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Trump Magazine Survivor Describes Bounced Paychecks, ‘Living in an Onion Article’

Carey Purcell battled cancer and worried about benefits at magazine named for Trump

A former receptionist for the now-defunct Trump Magazine says she felt like she was living in a satire when her checks began to bounce.

“It felt like I was living in an Onion article: ‘Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Can’t Pay Its Own Employees’,” Carey Purcell said in an essay for Politico.

She took the job 10 years ago while trying to break into journalism, she said.

“The first time it happened, it seemed like an accident, or maybe an oversight,” she said of the bounced checks. “The office accountant quickly issued a new payment and covered the fee for the check bouncing. But then it happened again. And this time, the company didn’t reissue a check. Instead, I was handed a brown paper bag filled with hundred-dollar bills to cover for the company’s lack of payroll funds.”

Trump didn’t publish the magazine, but licensed his name to Premiere Publishing Group, a company owned by a magazine vet named Michael Jacobson.

“In the six months I worked there, I never met or spoke with Donald himself, and he never came to the office,” Purcell wrote.

Five months into her employment, Purcell said, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“I immediately met with Trump magazine’s human resources manager. Her advice? Get the treatments over with as quickly as I could, because she couldn’t promise medical coverage lasting beyond the next eight weeks,” Purcell said.

She said the office soon devolved into “full-blown dysfunction.”

“The phones were now ringing off the hook with concerned stockholders demanding to know about their shares in the company,” Purcell recounted.Then came the creditors. Premiere Publishing, it became clear, owed money all over town. At least once, the electricity was cut off; with no lights to work by, we sat in a circle on the floor like a group therapy session.”

According to Purcell, in September 2007, the company was forced into bankruptcy. “In an effort to keep up the illusion that I worked for a functioning company, I gave Trump magazine two weeks’ notice, only to be informed that my employment had been immediately terminated,” she said.

That meant she lost her insurance, she said.

“When Trump talks about using bankruptcy law as a business tool… he doesn’t talk about the people that bankruptcy can leave behind,” Purcell said.

“As a candidate, Trump has built his campaign on his success as a businessman, boasting about his successful deals, the jobs he claims he has created and his personal wealth,” Purcell said. “But in the case of Trump magazine, he licensed his name to an inept and irresponsible businessman who broke promises, put its staff out on the street, and left a cancer patient without health care. Almost 10 years have passed since this took place. It has left me hoping that come Nov. 8, Donald Trump will add another item to his long list of failures.”

A spokesperson for Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.