BB&T suing defunct computer training school to recoup funds

ComputerTraining.edu closed abruptly in December, blaming bank

March 15, 2010|By Gus G. Sentementes | gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

BB&T is suing a defunct Hunt Valley-based computer training school, claiming the company's out-of-state owners defaulted on a $1.5 million loan and then spread false and misleading statements about the lender's role in the school's closure.

ComputerTraining.edu, which had operations in Maryland and 13 other states, shut down in December with little explanation, other than to blame the bank for ordering it to "immediately cease operations."

BB&T filed suit on Friday in Baltimore County Circuit Court against ComputerTraining.edu, its corporate parent CTCI, and owners David L. and Michelle M. Rau for defaulting on a loan they secured from the bank in June. BB&T also filed a lawsuit in February, alleging the school made false and misleading statements on the school's Web site and on outgoing voicemail message at the school's main office.

"At no time did BB&T direct ComputerTraining.edu as to its internal business operations, nor did BB&T seize any facilities of ComputerTraining.edu," one of the bank's lawsuits states.

The for-profit school closed in late December with little warning to students and staff — and to the surprise of state education officials and the Better Business Bureau.

More than 100 students in Maryland had paid tuition to the school and were attending classes at two locations when the school closed. Each student had paid $13,500 in tuition for the six-month program, which they are now trying to recoup from a state-administered guarantee fund that protects student tuition.

For-profit career schools in Maryland must place money in a pool that refunds student tuition whenever such schools close.

Thus far, 97 ComputerTraining students in Maryland have applied for reimbursement of their tuition through the Maryland Higher Education Commission, according to Leslie Bennett, the agency's associate director for career education.

David and Michelle Rau, who live in St. Petersburg, Fla., could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for BB&T did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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