The Trump Files: When a Sleazy Hot-Tub Salesman Tried to Take Donald Trump’s Name

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on November 1, 2016.

In 2000, a spa salesman in Medford, Oregon, decided to change his name to Donald Trump Jr., in honor of his hero, Donald Trump.

Trump loves flattery, but he hates it when other people try to take his name. After the Oregon man, Chad Michael Milligan, filed a name-change petition in court, Trump dispatched a “slick city lawyer,” as the New York Post put it, to stop him.

Milligan told a local paper that he had based his whole life on Trump. The Post compared Trump and his admirer, noting that there weren’t many similarities between the two men, other than the fact that they both had two ex-wives and shared the same favorite book, Trump’s The Art of the Deal. But Trump’s lawyer claimed that Milligan was trying to use the Trump name to cozy up to creditors by tricking them into thinking he was related to the New York billionaire.

Milligan, it turns out, was a shady character. He was a convicted petty thief. He had 34 lawsuits pending against him, making him one of the most sued men in Medford. The Post reported that the suits covered “everything from unpaid child support to delinquent bills to complaints about the service at his hot-tub business.” He owed $4,700 in taxes to the state of Oregon. Those who had crossed paths with Milligan told the Post that he was “a sleazy character” with a “superiority complex” and “as crooked as the Snake River.”

Like Trump, Milligan didn’t back down when confronted with a legal fight over the name change. “We’ll see how many millions Trump wants to spend on this,” he said.

A slew of lawsuits, tax avoidance, complaints about his business, a big ego, and an appetite for legal battles: Perhaps Milligan and Trump had a few things in common after all.

 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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