Conway files suit against Spencerian College for 'going after people' with misrepresented data

01/16/2013 11:50 AM

Attorney General Jack Conway announced he had filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Spencerian College, claiming the for-profit school falsely represented job placement numbers in advertisements.

Conway is filing suit against Spencerian, which is owned by the Sullivan University system. Spencerian has two campuses operating in Kentucky, one in Louisville and one in Lexington.

The lawsuit alleges that Spencerian violated the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act by publishing false data regarding the number of students who found work after graduation from the for-profit school.

“We are seeing actual placement rates in field of study of 30 percent and 40 percent below what they are claiming in their promotional materials” Conway said at a Capitol press conference Wednesday.

The complaint alleges Spencerian has been misrepresenting numbers to its students since 2007, in some cases reporting a 100 percent placement rate when the real numbers showed placement rates of around 60 percent.

“They went after people who just wanted to build better lives for their families in a very tough economy” Conway said regarding Spencerian.

Conway is seeking $2,000 per violation as well as the recovery investigative costs and attorneys fees.

“In this particular case there wont be a classic restitution reward, but we may be able to set it up in a way to do a student assistance program with the penalties we get” Conway said.

Students who attended Spencerian from 2007 on may file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General. Conway says they have already received around 48 complaints over the last few years.

The lawsuit is Conway’s fourth in an ongoing investigation of the for-profit college industry.

Conway said he hadn’t had contact with Spencerian College officials about the lawsuit yet.

A message left for Buddy Hoskinson, executive director of Spencerian’s Lexington campus, was not immediately returned.

Conway has been at odds with officials at Spencerian College’s parent organization, Sullivan University, for the last several years since Conway began investigating for-profit colleges’ recruiting practices. Sullivan officials urged employees to back Conway’s Republican opponent Todd P’Pool during the 2011 election.

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts is the producer of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. In addition to booking guests and pulling all of the information from the field together into a half-hour show, Jacqueline is also a regular contributor to “The Grind.” That’s a weekly segment with the cn|2 political staff to take a closer look at some of the most important, most interesting and often least talked about happenings in Kentucky politics. Jacqueline is from Nashville, but she’s a proud Western Kentucky University graduate. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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