Donald Trump in Ohio;
image courtesy of C-Span

Federal Judge:

Trump University Case Will Go to Trial

| published August 5, 2016 |

By Keith H. Roberts, Thursday Review contributor

A Federal judge has denied an attempt by Donald Trump to dismiss the pending court case against Trump University, the business school created to teach people—some of whom paid as much as $35,000—how to succeed in real estate, property investing and business.

The original lawsuit alleges that Trump University—which was never accredited under New York or New Jersey educational guidelines—was little more than a scam to take money from “students” and give them limited information, what the school called “trade secrets,” about real estate and other business processes. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that the school defrauded enrollees, and that registration was merely a ploy to get the students to pay additional fees to “advance” to even better classes with more business “secrets.”

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said that the case against Trump’s business school has merit, and that it must now go to trial.

Donald Trump, the CEO of the school and now the GOP nominee for President, had hoped to have the class action lawsuit thrown out this week.

One of the claims made by the literature and contracts accompanying enrollment in Trump University was that Mr. Trump personally developed the curriculum and “hand-picked” the staff and instructors. In fact, the plaintiffs claim, Trump had little—or no—involvement in the college, and his only concern was for the school’s high rate of profit.

Trump’s attorneys say that there is no evidence that Mr. Trump intended to defraud students, and that charges that he failed to personally select instructors and staff are groundless since it was not possible for Mr. Trump to micro-manage the school anyway. The former students, Trump’s attorneys stress, are taking too literally the marketing hype of sales presentations used simply to inflate the credentials of the school, and that Mr. Trump never meant to defraud anyone who enrolled.

Candidate Trump has criticized Judge Curiel—a U.S. citizen born in Indiana of Mexican heritage—as being unable to fairly judge in the case at all because of Trump’s position in favor of the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Pence Highlights Night of Eloquence, Contention, Chaos; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; July 21, 2016.

Republicans Nominate Trump Amid Controversy; Keith H. Roberts; Thursday Review; July 20, 2016.