Here’s Yet Another Penny-Ante Shill From Donald Trump

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The list of Donald Trump’s penny-ante shills seems endless. Trump steaks, Trump mortgages, Trump university, Trump vodka, Trump travel, etc. All of them were going to be the biggest thing ever, and all of them were basically either failures or scams. But it turns out there’s another Trump failure that no one seems to have heard about until now. Here’s Ian Tuttle with the details:

In November 2009, Trump, boasting a Midas-gold tie, took the stage in front of several thousand fans at Miami’s Hyatt Regency to debut his latest venture: The Trump Network™, a multi-level marketing operation focused on nutritional supplements.

A pyramid scheme based on nutritional supplements? That has Donald Trump written all over it! Please continue:

In early 2009, Trump purchased Ideal Health, Inc., founded in 1997 outside Boston by Lou DeCaprio and brothers Todd and Scott Stanwood, who became Trump Network executives….The centerpiece of the program [was] the PrivaTest….Customers would purchase the PrivaTest kit, collect a urine sample, and ship the sample to a lab, which would analyze it and develop a “Custom Essentials” kit of nutritional supplements “calibrated . . . to reflect your unique nutrient needs.”

….The PrivaTest and a month’s supply of Custom Essentials cost $139.95, an additional month’s supply cost $69.95, and to keep one’s “unsurpassed individual nutritional support” up to date, the Trump Network recommended repeating the PrivaTest every nine months — at a price of $99.95, plus shipping and handling.

….Network marketing has had its successes: Avon and Mary Kay, for example….Trump and his devotees maintain that, because there was an actual product involved, the Trump Network was no scam, and in early 2011, Trump told New York Magazine that he expected the Trump Network to become larger than Amway, then an $8.4 billion operation. Unsurprisingly, that never happened. “The Trump Network had gotten in trouble financially,” Bonnie Futrell, a former Network marketer, told Stat News. “They weren’t being able to pay [the lab]. They weren’t paying vendors. They weren’t paying us.” In early 2012, just over two years after it started, the Trump Network was sold to network-marketing company Bioceutica.

I assume no one is surprised to hear this, so there’s not much point in dreaming up snarky comments about it. It’s pure Trump.

But here’s what I don’t get: how is it that we’re hearing about this for the first time? It only happened seven years ago. It was announced with all the usual Trump fanfare. But it seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. How many more of these things are out there just waiting to be discovered?

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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