "Donald" is better known among those who affiliates with as the "Trump'er"

19

 May 05, 2010 at 09:35 PM Anonymous Says:

The Man has produced 8 seasons of a TV show where people and celebraties are all looking for exposure and fame .He is nothing more then a rich, three circus ring leader. He has capitalized on the fact that Americans are all looking for a quick buck, and of course- "if his name is on it it must be good". Have you tried his vodka? If it wasn't in a fancy gold bottle, you'd think it was rubbing alcohol. The only decent thing about him is his JEWISH DAUGHTER and SON IN LAW!!

20

 May 06, 2010 at 12:53 AM mister Says:

To PMO

When you don't know something, you don't HAVE to comment.

I am a victim of this scheme. First they call u for a free seminar where they talk big and promise the world if you sign up for another seminar that costs only 1800. At that seminar they promise you the next world if you buy there software which is a piece of garbage, and u sign up for some seminars in orlando and in vegas and for a private mentor etc. When you are finish you are talking about $20,000 in payments. If you don't have the money, they push you and PROMISE you that you will make back the money within the next few months by making deals, so why not max out your credit cards for a short period of time.

I'm not gonna say that they didn't provide me with a lot of info but I can tell you that most of the people that were in the clases had no business being there , they had no chance to succeed. He takes advantage of his name and of peoples troubles who try to find a way to make a quick buck. I'm so happy that he is finally taking heat for this scheme. I hope he is blocked from ever taking advantage of people.

21

 May 06, 2010 at 09:22 AM jimmy37 Says:

I love it when defendants state "This lawsuit is completely without merit. We will vigorously defend...". It means we're guilty as hell, but you have to prove it in a court of law!

22

 May 06, 2010 at 01:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Trump's secret to business success is being born into a family with a Father who is a big time developer. Learn from the Father and then go out on his own. I will give him credit for swimming, sinking and then swimming some more. His daughter just converted to Orthodox Judiasm. Perhaps that is the real secret -- Yiddish Mazel -- like Yisro before he converted.

23

 May 06, 2010 at 05:15 PM PMO Says:

Reply to #20  
mister Says:

To PMO

When you don't know something, you don't HAVE to comment.

I am a victim of this scheme. First they call u for a free seminar where they talk big and promise the world if you sign up for another seminar that costs only 1800. At that seminar they promise you the next world if you buy there software which is a piece of garbage, and u sign up for some seminars in orlando and in vegas and for a private mentor etc. When you are finish you are talking about $20,000 in payments. If you don't have the money, they push you and PROMISE you that you will make back the money within the next few months by making deals, so why not max out your credit cards for a short period of time.

I'm not gonna say that they didn't provide me with a lot of info but I can tell you that most of the people that were in the clases had no business being there , they had no chance to succeed. He takes advantage of his name and of peoples troubles who try to find a way to make a quick buck. I'm so happy that he is finally taking heat for this scheme. I hope he is blocked from ever taking advantage of people.

OH! So your are the gullible type who falls for any and every sales pitch you hear without doing any research on your own? A guy tells you to run up $20k on your credit cards and you would just do it? Well, I must introduce you and everyone else who attended these seminars with "guarantees" of great wealth to my Nigerian friend. He emails me a lot about how he was a member of the dethroned royal family and how if I just give him $20k he can get access to $20 million and he will split it with me. I be I could convince each one of you to put up at least $2k and "guarantee" you (not in writing of course) that you will make it back 10-fold.

I'm sorry for the sarcasm, but that is how this whole thing sounds. It is no different than the people who tried to "get rich quick" by leveraging their homes for investment capital and then found themselves foreclosed on when the market went south.

Nobody FORCES anyone to invest. Nobody FORCES anyone to pay for these classes. You have to decide what type of investing is appropriate for the money you have.

If I spend $100,000 on law school, but can't pass the bar and end up waiting tables, do i get to sue the school? No.

24

 May 10, 2010 at 07:29 PM From Willi Says:

Donald please come to willi and teach us a little real estate..

25

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