Donald Trump and Gold Elite

Donald Trump and Gold Elite

What’s “Gold Elite?” Gold Elite is apparently the ultimate best educational package offered by Trump University. It ran for three days and cost $34,995, and during that time, “you will learn everything to make a million dollars…”

In a legitimate good faith bargain, value is exchanged for value, for instance, labor is exchanged for money: a lawn mowed for twenty-five dollars. In a scam, the appearance of a good faith bargain is created but the no real value is exchanged.

I would have liked to have looked at these transactions and concluded that it was a matter of opinion as to whether or not this was just a way to separate people from their money. But can an objective observor conclude that this was something beside a scam?

In an article from the Guardian, recent revelations from the ongoing trial are discussed. Here is an excerpt:

In documents released yesterday in a court order from federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, internal Trump University “playbooks” revealed how salespeople were encouraged to sign up prospective students to Gold Elite three-day packages for $34,995 each. In a message from Trump, those who signed up were told: “Only doers get rich. I know that in these three packed days, you will learn everything to make a million dollars within the next 12 months.”

Potential students were subject to high-pressure sales pitches where they were told “Your plan is BROKEN and WE WILL help you fix it” and encouraged to put the cost of Trump courses on their personal credit cards.

And then there is this from Clementine Amidon writing for the Huffington Post:

But — you’ve gotta spend money to make money. And so, according to Schnackenberg, “Trump University speakers told students to raise their credit card limits so that they could be ready to purchase real estate.” Then, speakers pressured those students to use their new sky-high credit to purchase more classes at the institution, like the $35,000 “Elite” program. For such a hefty price, participants could learn about real-estate … from diamond salesmen! That’s right — Schnackenberg said a jewelry maker with no real estate business experience led some Trump seminars.

Schnackenberg said that “not a single customer who paid for a Trump University seminar programs [sic] went on to successfully invest in real estate based upon the techniques that they were taught.” Gosh, that tends to happen when you are using a diamond weight estimator card to figure out a condo’s value.

I think a reasonable person looking at the court documents would conclude that Trump University was not a legitimate educational institution and that this was simply a scheme to make money.

James Pilant

P.S. You can read some of the documents here and decided for yourself:

‘Trump University’ Documents Put On Display Aggressive Sales Techniques : The Two-Way : NPR

Testimony From Ronald Schnackenberg, a Former Employee of Trump University – The New York Times

4 thoughts on “Donald Trump and Gold Elite

  1. I believe if you looked into it far enough you’d discover most if not all of Trump’s business dealings are illegitimate – if not technically illegal – and geared less toward benefitting society and more toward sucking the wealth from it. The man, like many of his peers, is a sponge. And the great unfunny joke that income inequality and legalised corruption in the US is will reach its punchline in the general election. And cease to be at all funny if he becomes POTUS.


    1. Thank you very much for commenting. I think it would have been easier on all of us if he had hustled at a legitimate business in the form of Trump University but it just isn’t so. You’re quite right – it may be that all of his operations are of that style but I have to assume each is legitimate and then examine it in turn. It’s part of my blogging responsibility to work the field of business ethics. jp

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I should add that I’m sure he’s created many jobs. But I’m also sure he’s profitted far more than, and disproportionately to, any of his employees from their labour.


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