Hong Kong people are so rich! They will offer $65 million to dudes who can marry their lesbian daughters. They spend $50 million on apartments. And they spend $2.2 million in hopes that a college consultant could get their sons into Harvard. However, in the case of Gerald and Lily Chow, they are pretty unhappy that paying $2.2 million resulted in rejection letters... so they are suing! Whatever happened to old-fashioned Tiger parenting? Or the whole "preschool ruined my kid's chances for Harvard" lawsuit?
The Chows say that Mark Zimny claimed he was a former Harvard professor who could help get their sons into the the school through his company Ivy/Admit. According to the Boston Globe, "First, Zimny’s company would provide tutoring and supervision while the boys attended American prep schools. Then, according to a complaint and other documents the Chows filed as part of a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston, Zimny said he would grease the admissions wheels, funneling donations to elite colleges while also investing on the Chows’ behalf. According to the suit, Zimny warned the Chows against giving to schools directly. 'Embedded racism' made development offices wary of Asian donors, he allegedly advised them; better to use his company as a middleman. Over two years, the Chows gave IvyAdmit $2.2 million."
Zimny's plan to the Chows also said (per the lawsuit—PDF), "Many of the foreign students are shunned, made fun of and treated as 'second class” citizens at U.S. boarding schools due to their cultural differences, eating habits or other forces that make them ‘different’.... They are viewed by many of the teachers and school officials as a ‘necessary evil’, e.g. students and families that are necessary for the health of the school because of their ability to contribute financially, but not welcomed to have a real ‘seat at the table’...."
The Independent Educational Consultants Association, IECA, says Zimny was not part of their group and the Globe reports that the group "bars two of his alleged practices — raising family fears that admissions are cutthroat, and acting as a middleman for donations." IECA added that his fees were crazy—$8,000/month for two years, plus a $2 million retainer.
Zimny denies wrongdoing and his lawyers say that nothing was guaranteed: "Common law counts do not serve as an insurance policy for poor judgment, avarice, or any other of many human failings." Well, in the movie, maybe Sacha Baron Cohen can play Zimny.