WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s eponymous business seminar program created a class to teach students how to cash in on U.S. mortgage foreclosures during the housing crisis.
Trump University promised in 2009 that its “Fast Track to Foreclosure Investing” would teach students how to take advantage of the crisis, according to university documents unsealed last week in a lawsuit against the now-defunct program.
The release will likely stoke criticism from the campaign of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, who last week accused her likely rival in the Nov. 8 presidential election of having cheered on the 2008 housing crash as an investment opportunity.
A spokeswoman for Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, although Trump reacted to Clinton’s criticism last week, saying: “What am I going to do? I’m in business.”
A Trump University advertisement released in the case said one of its free investor workshops would explain how to “Cash in on one of the greatest property liquidations in history!”
Trump University instructors were to teach students how to “capitalize without harm” and find ways for “sellers to move on without shame,” according to a December 2008 summary of the seminar.
An earlier 2007 memo to enrollment counselors stated that about 1.5 million U.S. homeowners would face foreclosure that year and laid out how they should advise students to seize the “tremendous opportunity” to purchase properties at “major discounts” in “hot markets” such as Arizona, Florida and Texas.
The roughly 400 pages of documents included “playbooks” on how to recruit students, directions for how instructors should deal with the media and other details about Trump’s seminar program. They were unsealed on Friday by U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump called “hostile” and “a hater,” adding he believed the judge was Mexican.
New York’s attorney general slammed Trump on Tuesday for his comment on the judge’s ethnicity. Curiel is an American who was born in East Chicago, Indiana, and graduated from the Indiana University School of Law.
Clinton’s attack on Trump last week was prompted by recently released audio that Trump recorded in 2006 for Trump University. In remarks on a possible “bubble burst,” Trump said in the recording: “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy” to “make a lot of money.”
Reporting by Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Peter Cooney
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