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Hausfeld LLP Files Class Action Lawsuit Over Inauguration Scam
Washington, DC – May 13, 2009 – Hausfeld LLP, along with DiMuroGinsberg PC, today announced they have jointly filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 15,000 middle school, high school, and college students who paid approximately $3,000 each to attend “Presidential Inaugural Conferences” for Barack Obama in Washington, DC in January 2009.
The complaint charges that defendants Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC) and Envision EMI, LLC solicited students all over the country to attend “educational inaugural conferences” and promised exclusive access and tickets to witness the Presidential Inauguration on the Mall, view the Presidential Inaugural Parade, attend an official Black Tie Gala Inaugural Ball, and visit with celebrities, politicians, and White House staff. Despite paying significant “tuition costs,” as well as travel and related expenses in reliance on these representations, the plaintiffs allege that the promised access to these events went unfulfilled. Once they were in Washington, DC, the defendants told students that they had no tickets or areas for viewing the inauguration or parade. Instead of the promised official inaugural ball, the students were taken to a “glorified prom.” Moreover, many of the promised speakers never appeared. Although the students spent several thousand dollars to attend the conference, all they got were a few meals and shared hotel rooms worth, at most, a couple of hundred dollars.
The complaint further alleges that even though Envision and CYLC advertised the “exclusive” and “limited” nature of the programs, they enrolled more than 15,000 students. Prior inaugural conferences sponsored by these groups had only 500-800 attendees. While Envision and CYLC eventually set aside $1 million to refund angry parents and students, that sum would provide approximately $65 per attendee.
James Pizzirusso, a partner with Hausfeld LLP, stated: “Our clients allege that CYLC and Envision were ill-prepared to deal with the number of students they accepted and the logistics of providing access to viewing the inauguration and parade or attending an inaugural ball. It was well-known months before the inauguration that very few tickets would be issued for these events. Instead of advising the students of these issues and allowing people to cancel or obtain refunds, the defendants retained these students’ payments and continued their misrepresentations.”
Bernard DiMuro of DiMuroGinsberg PC, stated: “If the companies sponsoring these events had disclosed the true nature of these ‘educational conferences,’ no one would have paid $3,000 to attend. These kids took odd jobs and raised funds from family, friends and strangers in order to participate in the defendants' inaugural youth conference to eyewitness a truly historical event. Instead all they saw was the inside of a bus or were dropped off near the Washington Monument to fend for themselves.”
Copies of the complaint will be available at www.hausfeldllp.com.
About Hausfeld LLP
Hausfeld LLP, based in Washington, DC, is a global plaintiffs’ law firm providing litigation services in the areas of consumer fraud, antitrust/competition law, human rights violations, product liability, civil rights, and environmental law. In addition to the Washington office, the firm has operations in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and London. For additional information about Hausfeld LLP and its services, please visit http://www.hausfeldllp.com.
DiMuroGinsberg is a boutique litigation firm located in Alexandria, Virginia. The firm's practice focuses primarily on general and complex civil litigation in the areas of corporate & commercial law, business torts, criminal law, employment & labor law, and professional liability & ethics. For additional information about DiMuroGinsberg PC and its services, please visit http://www.dimuro.com.
Practice Areas: Deceptive Business Practices and Consumer Protection