The People of New York v. The Donald
Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of the State of New York, is not happy with Donald Trump, the Ruler of All that He Sees*. Schneiderman has filed a $40 million lawsuit against Trump, alleging that his “Trump University” defrauded students who enrolled there.
“Trading on his celebrity status, Mr. Trump personally appeared in advertisements making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got,” Schneiderman said. “No one, no matter how rich or famous they are, has a right to scam hardworking New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable.”
And as the AP notes, Schneiderman’s not done:
“Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers’ advancement through costly programs and caused real financial harm,” Schneiderman said. “Trump University, with Donald Trump’s knowledge and participation, relied on Trump’s name recognition and celebrity status to take advantage of consumers who believed in the Trump brand.”
Unfortunately, Trump has an ironclad defense: admitting to everything that Schneiderman says, otherwise known as “the truth.”
I can hear the defense opening statement now:
Your honor, my client has a long history of running businesses solely to benefit himself. You know it, I know it, all of New York knows it, all the world knows it.
This is a man who has made millions out of going bankrupt, forcing his creditors to eat his losses.
This is a man who has made millions by presenting himself on national television as a self-centered know-it-all, who doesn’t give a damn about those beneath him — including his own family members.
With this well-known history, how can anyone plausibly bring a suit alleging fraud? If you drive across a bridge that has obviously broken girders, obviously rusted supports, and obviously potholed asphalt, you can’t blame anyone but yourself when the bridge collapses as you drive an 18 wheeler across it. That’s what the plaintiffs are trying to do — avoid responsibility for their own gullibility.
I move that this case be dismissed.
I’m told the legal phrase that I’m looking for is “assumption of risk.”
(I suppose that it’s too late to bill Mr. Trump for my legal expertise . . .)
*apologies to Yertle the Turtle.
Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license