Is Trump Model Management Still In Business? The Donald's Venture Is Among The Few That Haven't Folded
The potential next president of the United States has a modeling agency, and that doesn't necessarily have a ring to it. GOP front-runner and billionaire Donald Trump calls himself the best dealmaker on the GOP debate stage, but his business history is far from impeccable. His brand name model agency called Trump Model Management is still in business — unlike some of his other ventures — but one woman involved in it has voiced some concerning complaints. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that a judge will decide whether to pursue a lawsuit filed by Jamaican model Alexia Palmer against the agency by the end of March. If Palmer's lawsuit goes through, Trump will face an entirely new controversy. (Trump has denied that her claims have any basis.)
According to Palmer's claim, Trump allegedly wrote that Palmer would be paid $75,000 in her work visa application to the federal government. Instead, Palmer claimed she had only been paid $3,880.75 in total after working under contract for the firm for three years. If her claims are true, which Trump denies, Trump could be charged with "fraudulent misrepresentation" and violations of immigration and labor laws. The potential charges would affect his business reputation, views on his treatment of women, and the integrity of his stance on foreign labor.
Trump responded to the allegations by claiming Palmer only worked for the agency for a total of 10 days. Meanwhile, the model maintained that she was only assigned a limited number of shoots over the period of her three-year contract. According to Palmer, the modeling agency allegedly opted out of paying her 80 percent of her actual earnings and put them towards unspecified expenses and fees instead. Lawrence Rosen, lawyer for Trump Model Management chalked her career up as simply unsuccessful:
At the end of the day, this model just didn’t have a successful career, and we fully expect to win.
In an interview with ABC News, Palmer said Trump Model Management treated her like a "slave." The model was granted stay in the United States via an H-1B work visa under which she was only allowed to work for Trump Model Management. "That’s what slavery people do ... You work and don’t get no money," she said.
This isn't the first time Trump's reputation has come under fire because of his employment of foreign workers. During the March 10 GOP debate in Florida, Trump advocated for completely ending the H-1B work visa program, admitting that he's used it before:
I know the H1-B very well. We shouldn’t have it, it’s very, very bad for workers ... It’s unfair to our [American] workers and we should end it.
Aside from the most recent lawsuit, Trump's model agency, which was founded in 1999, is still going strong. In fact, Model Scouts lists it as one of the top 17 modeling agencies in New York City. Its Twitter account is regularly updated and his models are featured on the covers of well-known magazines. Melania Trump, his current wife, was once under the agency's contract, as well.