April 30, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Diego, April 30, 2010 – Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP on April 30, 2010, filed a nationwide class-action lawsuit against Trump University, on behalf of consumers who purchased Trump University real estate investing seminars.
Trump University markets itself as a University driven by the mission to “train, educate and mentor entrepreneurs on achieving financial independence through real estate investing.” It is anything but. Indeed, in January 2010, the Better Business Bureau gave Trump University a D-minus rating, and the New York Department of Education recently demanded that Trump University remove “University” from its title, insisting that the “use of the word ‘university’ by your corporation is misleading and violates New York Education Law and the Rules of the Board of Regents.”
The class-action lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleges that Trump University made materially misleading misstatements in its advertising and in its real estate seminars, in violation of federal and state law. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff and class members who attended Trump University’s real estate investing classes were promised a “complete real estate education,” a “one-year apprenticeship,” a one-on-one mentorship, practical and fail-safe real estate techniques, a “power team” consisting of real estate agents, lenders, personal finance managers, property managers and contractors, and were assured that although the seminars cost as much as $35,000, they would make the money back in their first real estate deal, and could make up to tens of thousands of dollars per month or more. Plaintiff and class members did not receive what they bargained for.
The Complaint alleges that instead of receiving a “complete real estate education,” each seminar was merely an “infomercial” to up-sell the student to purchase an additional Trump Seminar. The “one-year apprenticeship” consumers were promised was actually just a 3-day seminar; the one-on-one year-long mentorship consisted of a 2-1/2 day excursion to view properties, and “mentors” recommended real estate deals in which they stood to financially benefit, and then quickly disappeared and failed to return calls.
“One of the most disturbing practices Trump University engaged in during these seminars was to tell students to raise their credit card limit ‘4 times’ during the break, presumably to make real estate purchases,” said Plaintiff’s attorney, Amber Eck of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP. “In fact, after students had raised their credit card limits, Trump University representatives told the students to use their newly increased credit limit — not to purchase real estate – but to purchase the next Trump “Gold” seminar – for $35,000.”
“It’s really disappointing in this economy to see the lengths that Trump will go to play on the fears of seniors – cajoling, ‘How many of you lost a lot of your 401k investment in the market? How many of you are retired? How many of you want to leave a legacy or property to your kids?” said Helen Zeldes of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP. “Praying on people’s fears to sell them empty promises is not just wrong, it’s illegal.”
- May 25, 2011 – CNN, “Is Trump University a Scam?“
- May 7, 2011 – Forbes, “Trump University’s Unhappy Students.”
- May 6, 2011 – The Huffington Post, “Trump’s ‘University’ Accused of Scamming Customers.”
- May 5, 2011 – San Francisco Chronicle, “Trump’s Real Estate Courses Didn’t Deliver, Lawsuit Says.”
- April 26, 2011 – The Trump University lawsuit was featured on NPR’s “These Days” with Alison St. John and KPBS Legal Analyst Dan Eaton.
- April 19, 2011 – NBC Nightly News airs a story on Donald Trump, mentioning Trump University.
- On October 12, 2010, the Southern District of California issued an Order upholding our first amended class action complaint against Trump University as to nearly all claims, including claims for breach of contract, false advertising, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (finding Plaintiffs stated a claim that Trump University’s conduct was unlawful, unfair and… fraudulent) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), with leave to amend as to the other claims. A Second Amended Complaint was filed on December 16, 2010.