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Lawsuit Accuses Trump University of Falling Short
Real estate mogul Donald Trump created Trump University promising students they’d learn the “insider” secrets of real estate and become his “next apprentice.” But a few former students are saying Trump’s courses fell short and were filled with “infomercials” disguised as educational classes that took advantage of people in “troubled economic times,” according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Diego that alleges consumer fraud.
Trump, believed to be a 2012 GOP presidential candidate hopeful, is the chairman of Trump University but does not handle day-to-day operations. Trump University is a non-accredited program and does not offer degrees or college credits.
George Sorial, assistant general counsel for the Trump Organization, called the allegations “completely ridiculous” and says that Trump University stands “100 percent behind any course we offered….There wouldn’t even be a lawsuit if the Trump name weren’t attached to it.”
Former Trump University student Tarla Makaeff, 37, and one of the students who filed the lawsuit, says she was attracted to the program by ads starring Trump that said “76 percent of the world’s millionaires made their fortune in real estate. Now it’s your turn.”
She accuses the program of pressuring her to raise her credit card limits to spend $35,000 on a “Trump gold elite” course, which offered “hand-picked” mentors and “comprehensive” real estate education. She alleges the Trump University courses taught her techniques like doing “bandit” telephone pole signs advertising on low-priced homes for sale–signs she says are illegal where she lives in Orange County.
In 2010, Trump University was renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative. About 11,000 students in Canada and the United States have taken paid courses through the program.
Trump’s attorneys have said the lawsuit has “no merit” and has asked for it to be dismissed.
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