A fraud case involving Trump University — the for-profit program that real-estate mogul Donald Trump established as training classes for aspiring entrepreneurs — is officially going to trial.
A New York Supreme Court judge made the ruling Tuesday afternoon, some two years after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against the organisation.
The lawsuit alleges that Trump University deceptively used the term “university” in its name.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of students who paid thousands of dollars to participate in online courses and in-person seminars hosted by Trump University.
The trial could see Donald Trump himself forced to testify.
In a statement released after the trial was announced on Tuesday, Schneiderman said: “We believe that Mr. Trump and (university president Michael Sexton) will be essential witnesses at trial.”
“As we will prove in court, Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded thousands of students out of millions of dollars,” he added.
While some former students of Trump University have claimed that the program netted them a measure of success, others have been critical of their time in the program.
Samson Malani, who initially applauded the program, has said he was asked to pay $18,000 for additional training. “That was a rip,” he said, according to Slate.
Malani claimed the first class of that program was helpful, but he said he never received the personal mentorship he was expecting.
“We were doing everything ourselves,” he said.
Former Hawaii social worker Margaret Tom, another former student, said she spent $35,000 on the program. While she claimed to have eventually made back her investment, Tom said she later lost $60,000 on a real-estate deal that fell through.
“You believe that if you invest this amount of money that you’ll really be able to have a business that’s up and running. And it’s not that at all,” she said, according to the publication.
Trump is facing similar lawsuits in California, where his attorneys on Tuesday argued that there are not enough “disputable facts” to go to trial. The attorneys have asked a federal judge to squash the case, according to court documents obtained by NBC 7 San Diego.
Trump last month defended the program, which was renamed Trump Entrepreneurship Initiative in 2010.
“I’ll easily win this case when it comes to court,” he said.
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