Family Claims LULAC Rolled Them

     CHICAGO (CN) – A family claims LULAC promised its children $60,000 in college scholarships in return for the family’s spending “thousands of dollars” on a LULAC event, but never came up with the scholarships.
     Francisco Hernandez and his children sued the League of United Latin American Citizens, three other LULAC entities and four LULAC officers, in Cook County Court.
     The Hernandezes claim they organized a LULAC college scholarship fund raiser and spent thousands on it, only to see LULAC take the money and run.
     The family claims the defendants induced them to “pay fees to join LULAC and to front thousands of dollars to produce a LULAC scholarship dance. In return for this ‘guaranteed investment,’ the defendants represented to plaintiffs that Edward and George Hernandez had been selected to receive full-ride, two year college scholarships valued over $60,000.
     “Plaintiffs relied on the defendants’ representations, joined LULAC and performed all conditions imposed on them, but in the end, no college scholarships were provided to Edward and George Hernandez,” the family says in the complaint.
     In 2007 defendant Bernardo Huapaya attended Thanksgiving dinner with the Hernandez family, according to the complaint. He “held himself out as the vice president of [defendant] LULAC [of South America] Council #5269, a member of the LULAC national board of directors, and as a member of LULAC’s national fund raising committee,” the complaint states.
     “On this day, Francisco Hernandez told Huapaya that his sons had just started pursuing two-year college degrees at Flashpoint Academy, that tuition was $15,000 per year for each son, and that he could no longer pay the tuition because of recent financial difficulties.
     “On this day, Huapaya represented to the Hernandez family … that ‘LULAC has a solution to your problem,’ that ‘LULAC would provide the college money you need’ and that ‘I can get you the tuition from LULAC,'” according to the complaint.
     Huapaya told the Hernandez family that the brothers should become members of LULAC, so they each paid $25 to join.
     Huapaya also “told Hernandez that his family would have to contribute their own money to produce the scholarship dance (e.g., food, sound system, air and hotel accommodations for the band, printing tickets), but that he should ‘look at it as an investment to guarantee the scholarships,'” the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
     So, the family claims, they spent “thousands of dollars” to sponsor the dance, which over 270 people attended.
     But “the defendants never transmitted any college tuitions funds to Edward or George Hernandez or directly to Flashpoint Academy,” nor did they reimburse the family for their expenses, according to the complaint.
     The family seeks punitive damages for fraud, consumer fraud, conspiracy, promissory fraud, promissory estoppel, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
     Defendants include LULAC National Educational Service Centers, LULAC of Cicero Council #5211, Bernardo Huapaya, Manuel Pacheco, Maggie Rivera and [Cicero chapter president] Blanca Vargas.
     The Hernandezes are represented by Antonio DeBlasio, with DeBlasio & Donnell, of Oak Brook.

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