Maybe one can put a price on a child’s education? If you’re Gerald and Lily Chow of Hong Kong, that price happens to be $2.2 million. That’s how much the pair reportedly spent over four years on a Cambridge, Mass.-based education consultancy that basically guaranteed their two sons would get accepted to Harvard.
The investment flopped. Apparently Harvard — the school of Bo Guagua — has standards, because both of the Chow boys got rejected.
And now the Chows are suing, specifically Mark Zimny of IvyAdmit. Via Boston Globe:
The Chows say Zimny approached them at his graduation ceremony, claiming he was a professor at Harvard University, and that he could use his connections to help the sons get into New England boarding schools and Ivy League colleges.
The lawsuit says that Zimny made a number of false claims, including that he was a professor at Harvard.
“Zimny was never a Harvard professor; he had briefly been a visiting assistant professor and a lecturer, but any faculty relationship with Harvard had ended by June 30, 2005, two years before he met the Chows, the suit says.
…The Chows are from China, where college admission is simple and based largely on an exam score rather than a Byzantine process involving essays, extracurriculars, and intangibles. “A lot of them don’t understand how the American college system works,” said Elizabeth Stone, a consultant who has been approached by many Chinese hopefuls. “I think the mentality is, ‘you can buy your way in.’ ”
In Zimny’s lawyers’ failed motion for dismissal, they claim the Chows and Zimny made a “nebulous” agreement, i.e. Zimny never wrote in any contract that Harvard was a guarantee. Boston Globe again:
It goes on to argue that legal blame should lie with the Chows because “common law counts do not serve as an insurance policy for poor judgment, avarice, or any other of many human failings.” In other words: caveat emptor.
Ouch. Talk about rubbing it in. Not only were you duped into spending $2.2 million on education consulting, but now you learn that your decision to pay IvyAdmit, specifically, was in poor judgment.
Zimny must have figured that they aren’t getting any more cash cow clients after this incident, so why not throw the company under the bus to win this lawsuit?
By the way, a bit of advice for Chinese parents out there: stop looking for shortcuts to educate your kid.