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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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?

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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