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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Trump University’s secret 'playbook': Who wants to be a billionaire?



The instructions for Trump University instructors were simple: Entice prospective students by making them feel special. Let them know they were being offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to get rich, and create  “more wealth than you have ever dreamed of” — by taking courses from “Donald Trump’s Real Estate Experts.”
“This is not something we offer to just anyone,” reads a confidential Trump University “playbook” for instructors at the now defunct school. “We don’t want to work with just anyone.
“You know who my boss is, right?” the proposed script continues. “Mr. Trump is on a mission to create the next wave of independently wealthy entrepreneurs in America. Is that you?”
Whether Trump’s real mission was to help his students become wealthy real estate entrepreneurs  — or to line his own pockets through deceptive sales pitches that lured them into paying tens of thousands of dollars for courses of little if any value — is now at issue in three lawsuits facing the real estate tycoon as he stands on the verge of becoming the Republican Party candidate for president of the United States.
That litigation resurfaced as a campaign issue Tuesday as hundreds of pages of once-secret Trump University documents were unsealed under orders from a federal judge.
Trump, for his part, vowed again to fight the lawsuits and never settle, even if, he seemed to suggest, he is elected president. One of the lawsuits is slated to go to trial in federal court in San Diego on Nov. 28, three weeks after Election Day. “I could have settled that case,” he told reporters at a press conference. “But I don’t want to.” His reason: “I’m a man of principle.”
And Trump once again tore into U.S. Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who presides over the case, and who ordered the internal documents (filed by Trump’s lawyers under seal) to be released, after the Washington Post argued in a motion that their disclosure was in the public interest.
Donald Trump and Judge Gonzalo Curiel (Photo illustration: Yahoo News, photos: AP, Thos. Robinson/Getty Images, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California via Wikipedia, San Diego Superior Court via San Diego Union Tribune)
Donald Trump and Judge Gonzalo Curiel (Photo illustration: Yahoo News, photos: AP, Thos. Robinson/Getty Images, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California via Wikipedia, San Diego Superior Court via San Diego Union Tribune)
Last Friday, during a campaign rally, Trump stunned many in the legal community by referring to Curiel as a “hater” and a “Mexican” because he had ruled against him in the case. (Curiel was born in East Chicago, Ind., in 1953, the son of parents from Mexico, and was a federal prosecutor specializing in prosecuting Mexican drug traffickers before being nominated for the bench by President Obama.) On Tuesday, Trump’s language about the judge was more temperate, but still pointed: “I have a judge who is very, very unfair,” he said Tuesday, complaining about one of Curiel’s recent rulings allowing the case to proceed.
The documents unsealed Tuesday shed new light on Trump University’s marketing strategy, which relied on playing up its founder’s reputation for unqualified success:
“Let me ask you,” [instructors were told to fill in the name of a student] “is everything Donald Trump does, the BEST? He wouldn’t put his name on this, if it weren’t, right?