Trump University, the former for-profit business education venture that has landed Donald Trump in various courts to defend himself against claims of fraud, promised to teach students the secrets of Trump’s financial success. One particular course offered by Trump U presented a particularly blunt strategy for making money: target destitute, “completely disabled” homeowners headed into foreclosure and convince them to sell their homes at a discounted price. That is, exploit disabled people for profit.
That advice comes near the end of a nearly three-hour audio lesson—paired with a workbook—that was offered by Trump University in 2006, shortly before the housing market collapsed. It was a year after the opening of Trump University, which shut down in 2010 and has prompted lawsuits against Trump from former students who allege that the school was a scam that ripped them off.
The 2006 course, titled “Real Estate Goldmine: How to Get Rich Investing in Pre-Foreclosures,” begins with a monologue by Trump, who says, “We’re not peddling get-rich-quick schemes, no blue-sky promises or an easy road to riches.” But he pledges that his course will offer a “real estate gold mine.” Then Trump University’s Jon Ward interviews real estate investment adviser Gary Eldred about the best strategies for taking advantage of homeowners facing foreclosures. Throughout the course, Eldred provides a variety of tips on spotting homes that are in pre-foreclosure—for instance, look for an owner delinquent on payments because he could be foreclosed on imminently—and he offers strategies for persuading owners to sell their homes at a discount when they’re facing foreclosure. He repeatedly notes that a buyer should be kind when approaching pre-foreclosure owners about purchasing their properties, because these potential sellers are going through a stressful time.