Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trump - The Failure, Trump - The Huckster, Trump - The Weasel

All of the quotes cited are from: Losses, regrets and questions at companies Trump endorsed.

Failure Number One, The Trump Network:

"We're all going to be successful together," Trump declared enthusiastically about the business that had just been rechristened The Trump Network after he struck a licensing deal with the three men running it. He said he believed this new venture — "our company" — would become the "biggest in the industry."

"This is going to be something that's really amazing," he said.

Less than a year later, some of the company's biggest salespeople stopped getting paid. By 2012, Trump's licensing contract ended and the owners sold the business. The Trump Network was no more.
Failure Number Two, The Vitamin Company:
His remedy: Join the sales team of a business that sold, among other things, specially tailored vitamins based on a user's urine analysis. Anyone with drive, and $497 to pay for a special "FastStart" marketing kit, could begin raking it in. They would profit not just from their own sales of Trump-branded products, but from convincing other go-getters like themselves to start selling. Anyone they recruited would have to pass on a cut of their sales to them, and those recruits, in turn, could get a cut from their own recruits.

It was a multi-level marketing company, like Avon, Amway and Mary Kay.
"What he said on stage that night and what actually happened are two different things," said former saleswoman Jenna Knudsen. She said she lost her house and car after the paychecks dried up.
Failure Number Three, Trump University:
Trump University, a school offering his insights into getting rich in real estate at three-day seminars, was different from the vitamin company. Trump was a founder and an owner, and he portrayed himself as taking an active role, shaping the curriculum and vetting the instructors.

"My father did it, I did it," went one ad, referring to the fortunes they made in real estate, "and now I'm ready to teach you how to do it."

The closest most students got to the mogul was a life-sized cardboard cutout. A 2013 lawsuit from the New York attorney general and two class actions in California claim the three days of instructions were largely useless, and that students paying $1,495 to attend were misled. Worse, students at the seminars were told to max out their credit cards to pay tens of thousands dollars more for additional "Elite" training that, the lawsuits claim, was also largely unhelpful.

"I wasted my entire life savings on Trump," said former Trump University student Nelly Cunningham in an affidavit for the New York case. She added, "I feel like such a fool."
Failure Number Four, The Phone/Utility Company:
Trump has also endorsed ACN, a provider of telephone and other services that uses a Trump Network-like system of salespeople recruiting other salespeople, each paying an "initial fee" of $499 to join. The North Carolina company has come under fire from regulators in Canada and Australia and two U.S. states, Montana and Maryland, accused of making false promises to build its business. The company has fought the charges, and succeeded in getting the cases dismissed, save for the one in Maryland, which is still pending.

The Montana accusations were especially harsh. In 2010, the state's securities regulator claimed ACN ran an "illegal pyramid promotional scheme" — relying too heavily on fees from new salespeople to generate income — and issued a cease-and-desist order. Regulators dropped the charge that same year after ACN agreed to refund money lost by salespeople and to improve training.

The next year, 2011, Trump featured the company on his TV show, "The Celebrity Apprentice." He never licensed his name to the company. His role was limited to promoting it, which he did so repeatedly. Earlier, he had appeared in an ACN video calling it a "great company." And in the past two years, he gave at least three speeches at ACN events, earning $1.35 million in fees, according to figures released by the Federal Election Commission.

Wenling Babbitt, 48, said Trump's endorsement helped persuade her to join Xoom Energy, an ACN-controlled utility. A neighbor and her son, already on the salesforce, said that she could cut her gas bill if she switched to Xoom and, if she got others to switch, could make money. Then they mentioned the billionaire's name.

Babbitt said she and her husband each spent $499 to join Xoom, but then her husband noticed the gas bill for their San Diego home had gone up, not down. She said it took a half-dozen calls to get ACN to switch them back to their old utility, and her view on Trump has soured.
Trump and his lawyers basically say that Trump is not responsible for any of this.

Basically, it seems that Trump didn't fail, his "companies" did. Trump seems to have made money by screwing lots of other people. What is motivating him to run for president? If past patterns are any indication, it seems that he wants to become even richer while screwing all the rest of us. Although he might give Sarah Palin and his lawyers a few crumbs along the way.

Instead of "Make America Great Again" Trump's campaign slogan should be "Put Trump In The Trump House As Your New Huckster-In-Chief".

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