Emails obtained by BuzzFeed News show how the Small Business Administration quickly moved to remove free Trump University courses offered through their website after the state of New York announced it was suing the institute for defrauding its customers.
The courses "How to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget," "How to Find Start-up Funding," and "How to Write a Business Plan," appeared prominently on the Small Business Administration site as part of partnership between the federal agency and Trump University announced in July of 2007.
A press release for the partnership read, "The U.S. Small Business Administration and Trump University have teamed together to develop a new free online training course on How to Start a Business on a Shoestring Budget, designed to help entrepreneurs understand how to take their small business ideas to market despite limited outside resources."
Six years later, in August of 2013, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing them of defrauding customers out of $40 million. Emails show that days later, SBA officials moved to remove the courses from their site.
"When you have a moment, please check to see that the trump course (?) is not on our site. If it is, let me know, and I'll work to get it removed," wrote Jerry Fernandez, an instructional designer at the SBA, in an email to colleagues on August 28.
"In the category of 'don't fall for partnerships too quickly' NYS is now suing Trump Univ for their bogus educational courses (infomercials packaged as education). The former Trump U e-course should now be off our site," Jack Bienko, who is now director for entrepreneurship education at the SBA, wrote back.
"In fact there is no longer a Trump University. Let's remove soonest!!," responded Ellen Thrasher, director of entrepreneurial development.
"We'd hate to upset the Donald! :)," responded Bienko.
An SBA spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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Nathan McDermott is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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