Report: Trump’s Expert Investment Advice Was Plagiarized

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

We already knew Trump University was an epic scam that is currently on trial in New York, but what about the Trump Institute?

Not to be confused with Trump University, the Trump Institute is another fraudulent program where prospective "students" pay money to attend Trump-branded seminars where they're fed a steady diet of snake oil.

The New York times took at a closer look at the Trump Institute and, by all accounts, it appears to have been an even bigger fraud than Trump University.

Its operators rented out hotel ballrooms across the country and invited people to pay up to $2,000 to come hear Mr. Trump’s “wealth-creating secrets and strategies.” [...]

As with Trump University, the Trump Institute promised falsely that its teachers would be handpicked by Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump did little, interviews show, besides appear in an infomercial — one that promised customers access to his vast accumulated knowledge. “I put all of my concepts that have worked so well for me, new and old, into our seminar,” he said in the 2005 video, adding, “I’m teaching what I’ve learned.”

As it turns out, Trump's "wealth-creating" mojo and secret knowledge were not his own.

Unbeknownst to customers at the time, though, even the printed materials handed out to seminar attendees were based on a lie. The Trump Institute copyrighted its publication, each page emblazoned with “Billionaire’s Road Map to Success,” and it distributed the materials to those who attended the seminars. [...]

At least 20 pages of the Trump Institute book were copied entirely or in large part from “Real Estate Mastery System.” Even some of its hypothetical scenarios — “Seller A is asking $80,000 for a single-family residence” — were repeated verbatim.

There's a whole lot more to the story, which you should read at the Times website, but to make a long story short -- Trump put his name on the Institute and trusted a pair of fraudsters to run it who've defrauded customers across half the country dating back to the 1990s.

Trump's associates have downplayed his knowledge of and connection to the Institute, but there's a fairly clear pattern of Trump repeatedly involving himself in fraudulent businesses and scams. This isn't a coincidence.

I have no doubt that Donald Trump is far from alone in being a businessman of dubious personal value and qualifications who owes a great deal if not a majority of their success, real or perceived, to simply having money to start with.

Donald Trump did not rise from rags to riches nor did most of his shady colleagues. Trump received a massive loan from his father and he inherited his family's name, assets, and connections. If his business record is any indication, it may not be a stretch to say that Trump knows no more about sound investment than you or I do. We can't point to any of Trump's business ventures or escapades and hold them up as authentic examples of business acumen or ethics. There's no "there," there.

To the extent that some of his ventures have generated profits, they've also been repeatedly sued in court for not paying their employees and contractors.

Trump and his colleagues are the sort of men who've said Democratic efforts to raise taxes on the rich amounts to "punishing success" even though they evidently pose a greater risk to their own wealth and success than a minuscule tax does.

You can count me among the people who believe Trump is not nearly as personally wealth as he claims to be. Those claims appear to be his meal ticket and I suspect that's why he keeps making them and why he will not release his full tax returns.

Evidence of Trump Institute plagiarism was discovered by American Bridge. They're basically Democratic superheroes.

  • muselet

    Within living memory, shady dealings like Donald Trump’s would be automatically disqualifying for a presidential candidate (hell, a candidate for city council of North Flyspeck, Wyoming).

    When did we become so accommodating to grifters?


    • Since the GOP created a gullible and fearful target rich environment with the help of the MSM (unwittingly like CNN or purposely like Fox).

      • gescove

        I don’t think CNN can hide behind an “unwittingly” veil. I no longer watch because they seem to me to pursue a strategy of 1) flashy gizmos and graphics over cogent analysis, 2) being quick to report wild speculation rather than waiting for facts to emerge, and 3) padding their line-up with RW talking heads, like their most recent acquisition Corey Lewandowski. Oh, and lastly, effing Wolf Blitzer. It’s a shame, because sometimes Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour are spot on.

        • They are the only two I would watch IF I did watch CNN.

    • JMAshby

      I don’t know when it began but it will never stop if Republicans refuse to vet their own opponents. Trump’s rivals in the primary did zero opposition research on Trump and the most visible attack on Trump of the entire cycle was a dick joke. And yet even the dick joke was walked-back.

      It can never end until at least some Republicans decide they’re going to stand for something rather than nothing. They might lose while standing for something, but that’s what it will take to get the ball rolling.

      • muselet

        The cynic in me says the other R presidential candidates didn’t say anything about Donald Trump’s various swindles because they were all thinking, “Wow, sweet scam! How can I make that work for me?”

        But, as I say, that’s me being cynical.

        Republicans did once have a vision for governance. It wasn’t one I supported, but at least they had one. That stopped 36—or, perhaps, 52—years ago, when they decided that railing against government was more fun than actually working.


  • Aynwrong

    The Republican Party has essentially nominated Denny Crane. Only he’s not funny or charming in the least.

    • muselet

      The difference is that Denny Crane in his prime was a talented lawyer.

      Donald Trump was only ever a talented bullshit artist.


    • I was thinking more along the lines of Patrick Bateman.

      • Aynwrong

        Yeah, that works better. I wonder if Trump has any opinions regarding Huey Lewis and the News?