Donald Trump's University Fraud Scam and The Fruit of The Poisoned Tree: Snidely Whiplash meets Bernie Madoff

Donald Trump's University Fraud Scam and The Fruit of The Poisoned Tree: Snidely Whiplash meets Bernie Madoff

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

President Roosevelt’s quote is a perfect epitaph for the death of education in this country. To foster knowledge one must adopt a philosophical system, which includes a code of ethics and morals. Striving for an education without a moral background is the equivalent of trying to figure out a mathematical equation without a formula.

With the future of Donald Trump Republican ticket looming on the horizon, the whole country is further vetting this man. The results are like an oil spill constantly spreading and destroying all in its path. One of the stories that is being tossed around is one that I found particularly appalling.

Trump University, incorporated in 2004 and launched in 2005, was a distance-learning class that was the brainchild of Donald Trump. It was created to offer course and accreditation on the skills leadership, entrepreneurship, and real estate. Since its inception, the “University” has been plagued with legal troubles as a result direct of Donald Trump woefully ignoring several important laws before implementing his brainchild. Among them is the fact that unless you’re an accredited higher learning institution you cannot use the word “University” in your title. Trump silenced the clamors of this ordeal by rechristening the site with the sterilized title of “The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.”

The next issue was the fact that the “University” wasn’t legally allowed to grant degrees or certificates in the state of New York or elsewhere. This led to several lawsuits, all of which are still pending. Trump has requested that the court cases be postponed until after the 2016 Presidential Election to avoid swaying voters against The Donald. The suit includes the following damnation: “The free seminars were the first step in a bait and switch to induce prospective students to enroll in increasingly expensive seminars starting with the three-day $1495 seminar and ultimately one of respondents’ advanced seminars such as the “Gold Elite” program costing $35,000. At the “free” 90-minute introductory seminars to which Trump University advertisements and solicitations invited prospective students, Trump University instructors engaged in a methodical, systematic series of misrepresentations designed to convince students to sign up for the Trump University three-day seminar.” (Source: Yoga Instructor Tarla Makaeff is the plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, claiming fraud against the site.

The Atlantic was able to get ahold of the University’s Confidential “Playbook,” coming to the conclusion that, “The playbook says almost nothing about the guest speaker presentations, the ostensible reason why people showed up to the seminar in the first place. Instead, the playbook focuses on the seminars’ real purpose: to browbeat attendees into purchasing expensive Trump University course packages.” (Source: ibid.) The website itself is now under lock and key, inaccesible to the public.

It almost sounds like the plot of an episode of I Love Lucy, doesn’t it? Yet, instead of Lucy and Ethel opening a cooking school and raising the prices to cover the cost of the food that they hadn’t factored into the student cost, we have a potential President of The United States frauding the very people he might eventually serve. Charging up to $35,000 for webinars and online lectures is most assuredly a textbook criminal act of fraud. According to the dictionary at, Fraud is “the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means to deprive another of his/her/its money, property or a legal right. A party who has lost something due to fraud is entitled to file a lawsuit for damages against the party acting fraudulently, and the damages may include punitive damages as a punishment or public example due to the malicious nature of the fraud.”

There is seemingly no purpose for creating this side other than to fraud its users. Donald Trump is a businessman, yes, but there are hundreds of thousands of others and his advice is not unique or even practical. Trump’s entrepreneurship ideas stem from the fact that he was privileged. His advice doesn’t factor in the reality that many people don’t have parents who can give them a (small) loan of a million dollars to jumpstart their business yearnings. His advice reeks of elitism and a false appropriation of common sense.

Entrepreneurship isn’t something that can be taught to the masses. Each project is unique and, therefore, doesn’t lend well to an over-arching study of the art of it. Leadership is by proxy “fruit of the poisoned tree,” which the Cornell Law Dictionary defines as “evidence gathered with the assistance of illegally obtained information must be excluded from trial.” In the same vein, if ideas spring from deceit they cease to be valid.

Trump’s entire campaign is “fruit of the poisoned tree.” The man’s ideas are at their most innocent corrosive and at their worst simply illegal. A campaign that is launched with a base of fraud, embezzlement, racism and misogyny renders any good ideas he has obsolete and irrelevant. Trump is hateful of women, homosexuals, the poor, and minorities. In fact, the only group that is untouchable to him are rich white male businessmen, the archetype to which he himself ascribes. Those who tout him as “a good businessman” are neglecting the fact that he has made his “fortune” by circumnavigating our bankruptcy laws and frauding the honest workers of the world. Any presidency that results from these ideals will be, to put it succinctly, the biggest fraud ever perpetrated in American History. His presidency will make Richard Nixon look like Mother Theresa of Calcutta!

I shall close, not with pleas or entreaties, but again with the words of Teddy Roosevelt and a phrase which is a chilling message to all the people who will vote in the coming election: “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

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