In the history of US politics, no candidate has been as mind-blowingly controversial as Donald Trump. The former businessman is ridiculed by the media as a national joke; a buffoon who constantly puts his foot in it. But at least he’s not as openly corrupt as Hillary Clinton, right?
If only. It turns out that Donald J. Trump has been involved in some pretty shady stuff over the last few decades. Stuff that’s murky at best . . . and downright unpleasant at worst.
10. Running A Scam University
First, you should know that Trump University (TU) wasn’t a university. This is important because New York State prohibits calling your company a university if it isn’t one. Second, you should know that it was a scam company dedicated to fleecing millions from vulnerable people.
TU has been called a “classic bait-and-switch” scheme. All the classes were geared toward making students sign up for expensive seminars where they would “learn Trump’s personal techniques.”
Once there, the entire seminar involved pressuring them to sign up for a $35,000 “mentorship program.” Those who joined the program reportedly learned nothing beyond generic techniques and never once personally met Trump.
In fact, TU so badly misrepresented itself that the New York attorney general’s office is now taking the candidate to court.
9. Running A Scam Charity
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is an unusual charity. The money it raises doesn’t always go to good causes. Trump has previously used its funds to treat himself to insane gifts.
In one case, Trump used $20,000 of the foundation’s cash to buy a painting of himself that was 2 meters (6 ft) high. There is literally no definition of the word “charity” that includes buying paintings of Donald Trump for Donald Trump.
This would be one thing if the charity used Trump’s own money. It doesn’t. The foundation is funded entirely by other philanthropists. Unusually for a foundation, its founder hasn’t given since 2008. Instead, Trump has used the foundation’s charitable status to get donations from other rich people.
Then he gives these donations away to second charities, making himself look philanthropic. He even won an award for giving $150,000 to a police association . . . despite every cent originally coming from the Evans Foundation.
8. Terrorizing Tenants
In 1981, Trump purchased a building off Central Park hoping to demolish it and turn it into condos. The residents living there refused to move. Trump responded by acting like the landlord from hell.
For five years, Trump cut off heat and hot water, even during freezing New York winters. He refused to fix leaks. He allowed a rat infestation to take hold. He told the building manager to spy on tenants. He allowed a construction team to start work at 7:00 AM every day directly above an apartment where an old woman lay dying of cancer. When she complained, he did nothing.
Things got really bizarre when Trump decided he would house homeless people in the building. Residents said it was a ploy to drive them out. The whole thing wound up in court, and Trump eventually backed down. He now denies the incidents ever took place.
7. Knowingly Employing Illegal Immigrants
One of Trump’s signature policies is to deport illegal immigrants. Yet, in the 1980s, Trump knowingly employed undocumented Polish workers to help build Trump Tower.
Trump denies this. But several witnesses from the incident—including an FBI informant—have testified under oath that Trump knew he was employing illegal immigrants. They claim that he made them work seven days a week without safety gear in a dangerous environment and repeatedly refused to pay even the measly $5 an hour he was offering.
Trump went to great lengths to make his workers’ lives hell. At one point, he threatened to report them to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and have them deported if they complained. Many were made to sleep at the construction site. Things only improved when the Poles threatened to sue for part ownership of the building.
6. Using Campaign Contributions To Buy His Own Book
Many ordinary people have contributed to Donald Trump’s campaign. Most of them probably expected their money to go toward defeating Hillary in November. Very few of them likely expected Trump to use their money to buy $55,000 worth of his own book.
To be fair, some high-profile writers have been known to bulk-buy 500 copies of their latest work. But they don’t use presidential campaign funds or buy between 3,000–5,000 copies at retail price.
The retail price bit is important because it suggests that Trump may have been using campaign funds to get himself on The New York Times Best Sellers list. At best, this is deeply narcissistic. At worst, Trump may have been hoping to pocket the royalties.
The Daily Beast claims that he was doing just that—a move which would be deeply illegal.