Monday, October 26, 2020

Student caught in bribery scandal sues Georgetown for not realizing he was a fraud

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He may not play tennis, but he’s got plenty of balls.

A Georgetown student whose dad paid $400,000 to get his son into the elite college as a sham tennis recruit is suing the university for planning to oust him — saying they should have known he was a fake.

Adam Semprevivo says he wasn’t part of the shady deal, for which his dad has pleaded guilty and faces jail time, and put the blame squarely on college officials who failed to catch his bogus application.

“Despite the fact that these misrepresentations could have been easily verified and debunked before Georgetown formally admitted Semprevivo in April 2016, no one at Georgetown did so,” reads the lawsuit filed Wednesday in DC federal court.

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The student also points out the records he provided to the school show his athletic experience was far from the tennis court.

“In fact, Semprevivo’s high-school transcripts, on their face, reflect that Semprevivo’s athletic endeavor of choice was basketball and that he received credit for his participation on the basketball team.”

The university promptly announced its intention to expel him hours after the suit was filed.

Adam’s dad, Los Angeles executive Stephen Semprevivo, pleaded guilty last week to paying scam mastermind William “Rick” Singer $400,000 to nab his son a spot as an all-star tennis recruit — even though the kid wouldn’t recognize a forehand smash if it hit him in the head.

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The younger Semprevivo claims he had no idea his acceptance was finagled by his dad, one of the dozens of deep-pocketed parents — including “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman — charged in the college admissions scandal.

“Without the knowledge of Semprevivo, his father entered into an agreement with Singer to take specific steps for Semprevivo to be accepted to Georgetown,” the suit reads.

Adam Semprevivo was one of at least 12 students whom former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst designated as tennis recruits from 2012 to 2018 in exchange for Ernst’s accepting more than $2.7 million of bribes from Singer, prosecutors said.

Ernst left Georgetown in 2018. He pleaded not guilty in March to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

Semprevivo’s suit claims the school was aware of Ernst’s sham “recruitment practices” — but took his tuition money anyway.

“In or around 2017, Georgetown’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions became aware of irregularities in Coach Ernst’s recruitment practices . . . Coach Ernst was placed on leave in December 2017,” the suit says.

“For the 2018 and 2019 school years, tuition payments for Semprevivo of over $100,000 (and a total of over $200,000 was submitted since admission) were made to, and accepted by, Georgetown.”

Adam, who’s maintained a 3.18 grade-point average, offered to “resolve the matter” in an April 15 letter if Georgetown agreed to allow him to withdraw with no black marks on his transcript and transfer his full credits to a new school, the complaint said.

But the university sent him a letter Tuesday saying he was prohibited from withdrawing, prompting him to sue.

Georgetown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said the university wasn’t made aware of Ernst’s alleged involvement in the scam until it was contacted this year by the US Attorney’s Office.

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