A private high school specializing in preparing young athletes for college basketball and careers in the basketball industry has been sued by the state of Illinois after taking parents’ tuition money, promptly shutting down, and refusing to distribute refunds, according to Courthouse News.
Cook County State Attorney Kimberly Foxx filed the suit, saying that owner Damond Williams misrepresented the Chicago Basketball Academy as a “premier” institution when in reality it had no accreditation or financial backing.
“By late 2014…Damond Williams had failed to attract the necessary financial investment needed to build and operate the academy,” the suit states.
“Nevertheless, Damond Williams continued to solicit students and their families to enroll at the academy for the 2015-2016 academic year through the school’s website, marketing materials, and student enrollment agreements, all of which made material misrepresentations and omissions regarding the academy’s accreditation, facilities, staff, and its academic and athletic programs.”
Refused to refund
Foxx says that Williams took bold steps in misrepresenting his school by claiming that it had relationships with hundreds of schools, universities, organizations, and companies and that its “programs and qualifications set the standard for education in the global economy.”
However, the suit says these claims were all patently false, and that prospective students who were taken on tours were shown downtown office buildings and gyms in the Chicago area that were in no way affiliated with CBA; in fact, Williams didn’t even own the advertised address used for the school – it belonged to a local rib restaurant.
The suit goes on to say that Williams collected $2,500 tuition payments from interested families, but after only two weeks the school shut down “after it failed to provide students with classrooms, textbooks, or instructional materials; failed to pay teachers and coaches; and failed to provide students with the promised educational and athletic programs described in the Academy’s brochures.” Williams thereafter refused to refund families their prepaid tuition.
The suit seeks refunds, rescission of contracts, a permanent injunction against Williams, damages for consumer fraud, common law fraud and deceptive trade, and costs of the suit.