Trump University slammed by New York AG as sales 'playbooks' are released
'If they complain about the price, remind them that Trump is the BEST!!' reads one passage
New York's attorney general, who has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump's education venture, Trump University, slammed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday for his attack on a U.S. district judge's ethnicity.
Trump, a New York billionaire businessman, is fighting a trio of lawsuits that accuse his education program of misleading thousands of people who paid up to $35,000 US for seminars to learn about his real-estate investment strategies.
"This was a fraud from top to bottom. He's using every trick he can to delay the release of documents, to delay the trials, attacking the judge for his ethnicity, attacking me and accusing me of conspiring with the president of the United States," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, told CNN.
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Days after Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered some documents in one case involving the school to be unsealed, Trump called Curiel "hostile" and "a hater" and said he believed the judge was Mexican. Curiel is an American who was born in East Chicago, Ind., and graduated from the Indiana University School of Law.
Schneiderman, re-elected as attorney general in 2014, dismissed a question about Trump's allegation that Curiel's ruling was politically motivated, saying that in three individual cases against the university, "every judge has said these are valid fraud claims."
"He's taking it to New York's highest court for one more round of appeals, but no judge has dismissed this," Schneiderman said.
Asked about Trump's efforts to downplay the case, Schneiderman called it "hugely important" for the way it cast Trump as "someone who is absolutely shameless in his willingness to lie to people."
He blasted some of the university's specific tactics, including the way instructors would persuade students to ask their credit card companies for an increased credit limit as a step toward being successful in real estate, and then persuade them to use it to buy more Trump seminars.
"It was shameless, it was heartless, it's important information to get out there," Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman's comments came as the "playbooks" for the university were unsealed Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit by customers who say they were defrauded.
'People love recognition and attention'
The documents outline how employees should guide customers through "the rollercoaster of emotions" once they have expressed interest.
"The motivation that they experienced can die quickly as the realities of their daily lives take over. It is our job to rekindle that motivation ... to make them once again see the potential of achieving their dream," according to a "sales playbook."
A 2009 playbook quotes a Yale University study that found the most persuasive words in the English language are: you, new, money, easy, discovery, free, results, health, save, proven, guarantee and love.
"They share three characteristics: they are simple, familiar and dramatic."
"The words 'I noticed' have a powerful subconscious effect on people because they send a subliminal message to them that they stood out in the crowd, that they are attractive or charismatic or that they impressed you," the playbook continues. "People love recognition and attention."
Trump University offered a three-day seminar for $1,495, using it as a springboard to sell more expensive "Trump Elite" packages for up to $34,995 a year.
"You don't sell products, benefits or solutions — you sell feelings," according to the sales playbook.
Trump University's core customers are identified in the documents as male heads of households between 40 and 54 years old with annual household incomes of at least $90,000, a college education and a net worth of more than $200,000.
Reps encouraged to tell buyers to dip into their savings
One way to identify buyers is to ask what they do for a living. "Let them know that you've found an answer and a way for them to change their lifestyles."
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During one-on-one conversations, "you may begin with some small-talk to establish rapport but do not let them take control of the conversation," a playbook reads. "You must be very aggressive during these conversations to in order to push them out of their comfort zones."
"If they complain about the price, remind them that Trump is the BEST!! This is the last real estate investment they will ever need to make."
For those who have hit credit limits, employees are told to suggest they dip into savings or identify other "seed capital."
"Money is never a reason for not enrolling in Trump University; if they really believe in you and your product, they will find the money," a playbook reads.
In addition to the New York action, Trump University is the subject of a six-year-old case in San Diego scheduled to go to trial shortly after the November presidential election.
Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the offerings — a point that his attorneys repeated after the documents were unsealed. The documents included testimony from several satisfied customers.
"Much of the unsealed evidence, including declarations and surveys from former Trump University students, demonstrates the high level of satisfaction from students and that Trump University taught valuable real estate information," said Jill Martin, vice-president and assistant general counsel for The Trump Organization. "Trump University looks forward to using this evidence, along with much more, to win when the case is brought before a jury."
The documents show meticulous attention to details such as seating at seminars. Room temperature should be set no higher than 68 degrees, and music should be The O'Jays' For the Love of Money — which Trump also used on his reality TV show The Apprentice.