Stephen Gilpin, former Trump University professor and author of “Trump U: The Inside Story of Trump University,” explains what it was like to work at the for-profit real estate training program before it went defunct amidst class action lawsuits and allegations of fraud. Following is a transcript of the video.
Donald Trump: At Trump University we teach success. That’s what it’s all about. Success. It’s going to happen to you.
Stephen Gilpin: This wasn’t your average college student. Even though there was some of them that were young enough. These are middle-aged students. These are the single housewives where their husband had passed away.
These are the people that wanted to make a difference in their life through real estate and you know Donald Trump’s ads and videos on YouTube and everything its, “You too can be rich in real estate.” “You can be a millionaire.” And you know what a person? Everybody believed it.
These people were taking their life savings or some cases their life savings or taking their retirements and some of them were even maxing out their credit cards to pay $35,000 to get that coaching, the infill, some retreats. You heard of Donald Trump and you thought real estate empire, self-made man.
And then I came up from Florida and the interviewing process realized that in the beginning a lot of people asked me questions about real estate transactions, real estate deals, state laws, real estate contract laws. It was pretty much easy to answer but I felt like from my get-go I was teaching and educating the people that actually worked there.
I was delusional at the time because I thought to myself what kind of business does this Trump U is and what kind of business is it and especially when it seems like no one inside that’s interviewing me really knows real estate. They picked me to actually work as their inside house coach mentor and at that point in time it wasn’t totally honest what was going on.
In the beginning I admired Trump. In the beginning I actually looked forward to working for him. I loved working with the students. I loved to be in the advisor position. It wasn’t until I started noticing things where they started attending these live events because I would get phone calls from students saying well I was taught this at this live event in New York City or in Texas or in Florida. And at that point in time I was like well you can’t do that. That’s illegal in your state.
So, then I went to Michael Sexton and the owners and the people that were in charge and I said to them I said somebody needs to go and audit these live events because I think something’s being taught not kosher or illegal. So I was the guy who had to be attending those live events and they took that and they used it to do more upsells and sells and all and I was the inside guy coming back thinking to myself these people don’t really know real estate.
They’re sharks in the water and they’re just high pressured sales people. So I was credentialed and I had to prove it. Why didn’t they have to prove it? And here we found out later through the subpoenas and through the whole entire court process that I went through is that they weren’t. And that they were lying and through the students calling me in and telling me through the hotlines. That’s when we realized that uh oh. This is not gonna go far and it’s gonna go downhill.