Before conman Donald Trump sold America on him becoming president, he was conning working-class people who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with him, and lost all their money. And his three oldest children were helping him do it. At least that is what a lawsuit filed last fall charged.
Yesterday lawyers for Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and the Trump Organization filed a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The original lawsuit sought unspecified money damages for “fraud and racketeering violations.” It alleged that Donald Trump and his three eldest children spent more than a decade operating their large fraudulent enterprise that was designed to cheat needy middle-class people out of their life savings. These average Americans were conned by Trump and his children into investing with him for their education or to start a business.
The lawsuit claimed that the Trump family’s “racketeering enterprise” preyed upon thousands of vulnerable people to get them to invest in “get-rich-quick schemes.” The plaintiffs were identified only as Jane Doe, Luke Loe, Richard Roe, and Mary Moe.
The original complaint also alleged that Trump, et al. “conned each of these victims into giving up hundreds or thousands of dollars” while they were down and out to invest in telecoms marketing company American Communications Network (ACN) and become Independent Business Owners (IBOs).
Trump attorneys predictably responded to the plaintiffs’ allegations by trying to get the case tossed out. They said that the plaintiffs were politically motivated, writing:
“Plaintiffs’ lawsuit is funded by the Tesseract Research Center, whose president describes herself as ‘[a] long-time progressive strategist’ and who also runs the Tesseract Group, ‘a boutique consulting firm’ specialized in ‘developing, promoting and implementing progressive public policy.”
“Plaintiffs’ counsel includes the author of To End a Presidency – The Power of Impeachment (Perseus Books 2018), who also publishes a website that broadcasts Versus Trump, a weekly program “about how the Trump administration is breaking the law and what people are doing about it.”
His attorneys said that “For nine years, Mr. Trump served as a paid spokesperson and motivational speaker for ACN, appearing publicly at events across the United States.”
It was alleged that the Trump family received “secret payments” to promote opportunities that weren’t real, and that the plaintiffs experienced the consequences firsthand. The defendants were accused of “knowingly” making “false and misleading statements” about these opportunities.
The way it worked, the plaintiffs claim, is that Trump used his name (perceived brand success) and the promise of similar success to endorse opportunities with ACN, convincing plaintiffs to invest “$499 to sign up to sell [ACN] products, like a videophone and other services, with the promise of additional profits if they recruited others to join.”
Trump, et al. never revealed that he was being paid millions to endorse ACN. Plaintiff Jane Doe, for example, spent thousands to participate in ACN and learn entrepreneurial secrets, only to earn just $38 in income.
In total, plaintiffs alleged eight counts against Trump: negligent misrepresentation, fraud, unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of Pennsylvania law, unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of Maryland law, unfair competition in violation of California law, dissemination of untrue or misleading public statements in violation of California law, conspiracy to conduct the affairs of a racketeering enterprise, and racketeering.
Trump’s lawyers say that if racketeering claims are dismissed “federal jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ state claims will be lacking, because no Plaintiff satisfies the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction, and because Plaintiffs cannot demonstrate class-wide damages of $5,000,000 or more, as required under the Class Action Fairness Act.”
It is important that Americans are told more about Donald Trump’s history as a conman who made money for years by committing fraud. Also, that he included his three oldest children in his criminal activities.
Soon we may be having impeachment hearings in the House. And soon we will see Bob Mueller’s report about Trump’s crimes. We may also see more indictments from Mueller, which involve Trump and his children.
When these things happen all Americans need to know the character of Donald Trump. We need to keep in mind the kind of criminal personality we are dealing with. There is no reason to feel any sympathy for him. What needs to happen is that Donald Trump and his children all need to finally be held accountable and suffer the consequences for all of their misdeeds.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.