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

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on November 1, 2016.

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.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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