The Real Deal New York

Trump University lawsuit edges closer to jury trial

Students paid up to $35K to attend real estate seminars

November 20, 2015 02:45PM

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The dispute over Donald Trump’s Trump University continues with the GOP presidential candidate facing a jury trial over allegations he misled students who paid as much as $35,000 to attend the online school.

Trump and his institution, now known as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, lost a bid Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Diego to throw out claims by former students, who were allegedly promised seminars as good as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school –- Trump’s alma mater – that would be taught by “handpicked” instructors.

A pretrial hearing for the five-year-old lawsuit is set for January, according to Bloomberg. The former Trump University students sued in 2010, claiming they were duped by real estate seminars promising “one-on-one mentorship, practical and fail-safe real estate techniques,” and a “power team” of real estate agents, lenders, property managers and contractors.

The school’s initial response to the lawsuit was to countersue the woman who filed it, accusing her of making false statements. Those defamation claims were thrown out last year.

“We look forward to finally bringing this case to a jury, where we will show that 98 percent of Trump University students admitted to having a positive experience and everyone received a valuable real estate education,” Jill Martin, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the mogul in 2013 for allegedly swindling students out of $40 million, claiming Trump University operated as an unlicensed educational institution that conned students into believing they would gain real estate investing expertise. The suit is still pending.

In response, Trump called Schneiderman “incompetent” and a “lightweight,” and filed a since-dropped complaint against the attorney general accusing him of misconduct for soliciting campaign donations from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. [Bloomberg] — Rey Mashayekhi