NY Trump University Fraud Case Will Go to Trial in Fall

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on April 27, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Donald Trump is a busy billionaire and this fall it seems his steak-filled plate will be very full. The businessman-turned-politician is running a presidential campaign while facing a trial for fraud associated with Trump University.

Across the country, there are a few cases against Trump University, a real estate seminar that costs tens of thousands of dollars to attend. Yesterday a New York court found sufficient questions of fact that a fraud case brought by New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman should go to trial. The AG sought summary judgment, or a ruling based on the evidence submitted thus far, but this was denied and the judge has reportedly expressed a desire to "move expeditiously as possible."

Bait and Switch

The fraud alleged in this case is based on Trump's promises to prospective students of his "university" that he would teach them the secrets of success. But it seems he had no involvement in the school's hiring or curriculum creation. According to the New York AG, Trump pulled a classic "bait-and-switch" on students.

Schneiderman spoke to CNN about his suit in March, saying, "[Trump] did ads saying my hand-picked instructors will teach you my personal secrets. You just copy what I did and get rich." The thing is, according to Schneiderman, Trump didn't give away his secrets (secrets which we know already in part -- he was born rich).

In fact, he seemed to have little to do with the development of the school that bears his name. "If you tell people we're going to teach you Donald Trump's secrets, and he never had any part in writing the curriculum, that's fraud," Schneiderman said. In 2013, he filed a case against Trump based on deceptive business practices.

The Republican presidential candidate also promised that students would have access to private sources of financing, reports CNN. Schneiderman says that did not happen.

Counsel Responds

There are three lawsuits pending against Trump for his now-defunct real estate investment seminar dubbed Trump University. This case in New York may well go trial during the fall, which might prove tricky for Trump's campaign to be president. Will his supporters worry that they will be Trump's next suckers?

For now, his counsel is keeping it simple. Responding to the New York court's ruling, Trump's attorney Alan Garten said, "We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has yet again rejected the Attorney General's attempt to avoid a trial."

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