NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Better Business Bureau is disputing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims about its ratings of Trump University.
During last Thursday’s 11th Republican debate, Trump produced a document he claimed to have received from the group indicating his business had an A rating. The debate’s moderator responded that Trump U’s rating was a D-.
Claire Rosenzweig, head of the BBB’s Metro New York division, is trying to clear some things up.
“BBB did not send a document of any kind to the Republican debate site last Thursday evening,” Rosenzweig said Tuesday.
She explained that Trump U sported a D- in 2010 because of customer complaints and the document Trump produced appeared to be part of a business review from 2014. At that time, Rosenzweig said the school’s grade had improved after it stopped taking students.
“Over time Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015,” Rosenzweig said.
Complaints in the bureau’s file expire after three years, and in that time the school had already gone out of business, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Rosenzweig said the school has never been a BBB accredited business, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
A request for comment from a Trump spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
A New York appeals court recently ruled that a lawsuit filed by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman alleging the for-profit school defrauded customers can go forward.
Schneiderman first launched an investigation into Trump University in 2011, aiming to weed out unlawful business practices within the for-profit institution. Schneiderman later filed a $40 million lawsuit against Trump in 2013, claiming that the real estate mogul helped run a phony university that promised to make students rich, but instead steered them into expensive and mostly useless seminars.
Schneiderman said many of the 5,000 students who paid up to $35,000 thought they would at least meet Trump, but instead all they got was their picture taken in front of a life-size picture of “The Apprentice” TV star.
Many of the instructors at the school were hired out of other industries not related to education, with part of the staff comprised of former retail and fast food workers, Schneiderman added.
Meanwhile, a yoga instructor from Southern California wants to withdraw from a federal class-action lawsuit that claims Trump University fleeced students with an empty promise to teach them real estate. Tarla Makaeff’s lawyers say Trump and his team have put her “through the wringer” and made the prospect of a trial unbearable.
A judge will consider the request Friday, four days before Florida and Ohio hold their primaries.
Trump’s attorneys say the lawsuit should be dismissed if Makaeff is allowed to withdraw, arguing that their trial strategy centers on her.
Makaeff’s lawyers disagree, noting the judge allowed two plaintiffs to withdraw last year. Three others would remain.
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