Justice

Former Trump University Employee Exposes The ‘School’s’ Hidden Agenda

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is used to dealing out harsh insults, but he's recently found himself on the receiving end of some tough talk for the alleged business practices of his defunct for-profit college.

A "fraudulent scheme," "a total lie," and "dishonest conduct" are a just a few of terms used to describe Trump University by some former employees found in newly released documents in a lawsuit against the school.

On Tuesday, internal Trump University documents, along with statements from former employees, were unsealed after U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered their release last Friday. Curiel is presiding over a lawsuit by former students in California — one of many ongoing suits against the school — accusing Trump University of defrauding students with promises of advanced real estate acumen.

Students say that they were promised meetings with Trump, only to come face-to-face with a cardboard cut-out of the businessman. They also claim that they spent thousands on real estate courses, which did not deliver on the lofty educational promises.

The statements of former employees appear to support these claims.

"Trump University claimed it wanted to help consumers make money in real estate," according to Ronald Schnackenberg, a former sales manager who worked at the school in 2007. "[I]n fact Trump University was only interested in selling every person the most expensive seminars they possibly could."

A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign told The Wall Street Journal that the documents had "no bearing on the merits of Trump University's case," and that the legal team "looks forward to using this evidence, along with much more, to win when the case is brought before a jury."

It's unclear how the documents — including a "sales playbook" instructing employees on how to "close a client," and to keep classroom temperature at "no more than 68 degrees," The New York Times reports — will bear on the case.

Screenshot of the "sales playbook"

Some sworn testimony by former employees was damning.

One ex-employee wrote:

"In my experience, the focus of Trump University was on making sales rather than on providing quality educational services. Trump University would lure consumers into the initial free course based upon the name and reputation of Donald Trump, and then once they were there, Trump University personnel would try to up-sell consumers to the next course using high-pressure sales tactics."

While this latest development comes as a part of a case brought in a California court, the school remains under investigation in other jurisdictions, including by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Trump had fought against the release of the documents this week, calling Judge Curiel a "hater of Donald Trump" at a campaign rally in San Diego, while also noting that Curiel is "Mexican," Vox reported. (Curiel is a U.S. citizen.)