Donald Trump, the US property mogul, is being sued by New York's attorney general for $40m ($30m) for his role as chairman of a "Trump University", which it is claimed promised to make students rich but ended up costing them a fortune.
Eric Schneiderman, the attorney general, said 5,000 students – who paid up to $35,000 – were promised master classes in becoming property developers. They thought they would meet Mr Trump, but instead all they got was a photo taken in front of a picture of 'The Apprentice' TV star.
"Trump University engaged in deception at every stage of consumers' advancement through costly programmes, and caused real financial harm," said Mr Schneiderman.
"Trump University, with Donald Trump's knowledge and participation, relied on Mr Trump's name recognition and celebrity to take advantage of consumers who believed in the brand."
The lawsuit claims that many budding developers were unable to make any deals after the seminar. Instructors were told to encourage pupils to pay for further classes and a "Trump Elite" mentorship that cost as much as $35,000.
Students were promised individual instruction until they made their first deal. Mr Schneiderman said participants were urged to extend the limit on their credit cards for property deals, but then used the credit to pay for the Trump Elite programmes.
Mr Trump has defended the seminars. His lawyers said the school had received 11,000 evaluations, 98pc of which rated students as "extremely satisfied". (© Daily Telegraph, London)