We all know that Trump has a knack for fraud and hucksterism. His “Trump University” scam was nothing more than the equivalent of hard selling timeshares to people who did not need the product… to the extent that a product actually existed… to be bought they clearly did not have. Then we have the sorry spectacle of him using veterans as fundraising props while resolutely refusing to actually give the money to the charities for which the donations had been solicited until subjected to intense media scrutiny.
Now there is more:
If Donald Trump’s claims that certain of his commercial ventures benefit charity are untrue, he could be held liable under Section 349 of New York’s General Business Law, which forbids deceptive business acts and practices, as well as under charitable solicitation laws, according to legal experts.
In promoting products as varied as Trump University, Trump Vodka, a Trump board game, and his new book “Crippled America,” the businessman has declared that the proceeds would go to charity. None of Trump’s proceeds from Trump University have gone to charity, and only a few hundred dollars of charitable giving related to Trump Vodka has been accounted for. News organizations have been unable to verify his other claims, and his representatives have been unwilling to provide more information about them or even to confirm them.
While lawyers say Trump could be liable in a number of states for false claims, the official most likely to take up the matter would be Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, where Trump resides and is already the defendant in a consumer fraud case brought by the state over Trump University.
Referring to Trump’s claims about his “Crippled America” book profits, a spokesman for Scheiderman’s office said that the law against deceptive business practices was a more likely avenue of pursuit than the charitable solicitation law. But he added that lawyers at the attorney general’s office had not yet decided whether to look into the matter.
In all fairness, it is more likely than not that Trump Vodka, etc., didn’t make any money. The business Trump has demonstrated time and again is to embark on harebrained business ventures, gull investors out of money, declare bankruptcy, and walk away from the smoking rubble. The book, aptly named Crippled America for Trump’s mental abilities, is a different story. He undoubtedly received an advance from his publisher against sales and that would be subject to his promise to donate the proceeds to charity.
We all know Trump is a cheapskate and a fraud. There is no way he’s going to part with a single cent of what he thinks is his money without a fight. If Schneiderman decides to go after Trump it could be the most amusing thing that has happened thus far in this sorry campaign season.