Inside the probe into Trump University that Abbott's office launched and then ended
There are a bunch of losers out there who think they can just hit the streets and start making deals, Barker added.
The Attorney Generals Office did not receive any formal complaints about Trump University, records show.
Nevertheless, the office approved Berlins request for an investigation.
Two months later, in January 2010, the Attorney Generals Office notified Trump University it was under investigation for possible violations of 17.46(a) and 17.46(b) of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices - Consumer Protection Act, records show.
Those provisions prohibit false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce. The notification letter demanded 12 categories of documents.
Extremely strong case
Meanwhile, Berlin, Owens and others attended a seminar in Houston and interviewed about 30 Trump University students, according to a memo documenting the investigation.
The investigators determined that Trump University had held 57 free events and enticed approximately 450 Texans to pay $1,495 each to attend a seminar, according to the memo.
About 40 of those people bought a more expensive conference, and some 150 people purchased other goods or services.
In total, the investigators determined that Texans had paid Trump University at least $2.6 million, according to the memo.
They multiplied that number by two and added $250,000 in attorneys fees to come up with their proposed settlement deal.
A meeting to discuss a possible settlement was scheduled for May 19, 2010, records show. Berlin, Owens and others sought approval from David Morales, then the deputy attorney general for civil litigation.
It was outstanding, Owens said. We detailed misstatements of fact they gave at their seminars. hellip; It was an extremely strong case.
Owens said that the proposal made it all the way to the desk of Abbotts second-in-command, Daniel Hodge, who now serves as Abbotts chief of staff.
I think Abbott knew about it, said Owens, adding that the decision not to sue was a political decision.
The Chronicle was unable to verify that the memo reached either Hodge or Abbott. Hirsch, the Abbott spokesman, denied it, calling it completely made-up.
Hirsch said Abbott acted in the states best interest and was not affected by the later donations, which came three years later and was a small part of a $40 million fundraising haul.
The Texas Attorney Generals office investigated Trump U and its demands were met, Hirsch said. Trump U was forced out of Texas and consumers were protected.