But Trump has so far refused to release those documents. If elected president, “Ivanka, Don, Eric and my family will start it up” again after the lawsuit is over, Trump told supporters after his primary rout Tuesday night. He even said at a South Carolina event last fall he “would have given all the money to charity,” had he not been sued. He’s also said it’s possible he'll bring back Trump University in the future — or his children will. The Trump University scam was a way to prey on the vulnerability of economic strivers. To prosecutors, this arrangement between Trump University and the Trump Organization are more than semantics: They show how connected Trump was to the business, even if he wasn’t making most hiring decisions or speaking at events. The court said in its ruling that plaintiffs are expected receive 80 percent to 90 percent of what they paid for Trump University programs. Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox. Complainants say they were told Trump was doing this for his legacy. Matejek also said that Trump repaid himself the money that he invested, plus “it had to have been five million or, or, several million” more in capitol distributions. A lawyer for Trump could not be reached for comment. Trump “felt this was a very good business, and he wanted to put his own money into it,” Sexton said. Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. His embattled education venture is being sued for fraud by the New York state attorney general and by a handful of former students who allege they took on thousands of dollars in debt to attend real estate seminars that made false promises of future riches. “We have a lot of great people who want to get back into Trump University. “This never was a university. The online courses launched in 2005 soon evolved into in-person seminars that promised students would learn from professors “hand-picked” by Trump. Mr. Trump's late brother, Frederick Trump Jr., was a graduate of Lehigh. Matejek said in a deposition that as early as late 2009, Trump University was delinquent on its rent to the Trump Organization. The university invited the president to speak at its commencement in 1988, awarding him the honorary degree. Trump has often given much higher values for his wealth than organizations estimating it. The core of his fortune is tied up in a half-dozen buildings in and around midtown Manhattan in New York City. The suit, Makaeff v. During his victory speech on Tuesday night, following wins in the Michigan and Mississippi GOP primary elections, he vowed Trump University would … Trump's lawyers did not comment for this article. Sexton was paid $250,000 per year to operate the business and had a 4.5 percent ownership stake. Steps from Trump Tower in Manhattan, the 43-story 1290 Avenue of the Americas skyscraper spans an entire city block. So there’s no telling what he made from the venture in its first years—unless he releases his tax filings going back a decade. Former students filed a class-action fraud lawsuit in California in April of that year. Listen on Apple Podcasts. At the events, held in hotel ballrooms, instructors taught about making money by investing in foreclosed homes and other real estate ventures. Donald Trump “personally pocketed $5m” from his Trump University “scam”, New York’s attorney general said on Thursday. Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation. Terms of Service apply. And with Trump refusing to release his taxes, the vague response about his earnings from Trump University could add fuel to the accusations that Trump has something to hide by being evasive about his personal finances. Donald Trump promised to "drain the swamp" when he ran in 2016—but Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties have become their own swamp … And 794 people bought longer mentorship courses that ran up to $35,000. The lawsuits filed in New York and California say that many of the introductory and three-day classes Trump University hosted were more intent on selling students on additional, expensive coursework and mentoring; Sexton has disagreed with this characterization and says the three-day seminars “included a great deal of substantive content.". Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism? Both estimates are likely chump change for Trump. Missing out on the latest scoops? The idea for Trump University came from with Michael Sexton, a management consultant with a master’s degree from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth who, according to a sworn deposition, approached Trump with the concept of licensing his name for online education courses in 2004. 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