The New York Times dropped another report on President Donald Trump’s tax returns on Monday night that not only exposed the extent to which Trump used his fame from “The Apprentice” to cultivate an image of a cunning businessman despite repeated financial failures, but also to boost shady multi-level marketing companies, including one allegedly involved in a pyramid scheme-like practices.
According to the Times, Trump signed a deal with ACN, a firm through which customers were supposedly given the opportunity to sell video phones and other tech services from their homes. Similar other multi-level marketing companies, ACN has been accused of scamming its clients, who earn a fraction of what they had bought from the company, which has settled in court over its business practices.
However, Trump promoted ACN through event appearances and mentions of the company’s products on “The Apprentice” for some 10 years and raked in $8.8 million as the country was grappling with the Great Recession of the late ’00s, according to the Times.
ANC paid him $1 million in 2009, the same year Trump began a new venture in yet another multi-level marketing firm that was rebranded as “the Trump Network,” which marketed vitamins. Before the company went bankrupt, Trump reportedly made $2.6 million as he told potential clients that the Trump Network “wants to give millions of people renewed hope, and with an exciting plan to opt out of the recession” and convinced them to spend hundreds of dollars on starter kits to get their friends and family looped in.
White House spokesman Judd Deere slammed the Times’ report as “fake news” as a whole in a statement to the Times, reportedly without refuting any specifics in the story.