“I can turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you.” -Donald Trump
With these words, Donald Trump lured consumers to Trump University, believing that they could become successful real estate investors. Between 2005 and 2010, Trump University operated as a real estate investment training program that charged students between $1,500 for a three day course to $35,000 for an “Elite” experience. In advertisements, Trump University promised that students would learn from Donald Trump’s “handpicked experts”, who Trump himself described in videos as “terrific people, terrific brains, successful, the best.”
For many students who attended Trump University, these promises went unfulfilled. As a result, two class action lawsuits were filed in California Federal Court and one lawsuit was filed by the Attorney General of New York, on behalf of thousand of students. Low v. Trump University, LLC, filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern California, was a class action suit that alleged that the university engaged in deceptive practices and made misrepresentations in its advertising in violation of consumer protections laws in numerous states, including California. In Cohen v. Trump, students across the country alleged that Trump University was essentially a “fraudulent scheme” to sell real estate seminars and that its’ name was misleading in itself as Donald Trump “delivered neither Donald Trump nor a University.”
In New York v. Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC, the state of New York sought $40 million in damages against Trump University, alleging that its business practices violated the law, that it made false claims, and that it engaged in heavy-handed sales tactics. In introducing the suit, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that “Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got.”
Inevitably, the filing of these lawsuits were met with years of contentious litigation and Twitter attacks. However, following the November elections, and shortly before one of the San Diego cases was set for jury trial, Trump University settled the claims in all three cases for $25 million. This included $4 million toward the New York case and $21 million for the California cases. In all, it is estimated 7,000 Trump University students will receive some form of restitution from partial to full refunds of the money they spent.
Were you lured by false promises of a better job and higher pay by a for-profit college? Have you been trapped with a high student loan and little to show for it after getting your degree? Attorneys Ari Moss and Jeremy Bollinger at Moss Bollinger can help you determine if you have a claim. Our practice is focused on protecting the rights of consumers and employees who have been harmed by big businesses. Call us today at (866) 535-2994 for a free consultation or contact us online.