Former Charlotte School of Law student recalls predatory admission process

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The troubles surrounding the now-closed Charlotte School of Law are mounting, including allegations about the school's predatory admissions process.

Former student Talece Hunter has a college degree and a master's degree. She applied to Charlotte School of Law in 2015 and thought it was unusual there was no application process.

Hunter said she experienced aggressive predatory sales tactics after expressing interest in the law school.

"If you didn't call them or did not email them, they were leaving you voicemails two and three times a day," Hunter said.

She also said some her classmates were also less than qualified to be there, which is an allegation made in newly unsealed lawsuit that alleges the law school defrauded taxpayers of at least $285 million.

The lawsuit was filed by former Charlotte School of Law professor Barbara Bernier under whistleblower laws.

Bernier claims she has inside knowledge that hundreds of unqualified students were admitted to the school. She also alleges that student records were manipulated and that enrollment was inflated in an effort to increase profits through government-backed tuitions.

"Many candidates for admission (were) academically unqualified, and would be improbable candidates for admission in most other law schools," the lawsuit read.

Channel 9's past coverage of Charlotte School of Law troubles:

The suit that was filed in Florida District Court alleges Charlotte School of Law "repeatedly identified minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a major source of students and a revenue stream."

It also claims there was a period of time when an acceptable grade point average was "1.50."

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2016 but remained sealed while federal investigators looked into the case.

Talece was halfway to earning her degree when she realized the school was not what it seemed, but she had already given the school $79,000 in tuition money.

"And I don't have anything to show for it," Talece said.

The lawsuit suggests most students left with almost $240,000 in student loan debt.

Earlier in August, the federal government said it was not joining this lawsuit but was continuing its own investigation.

Charlotte School of Law officially closed last week but provided Channel 9 the following statement Monday.

"Charlotte School of Law will defend itself vigorously against the allegations in the complaint. Beyond that, we do not intend to comment on pending litigation," the statement read.

Lee Robertson Jr. is the president of the law school's alumni association and earned his degree before the problems first started and can't believe the problems his alma mater is going through.

"This is not what any of us believed we were getting into," Robertson said. "We believed in the mission of the law school and its ability to do great things in the community. And every single one of us is disappointed that we find ourselves here today."

North Carolina's attorney general has launched his own investigation into the school and dozens of former students are suing.

Legal experts said nothing has been proven at this point but believe the latest allegations are significant.

"If these allegations are true there would likely be criminal investigation because what has been alleged is a massive fraud," defense attorney James Wyatt said.

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