Update: Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu Portland and CEC consumer fraud class action

For those tracking this case, two updates worth noting.

1. As noted recently, Western Culinary/LCB Portland and Career Education Corp filed a motion to compel arbitration and to dismiss this case. More info on that motion here. The hearing date on the motion has been changed to October 7, 2011.

2. There have been many media reports on the settlement of California Culinary Academy (CCA) class action. Some have erroneously reported that the settlement includes this case against Western Culinary Institute. Not correct. I am not connected with the CCA case, so I don’t pretend to know what is going on there. But our case has not settled. That is why we are pushing forward toward trial.

Thanks for checking back and for your continuing patience and interest in the case. If you’re a class member, know that our team continues the long fight. Call or email if you have questions.


61 thoughts on “Update: Western Culinary Institute/Le Cordon Bleu Portland and CEC consumer fraud class action

  1. Waylon-Thanks. Please contact our office during office hours so that we can get information to figure out whether you are part of the class. Best bet is phone 503.228.6474 M-F 8.30 – 5.00

  2. I am a 2008 HRM graduate from WCI-can I be included in the lawsuit?
    My experience is similar to many others-I did not receive the “education” I expected from a Le Cordon Bleu facility. I cannot find a job. During employment interviews I am [constantly] told that previous management training is “not necessary” since I will be trained in their style. Luckily I had the funding to attend school without taking out loans-but, what a waste of money!
    P Kent

  3. Thanks for your comment. Can’t answer your question without more information. It would be better if you contacted us privately so that we can get more detail.

  4. my biggest problem was not enough cooking space in the class, (before the 45% dropout rate, that is). it bugs me that, even after selling all those accounts to collectors, they must, still, make a whopping profit. i recently quit, 2 months in, after learning more about gov. loans. now, struggling to survive, i find out my knife kit is worth maybe .30c on the dollar; similar story with uniforms. thats based on manufacturer’s online price and the whopping $800 they charge for knife kits. after hearing a different $ amount every time i asked what my final debt would be upon leaving, they are sending my acct, (massive profit and all) to collections. in my only job interview during class, the chef, a graduate of wci, wanted to know first, ‘how are your knife skills?’, which we learned ABOUT in class, but not to gain proficiency. lcbc PREPARES YOU TO PREPARE for a job, at a n inflated price that, itself, implies much more. i wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. no reflection on the instructors

  5. My son is his last 3 weeks of school at Le Cordon Blue in Scottsdale, AZ, he will most likely be “kicked” out of school tomorrow (2/2/12) because he has been told so many different things about his tuition and what he owes that he is going to refuse to sign the promise to pay for the tuition he still owes, he has been told different things by different people every month for the last year, now when it is coming down to the wire and classes will be done in 3 weeks he will be kicked out because the school has their head so far up the dark side that they won’t even work with him, my question, is their any attorney’s he can contact in AZ to talk to about what he and other students have gone through in the last couple of years, and now the new students are paying $20k less for the education that my son got…
    thanks for any info you can give me!!!

  6. I was in class of 2007-2008 and I believe I’m already part of this lawsuit since i got a letter in the mail. but I would really appreciate a chance to talk to someone live and find out updates.

  7. Thanks. I’ll post a bit later about where we are. You can always call us at 503.228.6474 if you have questions.

  8. I was student from 03/07 to 05/08 I feel we were over charged for books,uniforms,culinary arts tools kit. suit case with knives,spoons etc. about 100 pieces. Ive filed about 1.5 years ago, no response yet on lawsuit. submitted my name, etc. What’s going on with case agaist wci.

  9. I graduated in 1985 .I was in the first class back when the school was called Horst Mager Culinary Institute. The school was a scam even then. My class and I were sold a fantasy of white tiles, tall hats and a career in the “culinary arts”. My diploma was my passport to a life of poverty, and that was back when you could still get a job after graduation.
    It won’t do me any good, but I hope you are able to do something about this and other for profit schools/scams! The way these for profit schools scam ex service men is a crime and must be stopped.

  10. I attended Horst Mager Culinary Institute from 11/84 to 11/85 when I graudated. I agree with my fellow chef brothers and sisters. Things only got worst when it changed (08/85) to Western Culinary Institute. I wish to enter this class action lawsuit. Please advise. Thx’s.

  11. Hello, I graduated Western Culinary Institute in June of 2000 and went back for my Baking and Pastry and graduated in 2004. When I started in 1999 we were promised a Le Cordon Bleu certificate, we were the first class that the Le Cordon Bleu Program was started. When it came time to graduate we were asked to pay another $1500.00 to get the Le Cordon Bleu Certificate otherwise it would just say Western Culinary. I did not pay the extra $1500.00. My Baking and Pastry Certificate does say Le Cordon Bleu. I was wondering if I qualify to be a part of this class action law suit as I have consolidated both student loans into one at a fixed interest rate. I still owe around $25,000.00 paying on that monthly. Thank you for you time, Debbie Register

  12. I graduated in 2007 and would like to find out if I am eligible to be included in the lawsuit. Thanks.

  13. I am a WCI graduate of 2006. When I began they guaranteed job placement. After graduation my diploma meant absolutely nothing to any employer. When receiving my first bill 6 months after graduation, I was to pay $980.00/month for 25 years. After speaking to several administrators at financial aid about this as well as employees through Sallie May there was nothing I could do. So I have been forwarding harassing calls and voicemails for many years. Before I went to this school I had perfect credit, now I live in my car, a 94 geo metro. If there is any help available, this would be the time for it.

  14. Please contact us privately to see whether you are part of the class. Best bet is by phone 503.228.6474 between 8.30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Mon-Fri.

  15. I graduated from WCI in August of 2001. We were the last class that graduated with just a diploma and not an AA. We were told that if we went to a community college and took a math and English class, this would complete the requirements to actually have a associates degree. I was so excited about that so I went and took these classes and then was told by WCI they would not accept any outside credits. When I tried to transfer the credits out to my community college to get the degree through them, they pretty much laughed at me. As someone who had never done any post high school education this was very disheartening.

  16. Has the suit been settled or is there still time to act on it . I went to wci in 2005-07 is this the time period.

  17. The suit has not settled. It is still on appeal. If you enrolled in 2005, you are not part of the class.

  18. Good morning I was just wanting to know where we are on the process with the lawsuit against western culinary institute.

  19. Still in the middle of Career Education Corp.’s delay tactics. Pre-trial appeal. They can continue to delay, but they cannot hide forever.

  20. I graduated from Western Culinary Institute in June of 2000. I request further information on this matter. I am an Active Duty Soldier, currently serving at an undisclosed location. Please email me and I would be happy to communicate. Thank you so much in advance!


    SSG Nielsen, Ryan A.
    United States Army
    Food Service Instructor/Writer
    Food Service Leads The Way
    (GOVT Email) ryan.a.nielsen.mil@mail.mil

  21. Hi, i currently am enrolled in a CEC school, I believe i have proof of them stealing money from financial aid. In fact I’m sure of it. I did not do my research and made a mistake in going to this school. I am worried that talking to the wrong person about this will screw me and many others out of due justice. What i would like to know, is A) in order to start a class action, does the law firm need to be from the state the claim is being made from. B) from what I’m gathering, CEC schools financial aid now come from themselves. I believe i and a couple other students have proof that they are actually falsifying the numbers, and omitting proof of payments in their documents. I want to talk to someone big enough to make a difference, not some crap local class action lawyer. Is that possible? where do i even go?

  22. Thanks for your comment. I can’t respond here publicly because you are seeking legal advice. For your protection that needs to be done privately. I suggest you contact me by email or phone our office at 503.228.6474 so that my staff can get more information.

  23. You gotta read this….(quote from Daily Kos email newsletter)

    Writing by Will McLeod: A Better World is PossibleFollowRSS
    Daily Kos memberProfileDiaries (list)Stream.Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

    ‘Serious’ Question about the Hobby Lobby ruling: Can I stop paying my student loans?by OllieGarkeyFollow .

    52 Comments / 52 New.So let’s review some facts.

    1. The Hobby Lobby decision says essentially that people (Including Corporate People) cannot be legally forced to act in a way that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs.

    2. I am a Christian.

    3. In the Christian Religion, and in Holy Scripture, the charging of interest is considered Usury, and is sinful.

    4. In the Christian Religion, and in Holy Scripture, all debts are required to be forgiven every few years, in what is called the “Year of Jubilee.” I sincerely believe that the year of jubilee should transpire every seven years.

    5: Jesus was pretty cool with you, unless you were a banker. If you were, he was going to attack you with a whip. The one time Jesus was totally okay with violence was violence directed at money changers.

    Being that I believe all this stuff, with a worrying intensity, am I within my religious rights as an individual to declare my student loans null and void?

    Because here’s what it seems like to me. I cannot be forced to act in a way inconsistent with my religious beliefs. That doesn’t mean that I’m allowed to, say, attack the CEO of Citibank, Michael Corbatt with a whip. Even though it is my sincerely held religious belief that Michael Corbatt and other CEOs of large banks are in need of a good horsewhipping, and that it would be Christ-like to follow in Jesus footsteps and attack moneychangers like Corbatt with a whip, I recognize that the right to a belief doesn’t mean the right to exercise that belief. I can believe that bankers need a good flogging all I want, but they’ll put me in jail if I try to horsewhip Corbatt (outside of a very specific kind of social gathering.)

    Be that as it may, the court found in the Hobby Lobby decision that we can’t be forced to act in a way that violates our beliefs.

    So I’m thinking of starting a Kickstarter campaign to hire a lawyer and take this case to the supreme court. A class-action lawsuit on behalf of every student whose religion defines interest as usury, and whose religion has the concept of debt forgiveness.

    Off the top of my head, that’s Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Probably some traditional native American religions as well, as acting on greed is generally considered to be a terrible thing in those religions. Considering Buddhism’s beliefs on property, they may be able to jump on with this class action lawsuit as well. And hey, Pastafarians? I’m not sure what his starchiness has to say about student loans, but I’m pretty sure you can jump on this boat too. Because the courts are also pretty clear: My religion doesn’t have to be reasonable. I don’t even have to prove that this is a reasonable interpretation of my own religion. I just have to believe it. Sincerely.

    Which I do.

    One hundred and crazy percent.

    While I know that making it legal to attack Wall Street bankers with whips is, sadly, never going to be a reality in this godless nation, it may be possible to have my student loans declared null and void. Or completely impossible.

    Whatever, I sincerely believe that I want to try.

    So whaddya think? Should I throw up a kickstarter to try to make enough money to hire a lawyer?

  24. I have to admit that I am amused. The Hobby Lobby decision is going to cause all sorts of chaos, but I would save your kickstarter plan, as there’s a glaring hole in the theory. The grand claim of Hobby Lobby was that a corporate soul (ha!) should not be forced to pay for things that violated the corporate owner’s religion. There are many reasons why the majority of the US Supreme Court that issued this decision will rue the day that they did so. But student loans is not one of them.

    The flaw in your theory is this: You were not forced to take out student loans, and you agreed to the terms in the contract. At least that’s the theory of contract law. Once you set aside your firmly-held (newly-discovered?) religious principles and opted to enter into the agreement, you can’t go back to them.

    That’s not license to endure fraud, however, and it does not excuse Career Education Corp’s blatant failures to truthfully tell you and others the real truth about the lack of value of the culinary degree and the truth behind how they calculated placement rates and sat on salary information. So yeah, their day will come.

    We need not whip them, by the way. Taking their money is far more painful. That is the plan.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  25. Andrew (and others following this thread)-The Court of Appeals heard oral argument in May. We are waiting for the Court of Appeals ruling. There are no fixed deadlines for a ruling. We will post when we have a ruling.

  26. i was wondering what was going on with the law suit i graduated in 2006 some time and was interested in the lawsuit if been looking for a job for years and ended up in sales and now in package foods i really looked forward to a job making food with my own hands but i only get to do that when i cook for my self at least for years at least please someone contact me

  27. What years are involved in the Lawsuit, I finished my classes in 1991. Great school at the time. Found a job in the food service and went on to become a Director of Food Service/Nutrition for a Health System. I would recomend any student to look into the food service for hospitals. Its a growing part of the field and the pay is above average. Lots of advancement and staedy work.

  28. I imagine things were different there in 1991. The classes included in the case are those who enrolled and attended between March 5, 2006-March 1, 2010.
    Thanks for the suggestion regarding hospital food service. I’ve heard from a number of people that institutional work may be a good pathway.


  29. I see the dates are March 5 06 to March 1 10. I was in attendance may 05 to Jul 06 and my student loans from here are unbearable. How do I get involved and how is the progress in this case?

  30. Unfortunately, your dates mean you are not included in the case. This is based on an early ruling by the trial court that defined the class period. The case is going very slowly.

  31. Hello. I am looking for more information about this case, and the progress of it.
    I am a 2006 “graduate” of the Pastry program. I attended from November 2005 – August 2006, and got stuck with about $30-40k in loans. I have since repaid the federal, but the private loans taken out have long since been in default.

  32. Hi Elisabeth- Those dates fall outside the class. Based on an early ruling of the court, the class period begins for those who enrolled and attended in early March 2006 up to 2010. (The exact dates are more precise than that, but regardless, your dates are outside the class period.)

  33. Any reasonable reason to be excited about the ruling in California concerning CEC/LCB?
    Thanks for your hard work David!

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