A lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman against Donald Trump, alleging that the real estate mogul defrauded students with his “Trump University” programs, is headed to trial before a jury.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday that the battle must be decided in court. Schneiderman sued Trump for $40 million in 2013, charging the school made false claims to cheat students out of their $35, 000 tuition.
The attorney general’s suit claims Trump and the school misled thousands of customers across the U.S. into buying expensive courses to learn the billionaire developer’s real estate investing secrets and techniques.
In an Op-Ed published by the New York Daily News, Schneiderman said, “Some 5, 000 hardworking people from all over the country fell for Donald Trump’s sales pitch and ended up getting taken.
“They were victims of a high-pressure bait and switch. That’s consumer fraud. As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, it’s my job to see that perpetrators of fraud are brought to justice”, he said.
In response to the lawsuit, Trump called the attorney general a publicity-seeking “lightweight, ” attacked his “gross incompetence” and filed ethics complaints against him.
Justice Cynthia Kern denied motions by both sides asking for pre-trial rulings. Schneiderman wanted more documents while Trump sought to have the case dismissed.
Trump University, which was formed in 2004, operated between 2005 and 2011 as an unlicensed educational institute. The name was changed in 2010 to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative after repeated warnings from state education officials that the school was not chartered as a university and was operating as an “illegal education institution”.