A former Texas official said a fraud investigation into Trump University was silenced in 2010, under “highly unusual” circumstances. Former Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection John Owens told CBS he had a strong case against Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s company for scamming students at his unaccredited real estate school. Shortly after the company folded in 2010, Owens’ says he was ordered to drop the case.
At the time, Owens’ boss was Greg Abbott, then the state attorney general and now the state’s Republican governor.
But Owens, now retired, made public a 14-page internal summary of the state’s case against Trump on Friday. The Attorney General’s office, now led by Abbott’s successor, Republican Ken Paxton, immediately issued a cease-and-desist letter to Owens in response.
“I have done nothing illegal or unethical,” Owens told the AP. “I think the information I provided to the press was important and needed to be shared with the public.”
Paxton is already in the spotlight for a number of securities fraud charges. An appeals court rejected Paxton’s attempt to have these charges dismissed earlier this month.
In an interview earlier this week with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump raised the fact that Texas ultimately decided not to pursue a case against Trump University as evidence that the claims against his company are baseless. “Did you know this case was turned down by almost every Attorney General from Texas, to Florida, to many of these states?” Trump asked in a June 3 interview.
Owens’ revelations, however, suggest that Texas did indeed have a strong case against the GOP presidential candidate’s company. The state’s Republican attorney general simply decided not to pursue it.