Over the past two to three years, we’ve heard a lot about Donald Trump’s various business forays that extended beyond his real estate domain. Among the enterprises: Trump steaks (tough like the boss with fat around the edges), Trump wine (not prized on the grapevine), Trump Shuttle (barely took off before it was financially grounded), Trump University ($25 million in court-ordered refunds).
But there’s one venture that hasn’t gotten much publicity. Trump took part in a video-phone business for a few years before it collapsed. We know about this one because in 2008 we were invited to a party in which about 40 people attended. We were provided with food and a business pitch. You could get in on the ground floor and then talk others into getting involved and they would work for you. In other words, a typical pyramid scheme.
The evening included a video presentation by Trump. I remember it was the first time I’d ever heard Trump give any kind of business pitch, and I was shocked by how much he sounded like a crass carnie barker.
The person who invited us is a long-time friend and she knew we probably wouldn’t be interested, but she was trying to impress her mentor by getting lots of people to show up at her condo for the presentation. The idea was that extended families and friends would all buy the machine and you could see the person you’re conversing with. Sound familiar?
If it was 1985, it might’ve been an interesting venture. But by 2008, Skype had been around for five years and was free. Why, we wondered, would anyone buy into this business much less the machine itself. Maybe the answer to that question is that Trump was promoting it. After all, as we know, about a third of the country is buying into the current scam that he’s running out of the White House.
Here are the first couple of paragraphs of an article about Trump’s involvement in the video-phone con that appeared on a web site called PyramidSchemeAlert.org. on August 10, 2011. It was headlined: Hyped by Donald Trump, ACN Video phone Business may be Collapsing.
“Donald Trump tells Americans that it is a technology breakthrough, a wave of the future; everybody will own one; better get in now! He is personally endorsing and hyping the “revolutionary IRIS V Video Phone”, the flagship product and the new icon of the multi-level marketing company, ACN, for which Donald Trump serves as pitchman-in-chief. He trumpets the video phone on Celebrity Apprentice. ACN, for its part, promotes Donald Trump all over its website and at all its recruitment meetings. “If Donald Trump says this phone is a hot new item, who can doubt it?” is the message ACN sends to hundreds of thousands of consumers.
“But the latest disclosures to the SEC by the video phone’s manufacturer, WorldGate Communications, indicate the market for this device has collapsed. Demand for this product – if it ever existed in the real marketplace – is vanishing. The top management of the company has resigned. Orders from ACN have been drastically cut back. The value of the stock of the phone manufacturer has been virtually wiped out. The company reported to the SEC that it may seek bankruptcy protection very soon.”
Maybe it’s an overstatement to say that everything and everyone who come into contact with Donald Trump eventually ends up in a bad place. But, hey, there’s a lot of evidence to support that contention, and unfortunately for all of us, we are likely to see much more in the new year.
And that certainly is true. He has shutdown a sizable portion of the government going on three weeks, soon to be the longest ever shutdown. Everything he touches…
A wall synchro, you gotta love this one unearthed by the Daily Show
Trump in a 2004 speech to students: “Never, ever give up. Don’t give up. Don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it. Go over it. Go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.”
See it here: