Donald Trump speaks long and loud about his professed love for our veterans – but the conduct of the administrators of his Ponzi scheme masquerading as a real estate education course proves otherwise. Senior Master Sgt. Richard Wright of the 451st Expeditionary Group was fired immediately by the scam university upon his return from deployment from Afghanistan in 2007.
When Wright returned, all of the students he’d been assigned to mentor had been re-assigned, violating federal workplace protections which require that employers give active servicemen their jobs back in the same fashion from whence they left, and the burden for proving that is placed upon the employer. Trump’s administrator – now deceased – Jay M. Shavin told Wright the following:
You have been here less than three months (deducting your time off for the Air Force Reserve). I find it insulting that you would make a request to be paid for time you did not work and/or personal time you did not earn.
You are still on probation. With all of your absences and inability to adhere to specific instructions, you force me to reevaluate your position with the Trump Institute.
The airman won three awards for his service in Kandahar that year, a dangerous front-line assignment he handled with ease, but which cost Wright his job. Wright also sued and later settled with Trump University with terms undisclosed.
Unsurprisingly, Wright was not the only veteran to incur the ire of Trump University administrators. Veteran Corinne Sommers, formerly of the 415th Civic Affairs Battalion, won a court settlement from Donald Trump for wrongful firing in connection with her reserve testimony.
Southern California’s federal court is putting the Republican standard bearer Donald Trump on trial in November, for two class action lawsuits which have been merged into a single Trump University mega-trial. The civil case accused Trump of federal racketeering charges and complaints under consumer protection laws in the states of New York, California and Florida. Sommer, worked in New York as an event-planner for the former Trump University.
Corinne Sommer is an Iraqi war veteran, who in her early 20s deployed to Tikrit. She told harrowing tales of her time in Iraq, during the height of the Sunni insurgency: “Imagine driving to work everyday and having to worry about getting shot, IED’d (improvised explosive device) or RPG’d (rocket-propelled grenade). Imagine going to sleep listening to explosions going off around you.”
But she never thought she’d pursue her dream of moving to New York City only to run into a spoiled trust fund brat out to steal from the poor in order to keep himself rich. Sommer was still an active member of the armed forces reserves in 2007, spending two weekdays a month with her reserve unit, reserving weekends to working at Trump University.
Sommer later sued for wrongful termination under the federal labor law called USERRA, which explicitly prohibits employers from harassing veterans over their official duties or status with the armed services. She won a confidential settlement from Trump University. According to the complaint, Donald Trump’s education had racket fired her for being a member of the military reserves, and the combat veteran as a “weekend warrior” in evidence submitted with the complaint.
Donald Trump clumsily wields our veterans as a political prop – to their disgust. When it comes down to it, he’s not afraid to bully veterans, squeeze them out of work and force them to fight in court for their rights. There’s no way any veteran should condone the Republican nominee for President, and absolutely no reason to vote a monster who shamelessly hurts veterans in word and deed to become America’s commander-in-chief.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.