A federal judge has unsealed 381 pages of documents relating to Donald Trump’s controversial Trump University for-profit real estate program, which became public Tuesday afternoon as part of a lawsuit seeking damages and accusing the company of fraud.  

{mosads}The documents amount to the “playbooks” used by the company in convincing prospective students to join the program, which promised real estate training blessed by Trump himself. But it soon found itself embroiled in controversy, with a number of students claiming they had been misled. 

Those playbooks show that prospective students were encouraged to pay for the program, which could cost up to $35,000, using “other people’s money.” 

“We teach the technique of using OPM … other people’s money,” the sales script reads in a sample conversation between a staffer and an interested student.

“Most students who are invited to this program use established lines of credit, like a credit card, utilizing the bank’s money, OPM, to handle their tuition. I’m not talking about tens of thousands of dollars, but on the other hand, not a couple of hundred dollars either.”

The most expensive package is the $34,995 “Gold Elite” package.

The script goes on to tell students they will be “working with our experts to become profitable in the shortest amount of time.”

Trump’s reputation as a real estate dynamo was an integral part of the initial sales pitch, as employees touted “The Trump Way.”

“Is everything Donald Trump does the BEST?” a salesman would ask. “He wouldn’t put his name on this if it wasn’t right?”

But while Trump had previously claimed he specifically picked his instructors, he admitted in depositions that he was not familiar with the names of any of those instructors and did not help to select them, according to CNN.

The takeaway for the program’s “multi-family and commercial real estate investment retreat” also tells customers to  “take full advantage of tax breaks and other financial shelters, allowing you to maximize your profits.” That’s a strategy Trump himself has employed, even as he continues to resist releasing his tax returns in his presidential campaign.

Trump faces a handful of lawsuits relating to the Trump University classes, which many students have panned as a farce, telling media organizations they left the program with little valuable advice and mountains of debt.

Trump’s political adversaries have seized on the controversy surrounding his real estate classes. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz lambasted Trump on the issue during the Republican primary, while Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has already begun to use the issue against the presumptive GOP nominee. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been a vocal critic of the program and has repeatedly panned it as fraud, suing the company back in 2013 for millions in restitution.

Trump University faced a handful of legal challenges, as well as scrutiny from the New York Department of Education, before it shut down in 2011. 

But Trump has trumpeted his innocence, releasing reviews from students lauding the courses and arguing that he won’t settle because he’ll be vindicated in court. 

Lawyers for the billionaire businessman had argued to keep the documents secret after a request by The Washington Post to turn the documents over to the public. But Judge Gonzalo Curiel swatted their arguments down on Friday, asserting that the defense had not met the bar to keep the documents out of the public eye. 

He also added that Trump’s station as the GOP standard-bearer, as well as the fact that he’s “placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue,” bolstered the argument to make the documents public. 

Trump has launched a tirade against Curiel in the days before the release of the documents. He chided the judge as a “hater” and “very hostile” on the stump on Friday and has implied that he’s biased because he’s “Mexican.” 

Curiel is of Hispanic heritage but was born in Indiana. 

The release of the documents came hours after Trump held a press conference on his donations to veterans groups, where he chastised the media for criticizing him on the donations. A flurry of media reports noted discrepancies in the money promised by Trump and the money he actually sent to groups.

— Updated at 4:25 p.m. 

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Marco Rubio Ted Cruz

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video