The Real Deal Miami

Fla. attorney general mulls joining Trump fraud suit

Several state residents have complained about Boca Raton-based "university"
trump-bondi

From left: Donald Trump and Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is weighing whether to join a multi-state case against the now-defunct Trump Institute that was based in Boca Raton.

Dozens of attendees, some from Florida, filed complaints against Donald Trump’s school in 2008. The issue was revived last month when New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a $40 million lawsuit. It alleged that Trump defrauded more than 5,000 people through the school, which offered free seminars to help them get rich by teaching real estate-investing techniques used by Trump.

All of the complaints from Florida residents except one were filed before Bondi’s term — when Bill McCollum was attorney general.

“After a lot of calls back and forth with them, one day they just vanished and I knew I’d been taken,” Kenneth Lafrate of Leesburg told the Orlando Sentinel. “It (the seminar) was supposed to give you these insider secrets of how to invest in real estate like sophisticated investors do. I really did want that kind of knowledge. And it was the Trump Institute – I felt like he was a legit guy, so I’d take a chance. My mistake.”

Trump has denied the claims and referred to data showing a 98 percent satisfaction rate with the classes offered. [Orlando Sentinel]Mark Maurer