To expand on the point a little, Trump’s fake “university” (yes fake AND scare quotes because it’s just that fake) charged thousands of dollars for real estate tips you could learn from a pamphlet.


Trump University (also known as the Trump Wealth Institute and Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC) was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until 2010. It was owned and operated by The Trump Organization. (A separate organization, Trump Institute, was licensed by Trump University but not owned by the Trump Organization.) After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct. It was founded by Donald Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny, in 2004. The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.[2]

The organization was not an accredited university or college. It did not confer college credit, grant degrees, or grade its students.[3]

Typically the instruction began with an introductory seminar in rented space such as a hotel ballroom. At the introductory seminar, students were urged to sign up for additional classes, ranging from $1495 seminars to a $35,000 “Gold Elite” program.[9] Records produced indicate 7611 tickets in total were sold to customers attending courses.[10] Approximately 6000 of these tickets were for a $1,500 3-day course and 1000 tickets were for silver, gold or elite mentored courses ranging in price from $10,000 to $35,000.[11][10]

Quartz has more details:

Trump has also opened a school. But in a class-action complaint filed against Trump in 2013, Trump University students alleged that the for-profit organization ripped them off. Among other things, the unaccredited “university” misrepresented Trump’s personal involvement and mischaracterized itself as an elite school with professors, they said.

Says one complaint:

Defendant uniformly misled Plaintiff and the Class that they would learn Donald Trump’s real estate secrets through him and his handpicked professors at his elite “University.” The misleading nature of the enterprise is embodied by its very name. That is because, though Defendant promised “Trump University,” he delivered neither Donald Trump nor a University.

The same complaint quotes marketing material from Trump:

We’re going to have professors and adjunct professors that are absolutely terrific. Terrific people. Terrific brains. Successful. The best. We are going to have the best of the best. And, honestly, if you don’t learn from them, if you don’t learn from me, if you don’t learn from the people that we’re going to be putting forward, and these are all people that are handpicked by me, then, you’re just not gonna make it in terms of the world of success. And that’s okay, but you’re not gonna make it in terms of success.

The New York State Education Department rebuked the now-defunct company for its misleading use of “university,” and the Better Business Bureau has never accredited the organization.

Now what about LeBron James’s school?

LeBron James returned to Ohio this week—but not to play for his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This time, he was back to welcome the inaugural class of the I Promise school, a public, non-charter school for at-risk kids in Akron, Ohio. James helped create the school via his foundation, the LeBron James Family Foundation, in partnership with Akron Public Schools. The school opened earlier this week to a group of 240 third- and fourth-grade students; by 2022, it is expected to accommodate children in first through eighth grades.

James was motivated to launch the school thanks to his own experience growing up as an inner-city kid in Ohio. As James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, part of the reason the school is beginning with kids in third- and fourth-grade is because that’s when he believes kids begin to succumb to chronic absenteeism and outside pressures. “In the fourth grade, I missed 80 days of school,” he told Nichols.

At the I Promise school, tuition is free for all students, who were randomly selected among all Akron public school students between one to two years behind their peers in reading. Students get free uniforms, free meals and snacks during the school day, and free transportation to school. Every kid also gets a free bicycle and helmet, as James has said that having access to his own set of wheels gave him a way to escape from dangerous parts of his neighborhood and the freedom to explore during his childhood. And in a nod to the realities of the way schoolwork gets done in the digital age, every kid gets a free Chromebook, too.

And there’s a food pantry, there’s help for parents looking for housing, there’s support for teachers, and more.

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