A Georgetown University undergraduate, whose father pleaded guilty for his role in the national college admissions scandal, is suing the university for allegedly depriving him of his due process rights, and to stop any potential discipline.
Adam Semprevivo, who recently finished his junior year at Georgetown, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Washington federal court, claiming the university has subjected him to an “arbitrary” and “capricious” disciplinary process as it weighs possible punishment for him. The suit seeks damages in addition to injunctive relief.
“Georgetown has failed to conduct disciplinary proceedings in this case that comply with any notions of fundamental fairness,” the complaint said.
Hours after the lawsuit was filed, a university spokeswoman said Georgetown notified two students on Wednesday of its plans to rescind their admission.
Semprevivo’s attorney, David Kenner of the California-based firm Kenner & Greenfield, confirmed his client is one of those students. Kenner said he plans to file an amended complaint.
The statement from Georgetown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said, “Following the March 2019 indictments, Georgetown University began conducting a process of thoroughly reviewing the newly available information related to the alleged scheme, contacting current students who may have been involved, and giving each individual student an opportunity to respond. Knowingly misrepresenting or falsifying credentials in an application can be cause for rescinding the admission of the student and dismissal from Georgetown.”
Semprevivo’s lawsuit on Wednesday came after he sought to negotiate his exit. Kenner said Semprevivo had previously offered to withdraw from Georgetown if he could keep his academic credits. An in-house lawyer for the university rejected that offer on Tuesday, citing the ongoing investigation surrounding Semprevivo’s admission.
Kenner said on Wednesday that Semprevivo’s dismissal meant he would lose credits and could receive unfavorable notations on his transcript. He said the aim of Wednesday’s lawsuit is “to get Georgetown to understand that [Semprevivo is] entitled to the credits he had in the three years he’s gone there, and paid tuition for.”
Semprevivo’s father, California businessman Stephen Semprevivo, is one of the defendants in the national college admissions prosecution that’s ensnared wealthy parents and celebrities who allegedly paid an admissions consultant to secure their children’s entry to top-tier schools.
Semprevivo pleaded guilty this month to conspiring to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, admitting he paid consultant Rick Singer $400,000 to help get his son into Georgetown. Singer allegedly paid former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, who helped Semprevivo get admitted to the school by branding him as a tennis recruit.
In a copy of Caplan’s plea deal, Caplan and prosecutors agree that his guidelines offense level is 11, which translates to a recommended term of eight to 14 months in prison for someone with no criminal history.
Georgetown first notified Adam Semprevivo that it began an investigation related to his admission in April, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Georgetown was likely aware, or should have been aware, of the inconsistencies in Semprevivo’s admission in 2017.
The complaint says Georgetown committed a breach of contract with Semprevivo when it subjected him to a disciplinary proceeding that fell outside of the school’s codified set of rules and procedures for dealing with violations of the school’s honor system.
“Georgetown has flagrantly violated, and continues to violate, its own [Honor Council System Procedures] in relation to its investigation of Semprevivo,” the complaint said. “Virtually all aspects of the disciplinary procedures were ignored by Georgetown — despite Semprevivo calling attention to the violations throughout all phases of this process.”
Semprevivo’s complaint against Georgetown claims he first learned about the allegations against his father in the February indictment, and that Georgetown notified Semprevivo in April that it started an investigation in connection with his admission.
Semprevivo and his lawyer repeatedly raised concerns with the university about the way it was investigating him, including in an April letter Kenner addressed to Adam Adler, Georgetown’s in-house lawyer, complaining about the lack of standards or criteria for resolution.
Kenner claimed on Wednesday that Georgetown was aware of the circumstances surrounding Semprevivo’s admission as early as 2017. The Georgetown spokeswoman’s statement said the university “was not aware of any alleged criminal activity or acceptance of bribes by Mr. Ernst until it was later contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
In addition to Kenner, Semprevivo is represented by Washington-based lawyer Mark Zaid and two Fort Lauderdale-based attorneys, Alvin and Joshua Entin from the Entin Law Group.