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

And Trump sent a lawyer to stop him.

Ivylise Simones

Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

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.

Read the rest of “The Trump Files”:


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

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


Support our journalism

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


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.