Trump Univer­sity staff in­cluded drug traf­ficker, child molester

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON » Don­ald Trump says he hand-picked only the best to teach suc­cess at Trump Univer­sity. But dozens of those hired by the com­pany had check­ered pasts — in­clud­ing se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial prob­lems and even con­vic­tions for co­caine traf­fick­ing or child mo­lesta­tion, an As­so­ci­ated Press in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found.

The AP iden­ti­fied 107 peo­ple listed as speak­ers and staff on more than 21,000 pages of cus­tomer-sat­is­fac­tion sur­veys the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee has re­leased as part of his de­fense against three law­suits.

Trump and his at­tor­neys have said re­peat­edly that the sur­veys show the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of par­tic­i­pants were sat­is­fied. How­ever, the suits allege his name­sake real es­tate sem­i­nars were a mas­sive fraud de­signed to “up­sell” stu­dents into buy­ing course pack­ages cost­ing as much as $35,000.

As a can­di­date, Trump has said he will run the U.S. gov­ern­ment like he runs his busi­nesses. So his past hir­ing prac­tices could of­fer in­sight into how a Pres­i­dent Trump might fill scores of key fed­eral po­si­tions.

Some names from the sur­veys were too com­mon to nar­row down to in­di­vid­u­als, but AP was able to use on­line re­sumes, court fil­ings and other pub­lic records to piece to­gether de­tailed back­ground checks on 68 for­mer Trump staffers.

The re­sults could com­pli­cate Trump’s le­gal de­fense that his Trump Univer­sity “ap­pren­tices” got the topflight in­struc­tors and men­tors they paid for.

Half the 68 for­mer fac­ulty and staff iden­ti­fied by AP had per­sonal bank­rupt­cies, fore­clo­sures, credit card de­faults, tax liens or other in­di­ca­tors of sig­nif­i­cant money trou­bles prior to teach­ing Trump Univer­sity cour­ses pro­mot­ing “wealth build­ing” and “how to in­vest like a bil­lion­aire,” ac­cord­ing to AP’s re­view.

Many of those hired to teach did not have col­lege de­grees and were not li­censed to bro­ker real es­tate.

At least four had been con­victed of felonies.

They in­clude Ron P. Brous­sard Jr., who was hired to the Trump Univer­sity staff in 2007 after years serv­ing as a mo­ti­va­tional speaker at get­rich-quick sem­i­nars taught in ho­tel con­fer­ence rooms. Brous­sard is listed as “staff” or “co­or­di­na­tor” for at least five Trump cour­ses.

Records show the for­mer Army sergeant was con­victed at court-mar­tial in 1994 of sodomy and in­de­cent acts with a child. He served five years in the mil­i­tary prison at Leav­en­worth, Kansas.

Brous­sard, who now lives in Du­luth, Ge­or­gia, is a reg­is­tered sex of­fender. He told AP that his con­vic­tion in­volved the 8-year-old daugh­ter of a fel­low sol­dier.

“Those were trumped-up charges,” said Brous­sard, 48. “She said that I fon­dled her and was try­ing to have re­la­tions with her.”

In a 2005 video tar­geted at prospec­tive stu­dents, Trump said he per­son­ally vet­ted those hired to run his sem­i­nars.

“At Trump Univer­sity we teach suc­cess,” Trump said. “We are go­ing to have the best of the best . ... Th­ese are all peo­ple that are hand­picked by me.”

Trump Univer­sity ceased op­er­a­tions in 2010 amid mount­ing com­plaints from for­mer stu­dents and in­quiries from state reg­u­la­tors.

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