Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 29, 2013, 6:15pm

SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) -- Business magnate Donald Trump is facing another lawsuit against him and his Trump University.

The newest lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California this month, accuses Trump of operating a racket.

The plaintiff, Art Cohen, is a California businessman. According to his Oct. 18 complaint, he learned about Trump University in 2009 through a newspaper ad and received by mail a "special invitation" to the school from Trump, including two VIP tickets to a free seminar.

Cohen, who admits to being lured by Trump's name and reputation, said he ending up spending more than $35,000, regrettably, in programs through the school.

He said he would not have paid for the programs if he had known he wouldn't have access to Trump's real estate investing secrets, that Trump had "no meaningful role" in selecting the instructors and that Trump University was not a "university."

"Trump did not fulfill the promises he made to student-victims around the country -- he did not teach students his coveted real estate investing 'secrets' at the Live Events, he did not contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum for the Live Events, and he did not handpick the Live Event seminar instructors and mentors who 'taught' student-victims at three-day Live Events and Elite mentorship programs -- both of which were upsells from the free introductory Live Event called the 'Preview,'" Cohen wrote in his 34-page complaint.

Cohen seeks to represent other buyers of the programs in a class-action lawsuit against Trump, according to his complaint.

He seeks damages and equitable relief on behalf of himself and the class, including, but not limited to, treble their monetary damages, restitution, injunctive relief, punitive damages, costs and expenses, including attorneys' fees.

In August, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Trump and the Trump Entrepreneur Institute, formerly known as Trump University LLC, for allegedly engaging in deceptive and illegal conduct.

The school, the attorney general alleges, operated as an unlicensed educational institute between 2005 and 2011.

Similar to Cohen's lawsuit, Schneiderman contends the school promised to teach Trump's real estate investing techniques to consumers around the U.S. but allegedly misled consumers into paying for expensive courses that failed to deliver.

And like Cohen's suit, Schneiderman alleges that Trump did not hand-pick even one instructor for the seminars and had little to no role in developing the school's curriculum.

The school also used the name Trump University without the necessary charter under state law to call itself a university, the attorney general claims.

"More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch," Schneiderman said in a statement in August.

"Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn't afford for lessons they never got.

"No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hardworking New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable."

According to the Attorney General's Office, the defendants allegedly used three-day seminars to pitch consumers an expensive Trump Elite mentorship program costing between $10,000 and $35,000.

Many consumers who paid for the elite mentorship program allegedly did not receive the individual mentor attention that was promised, according to Schneiderman's lawsuit.

The defendants also violated federal consumer protection law by failing to honor consumers' requests to cancel the programs within three business days, the attorney general alleges.

Schneiderman's lawsuit seeks full restitution for the more than 5,000 consumers who took part in the program who paid more than $40 million in total to the school.

The lawsuit also seeks disgorgement of profits, penalties and costs and injunctive relief to prevent the allegedly illegal practices in the future.

According to Cohen's lawsuit, nearly a dozen state attorneys general and the U.S. Department of Justice have received "numerous" complaints about Trump's institution.

Trump has brushed off the legal wranglings, claiming Schneiderman, in particular, is a "political hack" and is just looking for publicity.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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