The ongoing PR battle surrounding Trump University continues at full volume in the courts, in the press, and on social media. The latest salvo in the fight is not coming from The Donald or any disgruntled former students, but from folks who used to work there.
Thanks to sworn statements released as part of the class action lawsuit, the press and the voting public now know exactly what several former employees think about the program. The upshot, they are calling it a “fraudulent scheme” and a “total lie.”
“Far from providing a ‘complete real estate education,’ as advertised, Trump University personnel only provided enough information to get students to sign up for the next seminar or program… These people did not necessarily have real estate experience, but they were skilled at high-pressure sales,” events department manager Corinne Sommer said.
“I resigned from my position in May 2007 because I believe that Trump University was engaging in misleading, fraudulent and dishonest conduct,” said salesman Ronald Schnackenberg.
As part of his testimony, Schnackenberg said he felt particularly poorly after telling one couple the program wasn’t right for them because of their “precarious” financial situation. According to Schnackenberg, “Trump University reprimanded me for not trying harder to sell the program to this couple.”
Sommer, Schnackenberg, and another former employee, Jason Nicholas, questioned the qualifications of the “experts” hired to teach the courses.
“They were unqualified people posing as Trump’s right-hand men… They were teaching methods that were unethical, and they had little to no experience flipping properties or doing real estate deals. It was a façade, a total lie.”
Trump’s team, as usual, was quick to fire back at these revelations and accusations. In a statement, a Trump University spokesman said the declaration testimony of these and other former employees was “recanted” or “completely discredited” at their depositions. The Trump spokesperson also pointed to surveys they say demonstrate a “high level of satisfaction from students and that Trump University taught valuable real estate information.”
For both Trump Train riders and the NeverTrump crowd, these revelations will be little more than he said-she said commentary that will move the dial little if at all. However, these continued revelations could have an impact on the independents and disaffected Republicans who are flirting with the idea of voting for the Libertarian candidate, Hillary Clinton or an as yet unnamed “third party”.
Trump will need these independents if he wants to upset Clinton and win the White House. Currently, polls have the race at neck and neck, proving Trump has gained considerable ground in recent weeks, closing the gap in some polls and leading in others.