HONOLULU (CN) – Hawaii claims the Honolulu University Consortium, an online “college,” falsely advertises itself as an accredited, degree-granting institution, and blew off a state order to cease and desist.
Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection sued Honolulu University Consortium LLC in First Circuit Court.
HUC is the only named defendant, though the complaint refers repeatedly to HUC’s managing member, Arthur O. Yamada.
The state says that Yamada formed HUC in June 2011, as a Delaware corporation, “in order to operate a Higher Learning Institution that is empowered to issue legal diplomas and grant degrees.” But HUC was never registered as a foreign corporation in Hawaii, the state says.
Also in June 2011, Yamada opened an account at the commercial mail drop, in the name of Honolulu University Consortium. HUC registered a website in March 2011, the state says.
“The website was replete with false and/or misleading statements,” the state says. “They included the following, ‘HUC is a non-profit Higher Learning Institution licensed in the state of Delaware. HUC is empowered to issue diplomas and grant degrees.’ In fact, the state of Delaware has never licensed or empowered HUC to issue diplomas and grant degrees and its Attorney General on February 27, 2012 advised HUC to cease and desist such statements.
“In addition, HUC’s website claimed that a bachelor’s degree can be earned in as little as three years. The website also, however, touted a convocation ceremony in Japan which took place on November 2, 2011 at which time degrees were awarded. Thus, these students obtained their degrees less than six months after HUC was even incorporated.”
The state adds: “HUC is not now and never has been accredited by an accrediting agency or association recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.
“HUC is an ‘unaccredited institution’ as that phrase is defined in Hawaii Rev. Stat. §446E-1.”
HUC’s “admission office” is its mail drop box, the state says.
Hawaii says HUC has blown off its requests for records and to answer certain questions.
The state seeks a restraining order and injunction, civil fines and restitution.