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Cyndy Garvey Says UCLA Reneged on Deal

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Television personality Cyndy Garvey claims in court that UCLA reneged on a promise of free tuition to pursue a master's degree in public health, after using her name to raise money for its program.

Cynthia Truhan aka Cyndy Garvey sued The Regents of the University of California in Superior Court. She seeks a court order that that she does not owe UCLA $20,000 in tuition, plus at least $25,000 in damages.

A TV host and the ex-wife of retired Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, Truhan says she was approached by her friend Allen Miller and UCLA representative Fred Hagigi in 2007 and asked to enroll in the school public health program.

Miller owns COPE Health Solutions and is an alumnus of the masters program, and Hagigi is the program's former director, according to the complaint.

Though Truhan does not name Miller or Hagigi as defendants, she claims they were "agents" of UCLA.

Truhan claims Miller and Hagigi said they wanted her to enroll so she could attend alumni events and fund raisers to generate buzz for the program.

She says she told them that she "had little interest" in a public health degree, but that Hagigi and Miller promised her a free ride if she helped the school.

"Specifically, Miller and Hagigi agreed to split these fees and costs fifty-fifty between Miller's company COPE and UCLA itself, acting by and through program director Hagigi. Truhan would never have enrolled in the MPH [Master's of Public Health] program if she had to incur any obligation to pay tuition fees and costs to UCLA, which she explained to Hagigi and Miller," she says in the 8-page complaint.

From her 2007 enrollment until she graduated two years later, UCLA raised money through her presence at events, and enrollment in the program increased, the complaint states.

Hagigi and Miller made it clear that she was not expected to pay for the program, and Truhan claims she never signed any agreement with UCLA and never was invoiced for tuition.

However, "Approximately three years after plaintiff Truhan graduated from UCLA's MPH program, California's franchise tax board notified plaintiff Truhan in 2012 that her $82 tax refund had been redirected to UCLA's collections office to be levied against an unpaid debt to defendant. When plaintiff Truhan made inquiries as to this 'unpaid debt,' she learned that defendant in fact had ex post facto decided to charge her approximately $20,000 for her enrollment in the two-year MPH program, had placed this 'unpaid debt' into collections, and was actively trying to collect these funds from Truhan," the complaint states.

Truhan claims she "reached out" to UCLA to explain the agreement she made with Miller and Hagigi, but her "efforts were unsuccessful," and UCLA refuses to acknowledge that she does not owe the fees.

Garvey has hosted and co-hosted several TV and radio shows, including the 1980s novelty sports series "Games People Play," and "The Morning Show" with Regis Philbin.

She is represented by Keith Fink of Fink & Steinberg.

The Regents of the University of California declined to comment.

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