Donald Trump fires back at 'sham' university lawsuit

The tycoon is on the warpath after New York state's attorney general sued him for $40 million over 'fraudulent' advertising claims.

By Aimee Picchi Aug 26, 2013 11:37AM

Donald Trump leaves 'The Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on October 25, 2012 (© Donna Ward/Getty Images)Add one more antagonist to the long list of Donald Trump's enemies: New York state. 

The pugnacious real estate tycoon is lashing out after New York's attorney general sued him for $40 million on Saturday, alleging that Trump's for-profit investment school engaged in illegal business practices. 

The lawsuit is seeking restitution of $40 million and claims Trump appeared in advertisements that made "false promises" to persuade more than 5,000 people to sign up, according to a statement from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman's office had some choice words for Trump University, alleging the institution is a "sham" university offering expensive classes "that did not deliver on their promises."

The lawsuit also claims the school was unlicensed under New York state law and failed to obtain the charter needed to actually call itself a university. (The school later changed its name to The Trump Entrepreneur Institute.) 

Trump went on the offensive after the lawsuit was filed, writing on Twitter that Schneiderman, a Democrat, is a "lightweight" and a "total sleazebag." He also called the lawsuit "pathetic" and questioned why the attorney general filed the lawsuit on Saturday. "Unheard of," Trump wrote. "No case!" he added.

Trump, who has toyed with running for president as a Republican, questioned Schneiderman's priorities, suggesting that the lawsuit might have political motivations.

Regardless of how the legal battle plays out, it brings together several powder kegs: education, wealth and politics. 

Trump built his form of celebrity on his brash personality and high-profile real estate projects. With his own reality-TV show, Comcast's (CMSCA) "The Apprentice," the tycoon has positioned himself as an expert on succeeding in business. 

That apparently helped lure would-be magnates to his educational business. Schneiderman says Trump charged $1,495 for a three-day seminar, claimed it would teach enrollees how to become successful real estate investors by learning Trump's own strategies. 

With Americans earning less than they did before the start of the recession, there's even more pressure on workers to find ways to make ends meet. Whether Trump offered valid instruction remains to be seen, but the truth is that Americans are increasingly looking for ways to get ahead in the still-struggling economy. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

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Aug 26, 2013 12:02PM
It would be nice if this article contained a few more facts.  Like did any of the students file a complaint and if so, how many?  What exactly did the students get for their money?  Just a 3 day seminar or additional coaching and materials?
Aug 26, 2013 1:25PM

That man's companies went backrupt about three times, which means a lot of people did not get paid for good and services, while he got richer each time. Then he loaned his name to some other hotel or something, making people think it was his business when it wasn't and people ended up suing for false advertising and poor services. The man is a very rich, big mouthed nobody. If he didn't have any money, he'd be the big mouth drunk at the dive bar. What a loser. He is a poor representative of the human race. Even when he's right, and everbody is at some time, I don't trust him and I don't believe anything he will ever have to say. He is a total bore.

Aug 26, 2013 11:52AM
Typical Trump response.  Doesn't  address the issues - just slings mud at the accuser.
Aug 26, 2013 2:04PM

How can a man that has had his company declare bankruptcy multiple times know anything about investing?


Seriously the only thing this guy knows is how to shield his personal assets from creditors and working the system.

Aug 26, 2013 1:02PM
Why does he always look like a pineapple is being pulled out of his @ss..........
Aug 26, 2013 12:28PM
He is a PIG who thinks he is better than EVERYONE else .... and his view of women is right out of the stone ages. I have NO USE for this man, and HE is a prime example of how our capitalistic system has morphed into a playground for the rich.
Aug 26, 2013 2:32PM
Aug 26, 2013 12:15PM
This guy has no idea that he is a sleaze bag. Isn't nice to live in your own little world. 
Aug 26, 2013 2:52PM
donald "bankruptcy king" trump is nothing less than a complete sham himself. How many times will he file for bankruptcy and be bailed out by taxpayers?? If he thinks he is such a great american why is all of  his clothing line sold by Macy's all made in China??? Why does donald frump the crazy "birther" wear a half dozen live tribbles on his head??? How can anybody take this clown seriously?????
Aug 26, 2013 12:50PM
Trump appears to be mentally ill these days.Look for a sad ending with him.
Aug 26, 2013 1:51PM
"You get what you pay for" meaning, who the hell would trust Trump with anything he sells or does. The Pig is all about Trump and could care less about folks with less than him. He didn't get filthy rich by being concerned about the welfare of middle America. He got rich from screwing anything that walks including the barn yard goat.  Go figure.............
Aug 26, 2013 2:38PM
Aug 26, 2013 1:56PM
Donald could easily avoid any further problems by telling the Attorney General of New York that he is fired.
Aug 26, 2013 2:09PM
I hate to see this tool on the news, even if they're slamming him about something.
Aug 26, 2013 1:34PM
I'd like to know how much Trump claims in NY State and City film credits for his production company for filming "The Apprentice" in NYC?  It wouldn't surprise me that he makes a fortune from New York.
Aug 26, 2013 2:29PM
Trump University seems a lot like that Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar scam. Or that Armando Montelongo get rich quick flipping houses seminar scam.

Trump probably isn't worried. He has stiffed so many creditors before, that's how he built his fortune - that and being an actor that plays a businessman on TV.

If all else fails, Trump probably thinks his hair piece can just fire Schneiderman.
Aug 26, 2013 12:02PM

The guy in the park seeks to expose himself in a certain way. Trump lurking about is pretty much the same deal, except for the body part that seeks exposure (it's the Trumpchilla atop his head.)

Aug 26, 2013 12:58PM
These types of seminars are nothing new.  Why was Trump's targeted?  Has the AG gone after any other investment seminars?
Aug 26, 2013 1:48PM
"PT Trump was so angry, he shuttered and his rat fell of his head, according to unidentified sources."
Aug 26, 2013 2:28PM
Why don't they ask Donnie how many people are working for him who went to his school?
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