New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading one of the three lawsuits against GOP nominee Donald Trump’s now-defunct Trump University, says that the business mogul’s program was a blatant fraud that violated state laws.
The real estate school was established in 2005 and closed in 2010. There are currently two lawsuits in California and one in New York accusing the program of taking tens of thousands of dollars from applicants without delivering on its promises.
On May 27, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel ordered that a trove of documents related to the case be unsealed for the public record. That same day, Trump blasted Curiel and accused him of trying to harm his presidential campaign. The business mogul also implied that the judge was a Mexican national. Curiel was born in Indiana.
Now that documents related to the case are open for the public to view, Schneiderman has been making the press rounds blasting Trump, asserting that his lawsuit against Trump University will expose the business mogul as a fraud.
"If you look at the facts of this case, this shows someone who was absolutely shameless in his willingness to lie to people, to say whatever it took to induce them into his phony seminars," Schneiderman told Politico.
Trump has consistently stated on the campaign trail that he could have settled all three lawsuits but has allowed them to continue because he is confident that Trump University will be vindicated in court.
Schneiderman counters that the lawsuits are proceeding because they have merit and accused Trump of trying to stall the inevitable.
"Every judge has said these are valid fraud claims,” Schneiderman said. “You defrauded people out of money. They're entitled to their day in court. He keeps saying it's an easy case to win but he keeps losing. All he's doing is delaying."
On June 2, Schneiderman told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” that Trump University was “a fraud from beginning to end.
“This never was a university,” Schneiderman continued. “The fraud started with the name of the organization.”
Schneiderman alleges that while Trump University was pitched to applicants as a way of learning about real estate from the business mogul himself, Trump never actually met with the course instructors and did not participate in writing the curriculum.
The New York Attorney General added that he was intent on proving that the real estate school violated state laws on business fraud, consumer fraud, and operating a university without a license.
The Trump campaign has released a video featuring several former Trump University students stating that they had a great experience attending the courses. Schneiderman counters that advertising a handful of satisfied customers is “not a defense in a court of law.”
Trump himself has dismissed Schneiderman for having a political agenda, pointing out that the New York Attorney General has contributed to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign and currently sits on the Hillary for New York Leadership Council.
Schneiderman counters that he brought on the lawsuit nearly two years before Trump had even announced his candidacy, before he could have had political motivations to attack the business mogul.
“The case was brought in August 2013 [after] over a year of investigation and extensive negotiations with Trump,” Schneiderman said.
The New York Attorney General added that Trump could be called to testify in court even if he is elected president.
“He doesn’t have immunity in civil fraud trials,” Schneiderman asserted.
Trump has stated that Trump University has received a 98 percent approval rating from former students.
32-year-old Ryan Maddings, a former Marine whose glowing evaluation of Trump University was used among 15 other positive evaluations submitted by Trump’s defense team in the lawsuit, now says he feels cheated.
“It was a con,” Maddings told The Daily Beast. The former Marine explained that he was financially struggling at the time and that Trump University staff encouraged him to take on credit debt to afford courses.
“I’m 25-years-old, barely making $3,000 a month and they told me to increase my credit limit,” Maddings said. "I just maxed out three credit cards and I’m supposed to be able to qualify for loans to buy real estate? Those stupid principles have led me to borrow $700,000 of other people’s money and lose it all. I’m still paying off some of that debt to this day…. It’s a complete con.”