Stealing from the poor

But hey, it’s all ok because Trump is the champion of The Little Guy (not The Little Gal so much), the scourge of the elites, the populist, the friend of miners and factory workers.

Except, wait a second. He’s being sued for bullshitting people with no money into scam get-rich schemes.

A new lawsuit accuses President Trump, his company and three of his children of using the Trump name to entice vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities.

The 160-page complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.

Those business entities were ACN, a telecommunications marketing company that paid Mr. Trump millions of dollars to endorse its products; the Trump Network, a vitamin marketing enterprise; and the Trump Institute, which the suit said offered “extravagantly priced multiday training seminars” on Mr. Trump’s real estate “secrets.”

The four plaintiffs, who were identified only with pseudonyms like Jane Doe, depict the Trump Organization as a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people for years as the president turned from construction to licensing his name for profit. The suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump as defendants.

It just doesn’t get much more squalid than that, does it. There’s pimping and trafficking, but other than that…this is bottom-feeding shit. Bernie Madoff for broke people.

The lawyers said they were asking the court to allow the plaintiffs to proceed using pseudonyms because of “serious and legitimate security concerns given the heated political environment.” The lawyers also declined to make their clients available for interviews.

The four plaintiffs each invested in ACN after watching promotional videos featuring Mr. Trump.

According to the lawsuit, ACN required investors to pay $499 to sign up to sell its products, like a videophone and other services, with the promise of additional profits if they recruited others to join.

Mr. Trump described the phone in an ACN news release as “amazing” but failed to disclose he was being “paid lavishly for his endorsement,” the suit says.

One plaintiff, a hospice worker from California identified as “Jane Doe,” decided to join ACN in 2014 after attending a recruitment meeting at a Los Angeles hotel where she listened to speakers and watched Mr. Trump on video extol the investment opportunity.

For her, the video was the “turning point,” the lawsuit said.

“Doe believed that Trump had her best interests at heart,” the suit said.

Jane Doe then signed up for a larger ACN meeting in Palm Springs, Calif., which cost almost $1,500, and she later spent thousands more traveling to conventions in Cleveland and Detroit, according to the suit.

In the end, she earned $38 — the only income she would ever receive from the company, the suit said.

That is the president of the United States.

There’s an annoying aspect to the article which I haven’t quoted: it undercuts itself in the second paragraph and later interjections by noting how near the election is and wondering if maybe this is all political blah blah blah. The co-author is Maggie Haberman. Adam Davidson, of the New Yorker and formerly NPR, wrote a righteous thread on both-sidesism on Twitter this morning, and Haberman replied to it with praise plus a jab, and he jabbed back. I suspect the ludicrous undercutting of this article by its own authors (or by Haberman alone, more likely) is what inspired his thread. I find it pretty infuriating. The plaintiffs’ lawyers responded in the article by saying they filed now because they were ready now.

One Response to “Stealing from the poor”