A California woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against the unaccredited Trump University claiming she was swindled into spending $60,000 on bogus seminars and a trip to Home Depot. Swindled by Donald Trump! Imagine that!
Tarla Makaeff filed the suit in federal court on Friday. Makaeff says she spent nearly $60,000 on seminars after she was promised a one-year apprenticeship and a "complete" real estate education. Instead, she says the seminars were more like "infomercials," aimed at upselling students to enroll in Trump University's $35,000 "Gold Program."
Her "one-year apprenticeship" turned out to be a three-day workshop that Makaeff says "consisted of no practical insights and no mentorship, but rather excursions to the Home Depot and 'mentors' who either recommend real estate deals they stood to benefit from financially, or quickly disappeared and failed to return calls."
She also says Trump U deceived its students by telling them to raise their credit limits and max out their credit cards to "enter into 'real estate transactions,'" only to turn around and tell them they should use that credit to pay for the Gold Program. Makaeff went ahead and did that, but now says Trump University never warned students they might incur finance charges, interest fees, or late fees by charging the seminar to their cards and that Trump failed to tell them that raising their credit limits or maxing out their cards might damage their credit scores.
Despite her gullibility, Makaeff's claim isn't the only recent attack on Trump U. Three weeks ago, the New York State Education Department accused Trump U of misleading the public and violating state law by calling itself a "university." In January, the Better Business Bureau slammed Trump U with a D-minus rating (although that score is now being reviewed by the BBB).
We called the Trump Organization to find out just what sort of snake oil sales scheme they're running over at Trump U, but they haven't gotten back to us yet. In the meantime, if you're that desperate to be The Donald's next protégé, we'd suggest auditioning for the next Apprentice. At least all you'll lose there is your dignity.
UPDATE: Trump University president Michael Sexton finally got back to us. He said the suit had "no merit" and that Trump U plans to "vigorously defend our reputation, company, brand name, and the services we offer."
"This individual consumed every service [she] purchased and then some," he said. According to Sexton, Makaeff gave Trump U the five out of fives on its customer satisfaction surveys and even taped a video testimonial about her experience. Naturally, we asked for a copy of that video and Sexton assures us he's looking into it.
Makaeff's Full Lawsuit:
[Pic via Getty Images]