Home / The Apprentice Finalist Lee Bienstock Hired By Trump Organization

The Apprentice Finalist Lee Bienstock Hired By Trump Organization

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As my dad would always say, "Fair? You want fair? Life isn't fair!"

Lee Bienstock, the young and plucky New Yorker who came within a hair's-breadth of becoming The Apprentice last season, was recently hired to be the associate vice president for corporate development at Trump Mortgage.

Now, I like the kid. Through the highly edited lens of reality television we, at the least, saw a Lee who is bright, nervy, and loyal (perhaps to a fault) to his people. Throughout The Apprentice, he showed an uncanny ability to understand retail sales and often out-thought his older and more experienced competition. Donald Trump often referred to Lee as "the politician" in the boardroom because of his ability to slip out of the razor-edged noose of The Don's leading questions (note to all future Apprentice contestants: if Mr. Trump asks you a question that begins, "Don't you think…" while arching his eyebrows, you're already toast).

Bienstock also displayed an ethical and moral code not often seen in the shark-eat-rattlesnake world of The Apprentice. He was allowed to skip out of two tasks to observe the Jewish High Holy Days, acts that brought him both praise and scorn from his fellow contestants. More interesting and significant was the friendship he formed with Lenny, a Russian contestant who received generally low scores for both his ability and communication skills. Nonetheless, Lee displayed fierce loyalty toward his friend, even shocking many for bringing him back to help him out during the final competition. Lee eventually lost out to the silver-tongued British charmer Sean Yazbeck.

I bring all of this up to ask one simple question: is it fair that Lee lost to Sean but was then subsequently hired by the Trump organization anyway? Isn't the whole point of the show that one person gets a posh job at an exciting company with caviar dreams and supermodel globe-trotting and gaudy soup-slurping splendor with the chief executive haircap?

Season Four arguably had a much higher level of talent overall. In a thrilling finale, Randal Pinkett just bested Rebecca Jarvis for the title. Trump then took the unusual move of asking Randal if he should hire Rebecca as well, and the bright and ambitious young man — to his everlasting discredit — declined.

So Rebecca nearly had the co-title (if not for Randal's ego) in Season Four, and Lee was defeated cleanly in the final boardroom in Season Five. Then Randal and Sean, and lastly, Lee, were hired by Trump, and Rebecca continues on as a financial reporter.

Is that fair? I guess my pops was right.

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  • This isn’t the first time. Back in July, Andy Litinsky from Season 2 was hired to head a Trump entertainment production company.

  • This isn’t the first time. Back in July, Andy Litinsky from Season 2 was hired to head a Trump entertainment production company.

  • ClubStyle_DJ

    Meanwhile they FIRED Carolyn! WTF they said she was becoming a “Prima Donna”. Imagine that a rich powerful & beautiful blonde lady, becoming a Pre~”Madonna”. (pun intended) Unheard of!


  • My2Cents

    This just proves if Trump wants to hire someone, he’ll just do it. Do you think he asked Sean’s permission to hire Lee?

    Rebecca isn’t in the same league as the other three. They are businesspeople. She’s a reporter. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

  • Dynamo of Eternia

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Trump organization hiring Lee.

    There can only be one winner on the Apprentice (well, there was almost an exception in the Randal/Rebecca case, but other than that…), and there was only one winner.

    If they happen to hire another contestant after the show ends, well, then that’s just that.

    I don’t think they should never consider hiring these people if they are qualified to do the job. I don’t believe that there’s any rule that says anyone who is “fired” from the Apprentice (which, of course, is just them being eliminated from the show and completely different from being fired in a traditional sense) is automatically off limits of ever working for the Trump organization in the future under any circumstance.

    He was qualified, he go the job, good for him!

  • ClubStyle_DJ

    Not to stir up the season 4 crap again. But, Randall clearly defeated Rebecca also. Credentials not ego my friend.

  • Robin Kavanagh

    “Isn’t the whole point of the show that one person gets a posh job at an exciting company with caviar dreams and supermodel globe trotting and gaudy soup-slurping splendor with the chief executive haircap?”

    I hardly think he’s going to be doing any of that as an associate VP of a mortgage company, so all is fair Eric!

    That said, I think Trump gets the better end of the deal with the Apprentice, since he gets to know potential job candidates much better than his HR person would through an interview. And with good help being hard to find these days, why not take from the pool of castaways if you have a job opening that plays to their strengths?

  • Tall_Texan

    I’m not surprised. There’s a “Bienstock” who is executive producer of the show. While Lee claimed they were unrelated, I never bought that. There’s a lot of nepotism going on in this series, what with Trump’s kids sitting in judgement of people far more capable than they are.

    I also suspected they kept around that highly combustable and totally unqualified Chris from Las Vegas a couple of years ago because Trump had some real estate dealings with his father.

    Even if it teaches the wrong lessons, The Apprentice still teaches you business lessons in life, including that your DNA is just as important as your skills in climbing the corporate ladder.

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  • Janice

    Great article!

  • Robin, my question was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and of course you’re right! I really am still upset about what happened with Rebecca, which colors my attitude about everything that goes on in Trump-land.

    You bring up some intersting info/observations, Mr. Texan. I tend to think that Trump has a pretty good idea of who will be the top five or six players from the very outset. Therefore, he’s free to keep around “colorful” characters if he likes, give second chances, etc. I do think there’s some room for surprises and so forth, but probably less than we’re led to believe.

  • Polarbear

    If I was Trump, I would definitely hire Lee. Why would I let go of such talent and have my rival companies use it? I would actually have an informal interview with Andrea too and possibly hire her.