PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) - A thousand Portland culinary school students are finally getting some tuition money back, as part of a class-action lawsuit against the Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Carrie Rios is a shift supervisor for Round Table Pizza and a graduate of the now-closed cooking school. She said it's a far cry from her dream of being a chef and owning her own restaurant.
She claims she was misled into believing Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in downtown Portland was a prestigious culinary school, with several big Portland chefs having graduated from the school.
"The whole application process, that was a complete lie they let in anybody," said Rios.
At the time of her acceptance, she said she was then pressured to sign up for their $40,000 loan to pay for it.
"As long as they had money or approval for a loan, they took them," said Rios, who claims the promise of a good salary, in a chef-type job was not happening.
"Instead these are jobs people could get off the street without ever going to culinary school that pays minimum wage," said attorney David Sugerman, who has been working on this case for ten years.
"Schools aren't allowed to sell education to someone who's not likely to benefit," said Sugerman. He said he eventually discovered a backroom deal between the school and a loan company, that overcharged students by 44%. He said the loan company then pocketed the money.
"Now all you have is $40,000 of high-interest debt," said Sugarman.
Rios said she will now get $17,000 back if everything gets approved with the settlement.
"I just hope this is an awareness for other people," she said.
If you were a student at Le Cordon Bleu and want to see if you get some money back, you can check the law firm's website here.