A federal judge allowed a racketeering suit to proceed against Trump University – which plaintiffs claim delivered “neither Donald Trump nor a university.”
California businessman Art Cohen sued Trump in October 2013, claiming the former reality TV star defrauded students of tens of millions of dollars by promising to teach his real estate investment secrets.
The suit claims Trump spent up to $6 million a year to promote Trump University by falsely representing that it was an actual university taught by professors selected by the real estate investor, reported Courthouse News.
Cohen, the lead plaintiff, said he attended a free seminar after receiving an invitation in the mail and then paid $1,495 to attend a retreat, where he bought a “Gold Elite” program for an additional $35,000.
Trump, however, did not contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum or handpick the instructors, as promised, at three-day retreats or elite mentorship programs, the suit claims.
A judge ruled this month that Trump was personally liable for running the university bearing his name without a license.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Trump of defrauding students out of $40 million.
A federal judge ruled Monday that Cohen’s suit could continue as a class-action case, finding that “consumers are likely to rely on prominently marketed features of a product which they purchase.”
Trump unsuccessfully argued that Cohen could have known as early as July 2009 that Trump University, which is now known as Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, was not an actual university because he was not seeking a diploma and the seminars were held in hotels.
He argued that the statute of limitations should prevent the suit from going forward, but the judge disagreed.