The country is in the midst of what many contend is the most unexpected and uproarious Republican presidential nomination showdown in U.S. history. The man at the center of all the controversy and fanfare is none other than television reality star and New York City real estate mogul Donald Trump. While Trump's presidential aspirations were initially laughed off by the majority of politicians and pundits, now the clear front-runner in the Republican presidential nominee race, it appears as though Trump may have the last laugh.
In what many are calling a last-ditch attempt to block Trump's win as the nation's chosen conservative presidential candidate, his opponents have focused on the now defunct online university which bears his name and is the subject of two class-action lawsuits.
According to court documents, individuals who enrolled in online courses at Trump University were promised, by Trump himself, a key to unlock the door into the profitable world of commercial real estate. Instead, many who paid thousands of dollars to attend the online school argue that this promise, along with many others, was a sham.
When the school opened in 2005, Trump proclaimed it to be his attempt to "remodel education for the digital age," by providing students with an experience rather than an actual degree. However several students claim they received little more than a digital front row seat to an expensive series of pre-taped infomercials.
In a separate $40 million lawsuit filed against Trump University filed by New York's state attorney general, the inner workings of the online school are detailed. According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, those enrolled at the school were continually encouraged to purchase additional seminar packages, including a $35,000 mentorship package and to increase their credit lines to prepare for incoming real estateopportunities. In many cases, however, students were encouraged to "use the credit to pay for the expensive Elite programs."
A pretrial hearing in one of the class-action lawsuits is scheduled for early May with Trump's name on the list of witnesses to be deposed. We'll continue to provide updates on the status of these class-action lawsuits as these cases proceed.
Source: Los Angles Times, "Lawsuits against Trump University claim students paid thousands for nothing," Kristina Davis, Feb. 26, 2016
The Daily Beast, "Trump University Hired Motivational Speakers and a Felon as Faculty," Kate Briquelet, March 8, 2016