A New York appeals court has determined that a lawsuit introduced by the state attorney general which argues that Donald Trump’s now-defunct for-profit Trump University defrauded its students will be allowed to proceed.
The lawsuit was filed 2013 by attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman, charging that Trump University, which later became the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, misrepresented itself, causing students to lose thousands of dollars each and $40 million as a whole.
The decision against dismissing the case came from a panel of justices from the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division in Manhattan. According to the justices, Schneiderman does hold the necessary power to continue with the case and the claim made by Trump’s lawyers that the statute of limitations for the claim had come to an end was not true.
Schneiderman referred to the decision as a “clear victory in our effort to hold Donald Trump and Trump University accountable for defrauding thousands of students.”
“We look forward to demonstrating in a court of law that Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded more than 5,000 consumers out of millions of dollars,” Mr. Schneiderman added.
Meanwhile, one of Trump’s lawyers, Jeffrey L. Goldman, called the decision “intellectually dishonest.” Goldman discussed other cases handled by the court, saying that the case in question should have a statute of limitations lasting no longer than three years. In this case, he said the statute was allowed to extend to six years.
Despite mounting criticism against the school, which the lawsuit says does not have the credentials to call itself a university in New York, Trump continues to defend not only the program but also himself. A website was recently launched portraying positive reviews from past students, including some who are now critics. The name of the site, 98percentapproval.com, was created according to the percentage of students of the program who had rated themselves as “extremely satisfied” based on 11,000 evaluations.
Just last week, the conservative nonprofit American Future Fund said that it would be looking into the creation of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign that would highlight students of the program who said they had been cheated, writes Rick Rojas for The New York Times.
In a statement made this week, Donald Trump called the lawsuit frivolous and Schneiderman a “typical politician” who was wasting taxpayer’s money by “trying to smear” him. He went on to say that most of the students at the school had a positive experience and he has not settled the civil case based on principle.
The lawsuit claims the program contained a series of seminars that were held in hotels across the country. Advertising for the seminars called them an opportunity to learn how to invest in real estate by instructors Trump had “handpicked.”
Prospective students were offered a free seminar that the lawsuit said was, in reality, “a sales pitch for a three-day seminar costing $1,495.” Those who attended the seminars were then subjected to another sales pitch to purchase Trump Elite mentorship packages, the cost of which went all the way up to $35,000.
The lawsuit states that Trump had little involvement in the creation of the curriculum or choosing instructors for the seminars. It also charges that while advertising promised a personal appearance by Trump, students instead had their photos taken with a life-size cutout.