The Trump Organization announced the phasing out of this company in 2017 following Trump’s inauguration as U.S. President. Founded and owned by Trump in 1999, the laundry list of legal suits and allegations against the company by the models may have had something to do with the abrupt shuttering of the agency.
In 2016, a California Senator called for an investigation into the company’s hiring practices. Behind the scene boycotts of the company by models who questioned the ethics of politician Trump also complicated the relationship. On the upside, Trump Model’s greatest contribution was its division of Legend models in 2012 which revived interest in models over 40.
This business barely lasted a year before going bad. Advertised as “the best of the best,” and called, the “world’s greatest steaks” by Trump, the meat, distributed by Sysco, the fast-food supplier behemoth, and sold only through the trendy luxury The Sharper Image catalog and website, the overpriced steaks did not sell.
Even after contestants on Trump’s reality TV show, The Apprentice gushed over the best steaks in the world, they “... .literally sold almost no steaks,” according to The Sharper Image CEO Jerry Levin. The business venture was announced in 2007, The Sharper Image discontinued the product after only two months. A total flop.
Trump’s television Los Angeles based production company was launched in 2004 with The Apprentice, a TV program filmed inside the Trump Tower a few floors down from his uber-luxurious penthouse mansion in order that his appearances would be more convenient. In 2008 the company produced Celebrity Apprentice. And, until 2015, the media company televised the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
It also produces television shows, The Ultimate Merger and Pageant Place. Many viewers are unaware of the Trump association with some of its programs. The company had a value of $15 million in 2015.
Trump demonstrated his dearth of integrity and his categorical disregard for ethics in 2004 when he plowed through the New York State Education Department’s (NYSDE) admonition that opening Trump University was in violation of state law. Unauthorized, unaccredited, operating without a license, Trump went forth with his latest niche business enterprise—ripping off the most vulnerable amongst us, students, in other words, folks just trying to make it in this world.
Initially partnering with Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny, who approached him to sell asset management courses, Trump overtook the operation taking a 93 percent ownership. With a sales strategy akin to timeshare sales, interested folks showed up to receive the free spiel, hoping to learn more about the Trump-brand school, but instead got bombarded with a hard sell for their 3-day Trump University workshop that was a $1,495 scam. The lawsuits started there. Two class action and a third individual lawsuit were filed in New York State court for illegal business practices against Trump with reasons ranging from racketeering to false claims. When the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education, Joseph Frey, sent a letter to Trump in 2010 reiterating NYSDE’s admonition that the use of his use of the word “university” is in violation of New York Education Law. Trump responded a few months later by renaming Trump University. Henceforth it was called The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. The State of New York responded two months later with a $40 million civil suit against Trump’s school. In October of 2014, a New York judge found Trump guilty and personally liable for operating without a license. Trump uncharacteristically settled three of the lawsuits just after his election in the fall of 2016 for $25 million.
It took Trump about four years to run this company into the ground, no pun intended. In 1988, Trump purchased the Eastern Air Lines Shuttle, a shuttle service offering hourly flights between N.Y.C., D.C., and Boston since 1961, for $365 million. It never turned a profit. High debt, spikes in fuel prices and failing to impress existing customers landed The Trump Shuttle into airline company oblivion as Trump was forced to default on his loans. In 1992, Trump Airlines ceased to exist, and the company was turned over to creditors.
The shuttle service originally serviced passengers with a no-hassle, no-frills, inexpensive commute without seat assignments, reservation, check-ins or boarding passes; a simple, convenient way to hop around the East Coast. When Trump purchased the company’s fleet, he gutted them, obviously installing chrome seat belts, maple-veneered flooring, and, standard, gold-plated bathroom fixtures. His additional VIP touches weren’t worth it to many customers, a stream of paying passengers began to abandon ship. Sales dropped, prices rose.