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

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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?

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate