With the public release of the Trump University playbooks, the class-action suit against Donald Trump's real estate seminars will test the old adage in sales, 'to get what you want, figure out how to help others get what they want.'
Trump team members were told to sell excitement, feelings, and advanced courses with the promise of giving the students life-changing information and strategies that would ensure financial independence and success.
All at a price.
But price isn't the consideration here. After all, millions of people attend colleges and universities and pay hefty sums of money for the information. My own doctoral program cost more than the "Trump Gold Elite" program. But then again, that was spanning almost 3 years and 20 courses at an accredited university, not just 5 seminars with access to an online training program and a foreclosed property list for a year.
The consideration here is whether or not the program actually delivered results or even sold something that was valuable. Or, even worse, was the program designed in such a way that the Trump team members hosting the seminars were the only ones with a real prospect of making money?
Trump is going to have some problems justifying the 'value' of the product he was selling. Take, for instance, his 'Incorporate Your Business' service, which had a retail value of $995 (not including state filing fees).
Page 8 of the playbook lets us know the importance of forming your own LLC:
If you are serious about investing in real estate or starting a new venture, you need to know about the many advantages of incorporating your business. The security that comes from forming an LLC cannot be underestimated, but the process can be confusing and time consuming. Trump University’s LLC formation service handles your incorporation so that you can focus on building your business.
Sounds good, but just how hard is it to form an LLC?
From starting with a Google Search, to finding the document on the Kansas secretary of state's website, to reading the instructions and filling out the form, it took me 7.5 minutes and I'd have to submit a $165 filing fee. California was even easier, and cheaper too -- only a $70 filing fee.
In short, it's not that hard to set up an LLC, definitely not worth paying someone almost $1,000 to do it for you.
Clearly, this is going to be the uphill-battle for Trump's legal team.
So much like Hillary Clinton's on-going email investigations, it doesn't seem like Trump will suffer much immediate damage. The real question is whether or not this case and his own comments about the case will cause swing and independent voters to question his abilities to be the next president.
In the end, the probability of the United States presidential race being between two people with ongoing federal cases is growing by the week. Trump's case is already set for a November start date, while the possibility of Clinton's indictment seems likely at this point.