On November 18 of last year, Donald Trump attempted to settle a class-action Trump University lawsuit in the hopes of making it quietly go away before he took the oath of office. This, after a University of Utah professor wrote a report titled “Trump University and Presidential Impeachment,” a report noting that actions Donald Trump took with this case could be considered impeachable offenses if found by a court to be fraud and racketeering. Politico reports that yesterday, a former consumer of the business called Trump University filed an objection to the November 18 settlement saying she wants to take the president to court over her individual Trump University case.
This opens a new can of very uncomfortable worms for Donald Trump. The lawyer representing Donald Trump in the matter told the New York Daily News, “This is a serious issue.”
The former Trump University consumer is single mom Sherri Simpson of Florida. She doesn’t want to be part of the 25 million dollar Trump University settlement and wants to have her day in court.
In 2010, Sherri Simpson was looking to make her way in real estate and said she didn’t know much about Trump at the time. But when she was solicited for the “university” she figured his name was synonymous with real estate development.
She says she thought, “he would have the best of everything.” She started with a free seminar and was upsold into a three-day seminar. “Everything was an upsell,” she says in this video here.
Sherri said in an interview before the election that what she signed up for, didn’t materialize. She wanted someone to hold her hand, or, teach her real estate, and that just didn’t happen. Once she signed up for the big up sell, the $35 thousand dollar Gold Elite program, calls went unanswered and so did emails.
“My opinion is that he entered into this university, not with the intent to teach people how to be real estate investors, and entrepreneurs, but to make money.”
In Sherri Simpson’s objection to the 25 million dollar settlement filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in San Diego, Sherri called the Gold Elite program a scam. She also called Donald Trump a “mendacious huckster.”
“When Sherri Simpson signed up for the seminars, she did not understand Donald Trump to be a mendacious huckster. She believed him. And yet, there were no hand-picked instructors. There was no mentoring. There were no materials at all that one couldn’t have just grabbed off the internet. It was pure flim-flam – a hoax, a scam.”
Lack of real instructors was a serious problem for Trump University students and is among the most common complaints in the class-action suit. The Toronto Star reports that one Canadian couple, going by the name of Dave Ravindra and Rita Bahadur, were alleged instructors of the Canadian branch of the business called Trump University. They held a retreat in Canada called the “Creative Financing” retreat.
But a joint investigation between The Canadian Press and The Associated Press reveals the couple does have experience with creative financing, as the couple has a long sheet of multiple aliases, bankruptcies, sanctions by security regulators, and lost real estate licenses.
Sherry Simpson’s New York based attorney told New York Daily News that “She was fleeced out of $20,000 she could scarcely afford.” Sherri joined the class-action suit against the business known as Trump University because she thought and hoped it would lead to a trial or at the very least, an admission of liability by Donald Trump.
But the $25 million settlement would make that all go away, and also make it easier for Donald Trump to enter the presidency without a fraud and racketeering case over his head. Sherri’s lawyer says that she is not willing to settle for any settlement that does not include an admission of liability.
Attorneys for Donald Trump allege that Simpson had a chance to opt out of the settlement, but missed the deadline. However, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class-action suit allege that Sherri’s objection, and any others, should be carefully considered by the federal judges because the plaintiffs were not even offered to negotiate the terms of their own settlement.
Occupy Democrats reports that attorney Ben Meisalas says Sherri should not have a problem having her day in court. He said the following on the matter.
“These people weren’t even involved in the negotiations, which were done by class attorney and likely the class representative. Having a non-opt out clause in the agreement reeks of collusion and reflects a clear goal of protecting President Trump at the expense of class members….a fraud is a fraud whether you are president or pauper, and victims deserve their day in court.”
Federal Judge Curiel will be the one ruling on whether or not Sherri Simpson will have her day in court. He does not have an amicable history with Donald Trump, who issued racist slurs against the judge when a previous Trump University ruling did not go Trump’s way. Donald Trump called Judge Curiel a “hater” and said that his ruling against Trump was based on the fact that he was Hispanic.
The Ninth Circuit of Appeals is a legal avenue also available to Sherri Simpson, should Judge Curiel not rule in her favor. Donald Trump does not have an amicable relationship with that court either, after having called the judges “so-called” judges when they ruled against his travel ban earlier this year.
Sherri’s attorney says that Trump “will have a decision to make.” New York Daily News reports that he said the following.
“We think the judge will rule for us. Then the question is, do the defendants want to blow up the whole deal and go to trial, or do they want to hold on to the deal and allow some number of opt outs.”
If Judge Curiel allows Sherri Simpson’s case to move forward individually, there are potential ramifications for others in the class-action. The $25 million settlement, which has not yet been paid to the victims, could be delayed. Politico reports that the entire Trump University settlement could be called into question.
Politico also reports that Sherri Simpson isn’t the only victim of the business known as Trump University that has opted out of the settlement. Thirteen other former consumers of the business have opted out and may still bring individual suits against President Trump.
Politico reports on another student, Harold Doe, who also wants to opt out now. He is suing for $35,000 but believes he should be entitled to at least three times that much in punitive damages and pain and suffering.
“I was homeless with my family because of Trump and Trump University. Although I’m submitting a claim for thirty-five thousand dollars I spent on that so-called class I would appreciate being awarded the three times that amount for the suffering that my family and I had to endure as a direct result of Trump and Trump University.”
Former consumers were given an opportunity to opt out of the class action in 2015, and that was the last opportunity they were given. Sherri’s attorney said that at that time, the case was “barreling towards trial” and the plaintiffs were “obtaining excellent results” in court. They did not know that would be their last opportunity to opt out of the lawsuit.
In this video, CNN interviews a former instructor of Trump University, who brags at the open of the interview that it was his job to “reel them in, sign them up, and get them to spend money.” When he is asked about his real estate experience, he is reminded by CNN that in a California court transcript, he testified that he has homes in Beverly Hills, Atlanta, and all over America.
He confirms this to be true to CNN, that he does have those homes and real estate prowess. But when asked by CNN why they couldn’t find any information to verify those homes, he shuts down in the interview saying, “I’m not going to answer questions about that because I haven’t seen that.”
But it was his own testimony and his own alleged homes that CNN was asking him about. When asked what he knew about real estate he said, “Again, I’m not prepared to answer those questions today, this is about Trump University.”
But, Trump University alleges that it is a course on real estate investment.
This latest development for the business known as Trump University is not good news for Donald Trump. As the Inquisitr previously reported, presidents can be impeached for actions taken prior to taking the oath of office, and University of Utah professor Christopher Peterson says that fraud and racketeering could be a “high crime” that is a required qualifier for impeachment. But that’s not Donald Trump’s only problem.
If Sherri Simpson is successful in opting out of the class-action Trump University claim and proceeds to trial successfully, she sets a precedent for thousands of other former consumers of Trump University expressing dissatisfaction. Although presidents are under immunity for some civil lawsuits, they are only immune from lawsuits that pertain to activities related to their direct duties as president.
Donald Trump would not be immune from lawsuits related to Trump University. Additionally, precedent has been set that at least one previous president was sued civilly. That precedent was set by the husband to Donald Trump’s personal counselor, Kellyanne Conway. Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway was the lead attorney representing Paula Jones in the civil case against President Clinton, reports Mother Jones.
Donald Trump, and all Americans, can thank Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway for setting the precedent to sue a sitting president civilly. Whether Sherri Simpson will get her day in court against the president on her Trump University case remains to be seen. Judge Curiel has set a date of March 30 to hear arguments on the fairness of the objection.
[Featured Image by Bebeto Matthews/AP Images]