Full Response to AG

Purpose

TTSI believes that it has operated ethically, legally, and in good faith. TTSI worked for years on behalf of the teachers to help them fulfill their dream of teaching in the U.S, and we did it without any compensation. Now that the teachers have achieved their dream, we believe that we have a right to be paid according to the contract they signed with TTSI.

We are providing this full response so that you may review the entire AG complaint against TTSI and our responses. We ask that out of fairness and integrity, before assuming that the AG’s complaint has any merit, please read our response, too. You’ll find that there is another side to the story.

Go here to read the summary of the complaint and our response.

Section title: Factual Allegations Common to All Complaints
(items 19 – 42)
Item # AG Statements and Responses

19

Note: All the items before this are identification of TTSI and the AG’s role, and a description of the venue.

AG: TTSI has at all times relevant to this complaint been engaged in recruiting teachers from the Philippines to teach in New Mexico school districts. Plaintiff acknowledges New Mexico’s current teacher shortage, and support bringing in teachers from other states other countries when done so in an ethical manner.

TTSI Response: Yes, this is what TTSI does.

20

AG: TTSI operates a website to advertise its business to New Mexico schools, and to potential applicants from overseas: http://www.totalteachingsolutions.us.

TTSI Response: Yes, we do. (You’re here now.)

21

AG: According to its website, TTSI helps to place teachers from the Philippines in New Mexico schools by:

a. Providing a contact person to help applicants apply to the World Education Service (“WES”) for a credential evaluation; TTSI Response: Yes, we do.

b. Collecting applicants’ documents in order to file their application with the New Mexico Public Education Department (“NMPED”); TTSI Response: Yes, we do.

c. Arranging job interviews with potential school employers; TTSI Response: Yes, we do.

d. Helping the school employer sponsor the applicant and obtain a J-1

TTSI Response: We deny this.

The web site does not make this claim on any page. Can the AG provide a copy of the page, with the text clearly marked, that makes this claim? (Note to you: You’re on the site. Can you find it?)

Importantly, this is not how the J-1 program works. The employer does not sponsor the applicant in the J-1 program. This statement seems to mistake the J-1 program with the H-1B program in which the employer does sponsor the applicant. In the J-1 program, the applicant is sponsored by a federally approved visa sponsor and not by the employer.

Related to obtaining a J-1 visa, the TTSI web site says “Facilitating the J-1 visa application” and “We will help you [foreign teachers] with the steps to obtain a J-1 visa. We will work with the sponsoring agency on your behalf to ensure you can receive your visa as quickly as possible.” These statements on the web site neither state nor suggest that TTSI helps the school employer sponsor the applicant and obtain a J-1 visa.

22

AG: TTSI collects fees from prospective applicants for this process before they are hired or guaranteed a job. 

TTSI response: We deny this.

Fees are collected as pass-through funds for the teacher licensure application fee and the background check. A minimal amount is collected to cover filing, postal services, delivery, file management, and taxes.

TTSI does not collect fees for placement services until after teachers already have been in their teaching positions for several months, which is after all services have been performed.

The entire process, from first contact through acquisition of a teaching position, can take several years, during which time TTSI receives no compensation for placement services.

23

AG: TTSI places teachers under H-1B or J-1 visas.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI helps clients find jobs, and the visa sponsors issue the J-1 visas. Clients come to the U.S. with a J-1 visa. A limited number of teachers in early TTS history were sponsored by their future employers for the H-1B visa.

TTSI is a placement service that connects applicants with potential employers and then connects hired teachers with a federally authorized J-1 visa sponsor. The visa sponsors (federally approved organizations for the J-1 program) are responsible for accepting the applicant into the J-1 visa program.

24

AG: The J-1 program allows teachers to teach in the U.S. for five (5) years. 

TTSI Response: Yes, that is how the program works. The program is for 3 years, but visa holders may apply for a 2-year extension. However, it would be more accurate to say “up to five years.”

25

AG: TTSI misleads teachers regarding TTSI’s actual role in obtaining the required immigration visas for teaching positions as they have no authority to obtain these visas on behalf of the teacher. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

No TTSI information claims that TTSI has the authority to issue visas. Rather, TTSI correctly communicates that if an applicant receives a job offer, TTSI will connect the applicant with a federally authorized visa sponsor.

As stated on the TTSI web site, “We will help you with the steps to obtain a J-1 visa. We will work with the sponsoring agency on your behalf to ensure you can receive your visa as quickly as possible.”

The placement agreement with clients also states, “If Teacher receives an employment offer, TTSI will direct Teacher to a federally authorized J-1 program sponsor for obtaining documentation and visa for Teacher to travel to, and work in, the United States.”

Note: The AG does not understand the J-1 program and is making accusations based on its lack of understanding. The visas that teachers receive are not immigration visas. They are visas for temporary entry to the U.S. for cultural exchange programs. Teachers may not immigrate to the U.S. under a J-1 visa.

26

AG: TTSI could not process the application as a J-1 Visa, since they did not receive a Letter of No Objection from the NM Public Education Department and TTSI was not allowed to operate in New Mexico for those purposes.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

This claim is egregiously wrong for several reasons.

First, TTSI is not a visa sponsor and does not process visas, claim to process visas, or issue visas to teaching applicants.

This allegation assumes TTSI cannot process applications for a J-1 visa because TTSI does not have a No Objection Letter from the NM PED. Approval from the NM PED is irrelevant to the services TTSI provides. The real reason is that TTSI cannot process J-1 visas because TTSI is not a federally authorized J-1 visa sponsor. TTSI makes no claims to be a visa sponsor.

This allegation notes that “TTSI was not allowed to operate in New Mexico for those purposes.” TTSI does not operate in New Mexico for these purposes, allowed or not, and makes no claims to do so, which means this complaint is irrelevant to TTSI. Rather, TTSI connects the applicant to an authorized visa sponsor that is allowed to “operate in New Mexico for those purposes.”

Second, the requirement for a letter of No Objection is a requirement ONLY for visa sponsors.

Federal regulations governing the J-1 Cultural Exchange Program indicate that new visa sponsors are required to receive a No Objection Letter from the local State Education Agency in order to sponsor participants in that state. The federal regulation does not make a similar statement about placement agencies, recruiters, or other third-party participants in the process.

TTSI, as a placement company and not a visa sponsor, does not require a No Objection letter. This allegation demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of the J-1 program and the roles of the various organizations involved in the J-1 process.

Third, the NM PED first instituted this policy of approving placement agencies in 2019, after the clients in question had already received the full placement services.

Please note that TTSI has repeatedly queried the NM PED regarding the regulatory, policy, or legal justification for their requirement that placement agencies receive a No Objection Letter from the PED in order to operate in the state, given all other legal requirements are met for business operations, or for their assumption of having the authority to make such a determination about a private company. The NM PED has provided no justification, evidence, or support for this practice.

The NM PED has also not explained or justified its claim to having the authority to determine where or from what organizations school districts are allowed to identify potential teaching applicants. TTSI notes that districts have no such restriction on where they may find potential applicants, so long as the applicants have the credentials required by the NM PED for licensure.

In requiring placement agencies to apply for NM PED authorization, the NM PED usurps the authority of such state agencies that provide oversight of commercial activities, e.g., Public Regulation Commission, Secretary of State. This is particularly troubling given that the NM PED has not only created a common misunderstanding about the nature of the J-1 program overall but also created a hostile business environment that establishes preferential treatment of some businesses and damages others—without having the authority to do so. The fact that this statement is in the AG’s complaint demonstrates the wide-spread misunderstanding that the NM PED has fostered.

If the AG is going to use this allegation as part of its complaint, then it has the responsibility to demonstrate that

  1. TTSI has promoted itself as a visa sponsor,
  2. the federal regulation for visa sponsors to acquire a No Objection Letter applies to TTSI, and
  3. the NM PED has the authority to approve which private companies may operate in NM.

27

AG: TTSI may have used its association with Dr. George Bickert, Superintendent of Ruidoso Schools, to create legitimacy for the company, and to help network with other New Mexico school districts. Dr. George Bickert actively corresponded with teachers in the collection of unpaid fees and represented himself as instituting new accounting procedures for TTSI in 2017.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

“May have used” is highly speculative and cannot form the basis of a legitimate allegation.

We do admit that Dr. Bickert provided, in a few cases, correspondence on his wife’s behalf. Given that TTSI does not conduct any business in Ruidoso Independent School District, his limited involvement poses no conflict of interest.

TTSI would like to see the supportive regulation or law that precludes any one person from supporting or assisting in the conduct of a spouse’s business when such activity does not constitute conflict of interest or similar violation.

28

AG: TTSI requires that applicants sign a “Teacher-Financing Agreement” and select a payment plan for payment of TTSI’s fees. These “Teacher-Financing Agreements” do not detail any of the services for which the teacher has contracted with TTSI, but specifically reference a previous “Teacher- Terms of Services Agreement.” Upon information and belief, many of TTSI’s applicants never receive copies or agree in writing to the “Teacher-Terms of Services Agreement”.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

The AG has, apparently, examined an old version of the contract, which is only applicable to a small percentage of clients. Since early 2018, TTSI has used a more comprehensive contract that fully details TTSI services and obligations and client obligations. Based on our email records, all clients have received a copy of their relevant agreements.

The term “information and belief” means the AG has not reviewed the evidence but has, instead, relied on hearsay, i.e., the AG received second-hand information damaging TTSI and has chosen to operate on that information without separate or direct examination of any evidence.

In this case, the AG’s office relied upon information from a small group of teachers, or their lawyers, who have filed a suit against TTSI as a strategy to avoid paying for the placement services they already received.

Furthermore, the term “many” is qualitative–an opinion. To make this claim, the AG needs to demonstrate not only the number and percentage of clients who fall within this argument but also that such clients represent a majority of clients.

29

AG: TTSI’s website claims that before applicants start their teaching position, they “only pay for the license application and background check fees, plus a very small processing fee  to TTSI. Total cost: $399.00.” 

TTSI Response: Yes, this is true.

Of the $399 that teachers pay, the majority of costs are used for the NM PED teaching license application fee (at cost) and the background processing check processing fee (also at cost). A minor remaining balance was for processing, e.g., postal service, mileage, filing, taxes, and similar operating costs.

30

AG: TTSI website also claims that “[w]hen starting your new teaching job, your total cost for all of their support and services, including the visa fees, will be less than 10% of your teaching salary.” 

TTSI Response: Yes, this is true.

The website does state this, and it is a true statement. Simple mathematical calculations demonstrate the truth of this statement.

During the period covered by the contract, teachers will make a minimum salary in the range of $126,000 to $180,000. Furthermore, during this time period, the total payable for placement services already provided will be $9,990. Thus, the percentage of a client’s salary paid to TTSI will range from an approximate maximum of 7.9% to a minimum less than 5.5%.

Given the requirements for participating in the J-1 program, few teachers receive Level I licenses. The great majority of clients are Level II or Level III teachers (85 of 87 clients, 97.7%), making a minimum annual salary of $50,000 ($150,000 over 3 years) or $60,000 ($180,000 over 3 years), respectively.

Of the 87 clients in the TTSI database, only 2 clients (2.2%) were Level I teachers. Of these 2 teachers, one client is currently within 2 payments of completing (the other Level I teacher is a new client), thus indicating that even Level I teachers are able to fulfill their payment obligations at their salary level.

Even when visa fees are included in the total fees, the percentage of a teacher’s salary paid to placement and visa fees will still be less than 10% of the salary received by the teacher.

First-year visa fees range from approximately $1,100 to $1,900, with lesser amounts in subsequent years.

Example: The most-costly visa sponsor used by TTSI clients charges $1,900 for year-one fees and $800 per year following. Thus, the maximum a teacher may pay during the contract period, if sponsored by the most expensive visa sponsor, will be $9,990 (to TTSI) + $1,900 + $800 + $800 = $13,490. This equates to 9% of the salary for a Level II teacher or 7.5% of the salary for a Level III teacher.

Also note that within the program time frame, a Level I client will likely advance to a Level II license, reducing the percentage of salary paid for visa and placement fees combined.

Furthermore, the minimum salary for a Level I teacher represents the legal minimum for a first-year Level I teacher. Given that a teacher must have a minimum of 2 year’s teaching experience to enter the J-1 program, a Level I teacher is likely to receive greater than this minimal amount during the teacher’s first year in the U.S. and will likely advance to Level II during the program period.

If the AG’s office is going to allege that teachers pay more than 10% of their salary for placement fees, the AG’s office will need to provide the base salary and the total visa sponsorship for every client and perform a valid mathematical calculation to demonstrate that teachers are paying more than 10% of their base salary for fees.

31

AG: The TTSI website currently advertises the following rates for New Mexico teachers:

    1. Level 1 teachers – $41,000
    2. Level 2 teachers – $52,000
    3. Level 3 teachers – $60,000

TTSI Response: Yes, that is what we posted on the web site.

To the best of our knowledge at the time this information was posted, these were the legal minimums for teacher salaries. If these figures are incorrect, the AG is invited to determine the percentage paid towards fees based on the accurate amounts.

32

AG: However, many applicants do not know their future salary when they sign the financing agreement.

TTSI Response: We deny this as being a disingenuous argument.

The State has determined minimum legal salaries, and the basis of the claim that fees will not exceed 10% of salary is these legal minimums.

Following the calculations provided in response to item 30 above, TTSI truthfully declares that no teacher will pay more than 10% of his or her salary for placement services already performed, whether or not the teacher is aware of the actual salary amount when signing an agreement with TTSI.

33

AG: TTSI charges exorbitant and excessive fees for the placement services they provide, averaging about $15,000 per teacher, in excess of the advertised 10% of the teaching salary.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

No teacher is paying $15,000. The full charge for any and every client is $9,990. (We note that the terms “exorbitant” and “excessive” are subjective.)

In the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, total fees and monthly installment amounts were lowered for all J-1 clients, not only new, incoming teachers but also retroactively to existing teachers. Although existing teachers had a valid and binding agreement to pay $15,000 in monthly installments of $403, TTSI lowered their fees significantly by 33.4% to $9,990, even for those clients who had opted to default on their existing, voluntarily signed agreements.

If the “information and belief” of the AG is predicated on a service charge of $15,000, then the AG has received faulty information and has not done the evidence review necessary to correct this misunderstanding.

(Please note that the majority of the AG’s claim seems to be copied from the lawsuit by 6 teachers against TTSI, as indicated by inappropriately copied text in items 54 and 78 below and nearly identical claims throughout. Thus, it is relevant to know that the first version of the legal complaint filed by the teachers did admit that TTSI lowered the fees from $15,000 to $9,990. The amended complaint stated that TTSI “claimed” to lower the fees to $9,990.

The AG’s office was apparently not told about the reduction in fees or modifications to the teachers’ complaint, and the information the AG received and copied from the teachers’ counsel did not include this information. The AG’s office may wish to ask the lawyers for the teachers why they have withheld that information from the AG, which has caused the AG to make faulty, easily disproven, claims against TTSI.)

34

AG: Several other companies operating in the State of New Mexico that provide nearly identical services on average charge $4,000 per teacher. Considering New Mexico’s current teacher shortage, Plaintiff supports bringing in teachers from outside the country if it is done ethically.

TTSI Response: We deny this as being irrelevant.

Some other companies charge less, and some charge more. The AG’s complaint results from spurious reasoning that all companies must charge the same or similar amounts.

For analogous consideration, some common over the counter drugs are sold at a high price when equivalent generic brands are sold at a lower cost, and yet no claim is made that companies are not allowed to offer the higher-priced options for voluntary acceptance and purchase by consumers.

Furthermore, some of the lower-cost companies have high additional fees for “add-on” services. TTSI does not have any additional fees for any additional services or support.

35

AG: Once in the United States, teachers are forced to pay previously undisclosed additional fees, placement fees, or sign additional refinancing contracts.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

First, there are no previously undisclosed additional fees. In fact, the only additional fees that may be incurred are for late payment on monthly installments. These fees are commonly waived when teachers make a good-faith effort to catch up on payments.

Second, there are no additional placement fees – none and in no way. Rather than “forcing” teacher to pay undisclosed placement fees, TTSI lowered their fees.

Third, the only additional refinancing agreement teachers were asked to sign made no material changes to the prior agreement other than to lower total and installment fees by 33.4%, which is more than $5,000!

Nearly all teachers (75%) opted to sign the revised agreement (with the lower fees), though 25% did not (primarily consisting of those who were in litigation with TTSI over their long-standing refusal to pay their placement fees, as well as their close associates).

However, even for the 25% of teachers who did not sign the new agreement, TTSI still lowered their fees by removing over $5,000 from their total fees.

Invoicing, billing records, account statements, and email records not only provide evidence that TTSI lowered the fees but also demonstrate that the teachers were informed that their fees have been lowered.

36

AG: Teachers who are unable to pay the required installment of around $400 per month are subject to late fees. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

First, no clients are expected to pay “around $400 per month.” See the response to item 33, in which TTSI explains that total fees for all clients was reduced by more than $5,000 to $9,990 and that monthly installment charges were lowered from $403 to $333.

Second, this allegation makes the faulty assumption that clients do not pay the monthly installment fees because they are unable to do so, which may not be true.

To make this claim, the AG will need to demonstrate 1. that the teachers do not earn sufficient income to pay this amount and 2. that no teachers have made voluntary expenditures (e.g., purchase of new cars) beyond their budget capacity that reduce their ability to pay existing obligations.

Certainly, the evidence from the majority of TTSI clients demonstrates that the teachers are able to make the payments. TTSI notes that some teachers even make payments in excess of the minimum required payment. A more accurate statement may be that teachers choose not to pay the required installment or choose to make other voluntary financial obligations that reduce their ability to pay their obligation to TTSI.

Third, late fees are a common practice in business enterprises.

In many industries, a client who misses making a payment will be assessed a late fee. These fees serve first to dissuade clients from falling behind in their payments. Also, for TTSI they provide a vehicle for encouraging clients to catch up on payments.

To explain: late fees allow the abused company waiting for payment [TTSI] to make an offer to waive the fees if the client makes a good faith effort to catch up on payments. Unlike companies in many industries (e.g., credit cards), TTSI regularly waives the late fees for clients who make a good faith effort to catch up on late payments.

TTSI notes that the removal of late fees, such as practiced by TTSI, is a generous offer when those fees have been legitimately incurred and is uncommon across other industries, such a banking and credit card companies or even the public library.

37

AG: Teachers who have not been able to pay those fees have been threatened with legal action.

TTSI Response: Yes, we did this…and for a good reason.

When, after months and months of attempts to collect on grossly past-due payments, TTSI has notified relevant clients that it may seek legal action.

Small claims court, where such legal actions may occur, is a common and natural venue for service agencies and others to seek remedy for an extended period of non-payment. In fact, the reason why small claims proceedings exist is that they are intended to be relied upon when all other attempts to collect have failed, as in the case of a limited number of TTSI clients.

TTSI notes that such warnings of potential legal action, too, were an attempt to encourage non-paying clients to fulfill their contractual obligations.

As before, this allegation suggests that the teachers were “unable to pay,” when that has not been established.

In fact, no teachers with a legitimate inability to pay due to events outside their control have received any notice of legal action resulting from non-payment. Nor have such teachers been asked or expected to pay any fees during those times of inability. In such cases, email evidence, billing histories, and account statements demonstrate that invoicing during those times was suspended.

38

AG: Teachers who have not been able to pay have been threatened with being reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or with a change in their immigration status.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

This allegation promotes the assumption that any teacher who has fallen behind on payments will be reported or threatened, and this is simply not true.

TTSI did indicate to a few teachers that USCIS may be contacted due to the teachers’ involvement in activities that demonstrated their interest in defrauding the U.S. government and violating the terms of their J-1 program participation.

A condition of the eligibility for participation in the J-1 program is that the teacher “is of good reputation and character.” Also, as part of the eligibility requirements, a candidate must agree to “come to the United States temporarily…” (22 CFR 62.24). Teachers who have received such notice of potential reporting to USCIS were in violation of the eligibility terms for the J-1 program by not exhibiting the required “good reputation and character” and by demonstrating their intent to violate the temporary nature of the program.

By their own actions, the teachers may, in fact, jeopardize their eligibility for continuing in the J-1 program.

To remain in good standing with the federal government and the federally authorized visa sponsors, TTSI believes it has the obligation to report attempts to defraud the U.S. government and violate the terms of the J-1 visa.

Furthermore, this allegation suggests that the reason why some teachers did not make their payments was because they were unable to pay, rather than 1. making other voluntary expenditures that reduced their ability to fulfill their contractual obligations (e.g. purchase new cars, pay fees for additional family members to join them in the U.S.) or 2. simply choosing not to pay.

Certainly, as demonstrated by the majority of TTSI clients, all clients have the ability to make their payments in a timely manner. If a few teachers decide not to pay their fees, they are doing so voluntarily.

Finally, non-payment of fees has not necessarily resulted in any negative response or action from TTSI.

Evidence from client communications and client billing histories demonstrates that in cases in which clients had a justifiable reason, due to events not resulting from their personal choices, for not being able to pay (e.g., hospitalization, loss of job, even the birth of a new child), TTSI did not request or require the teachers to pay any fees for the period of time in question.

As before, under item 36, to make this claim, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. the teachers do not have the ability to pay this amount and
  2. no teachers have made voluntary expenditures (e.g., purchase of new cars) beyond their budget capacity that reduce their ability to pay existing obligations.

It could be reasonably expected for teachers making more than $50,000 or $60,000 per year should have the ability to make a $333 per month fee–whether or not they choose to–as demonstrated by most TTSI clients.

Furthermore, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. the few teachers in question have fulfilled and intend to fulfill their requirements for eligibility for the J-1 program, and
  2. any breach of visa eligibility requirements is not an issue of concern for USCIS, i.e., that the USCIS does not have a need to know when program participants act in a manner that is contrary to the terms and conditions of their visas.
39

AG: On October 7, 2019, TTSI filed eight lawsuits in Carrizozo Magistrate Court for breach of contract against eight teachers. See Case Nos. M-30-CV-2019-00026 through -33.

TTSI Response: Yes, this is true.

These were small claims complaints for long-outstanding past due amounts, as is appropriate for a small claims filing. Lawsuits were finally filed after months of unsuccessful attempts to collect on payments due.

40

AG: TTSI was represented by private counsel.

TTSI Response: We admit this, generally.

At the time of filing, we did not have the assistance of private counsel. Counsel was obtained later based on the judge’s order to TTSI.

41

AG: All eight of the teachers retained private counsel in those matter, which at this time are all set for jury trials. 

TTSI Response: Unknown (at the time)

The teachers did retain private counsel. At the time that the AG’s office filed its complaint, there was no scheduling order for a jury trial. Now there is.

42

AG: The complaints alleged breach of contract by the defendants for failure to pay their monthly fees.

TTSI Response: We admit this.

TTSI notes that these 8 teachers were not behind in payments by one or two or, even, three months. Rather, they were behind by 4 or more months. No other attempts to collect past-due amounts and avoid legal action were successful.

TTSI had no recourse, and no other remaining options, but to plead for support from the legal system. We didn’t know what else to do.

Section title: Count One: TTSI Engages in Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
(items 43-55)
Item # AG Statements and Responses

46

Note: Items 43-45 are definitions.

AG: TTSI’s advertising makes unsupported, inaccurate, and ambiguous assertions regarding their ability to help teachers obtain teaching credentials and J-1 Visas

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI has helped teachers obtain a teaching license, evidenced by the fact that 100% of clients come to New Mexico possessing a license they acquired through the assistance of TTSI.

Also, 100% of clients in New Mexico have been successfully connected to an authorized J-1 visa sponsor, as required to enter the J-1 program.

These facts support the TTSI claim and demonstrate their accuracy. In fact, teachers don’t owe anything to TTSI for placement services unless both of these occurred.

Furthermore, the AG’s office apparently has “information and belief” that TTSI claims to issue visas when, in fact, TTSI has never made that claim.

47

AG: TTSI willfully represents that services have characteristics, uses, or benefits that they do not have when negotiating the “Teacher-Terms of Service” agreements with Filipino individuals in violation of UPA.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Did teachers get a teaching license, a job, and a visa? These are benefits.

As noted previously, the AG’s office is referring to a contractual agreement that only applied to a small minority of clients. Since early 2018, TTSI has used a far more comprehensive agreement that clarifies all services and obligations of the company and the client. However, the core services described and the obligations agreed to by the clients did not materially change from the initial agreements with clients.

Since issuance of those initial, limited agreements, however, TTSI lowered the financial burden for all teachers, even those bound under the original agreement, by 33.4%, i.e., more than $5,000.

TTSI claims to assist in connecting applicants to school districts seeking candidates, and this is exactly what TTSI does.

TTSI also claims to assist teachers in obtaining their New Mexico teaching licenses. TTSI does this, too.

TTSI claims to provide as-needed assistance with relocation. TTSI has a history of providing such services, including airport pick-up, identifying housing options, and even, in some cases, providing household goods to assist with the relocation transition. (TTSI notes that several of the teachers with whom TTSI is in litigation, and on whose word the AG has apparently developed its “information and belief” about TTSI, received free furniture and other household items, and even had their housing deposit paid by TTSI, upon arrival in the U.S.)

The AG’s office seems to suggest that these services have no uses or benefits to TTSI clients. TTSI denies that these services are without value or benefit to clients. Testimonies from clients, including teachers who are in litigation against TTSI, repeatedly communicate that teachers believed TTSI services were personally valuable.

For further information about the real value and benefits of TTSI services, staff at the AG’s office may wish to review the video on the home page of the TTSI website. In this video, TTSI clients, in their own words, describe the benefits and value of TTSI services. The first person on the video providing testimony about TTSI’s services is one of the litigants against TTSI and is now providing information to the AG’s office that TTSI’s services have no value.

TTSI points to the fact that many new clients first contact TTSI for services based on the recommendation of current or prior clients. Current or prior clients, through their lived experience, attest to the value of TTSI services and recommend to their colleagues and friends that they engage TTSI’s services based on their value they believe they have received. In fact, some of the litigant teachers even made such recommendations.

Finally, TTSI offers the reminder that clients do not pay any fees for placement services until after the client is in his or her new U.S. teaching position for several months, regardless of how long or how many years TTSI has worked on the client’s behalf to reach that point. In fact, the email documentation demonstrates that in some cases, TTSI worked on clients’ behalf for 3 or more years without compensation.

48

AG: TTSI takes advantage of a lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of a person to a grossly unfair degree when negotiating these “Teacher- Financing Agreement” contracts with Filipino individuals seeking teaching positions in New Mexico. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI wonders if the AG’s office has examined the agreement that has been in place for the last 3 years.

TTSI offers the reminder that the clients are all credentialed adults with at least a bachelor’s degree and 2 or more years of professional experience. All teachers have, at a minimum, sufficient English skills to teach in English, as required by the J-1 program.

TTSI wonders what knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity the AG’s office suggests the clients are lacking, given that this allegation seems to espouse the mistaken idea that the teachers do not have the knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity to read an agreement, understand the nature of the J-1 program, research a variety of placement service agencies, or make voluntary decisions.

This seems to be a rather insulting statement by the AG’s office towards the professional and experienced teachers.

TTSI has accurately described its services as

  • assisting clients to obtain a NM teaching license (this service was provided, and all teachers have the license),
  • identifying potential hiring school districts (this service was provided, and teachers were invited to interview for positions by school district personnel),
  • facilitating the hiring process (this service was provided, and each teacher received a job offer),
  • connecting clients to J-1 visa sponsors (this service was provided, and all clients teaching in New Mexico obtained their J-1 visas), and
  • providing as-needed relocation assistance (this service, too, was provided, and each teacher needing assistance was provided with options for housing and other similar supports, as relevant).

TTSI does not take advantage of clients but, instead, has provided the full scope of services promised plus additional support above and beyond the contracted services.

49

AG: TTSI willfully misleads the teachers when stating “[w]hen starting your new teaching job, your total cost for all of their support and services, including the visa fees, will be less than 10% of your teaching salary” when in fact they could not possibly know that and is typically in excess of 10% of their annual salary.

TTSI Response: We deny that we have mislead anyone.

The total fees are less than 10% of the teaching salary, as can be demonstrated by the use of simple mathematics.

Although TTSI might not know the actual salary amount, TTSI does know the minimum possible amount–because it is determined by law. Even if the teacher receives the minimum legally possible teaching salary, TTSI and visa fees combined will be less than 10% of that amount. TTSI’s claim is, therefore, true.

Here is the formula that TTSI uses to make its true claim:
Total fees / minimum possible salary = percentage of salary

TTSI would be interested in seeing the mathematical calculations used by the AG’s office that result in greater than 10% of salary paid towards fees.

Now, with actual numbers:

Taking into account the TTSI fees of $9,990 and the highest likely visa sponsorship fees of $3,500 over the 3-year contract period, the total fees will be, at most, $13,490. During this time, teachers will earn, at a minimum, $126,000 to $180,000, depending on their teaching level.

When this amount ($9,990) is divided by the salary that an individual teacher receives, the resulting percentage for is in the approximate range of 5.5% to 7.9%, which is lower than 10% and which demonstrates the truthfulness of TTSI’s claim.

Even for the 2 current clients at the Level I teaching level, the percentage is below 10%, given their actual likely received base salary over the three-year contract period.

For a more comprehensive discussion of these simple mathematical calculations, teaching levels, and visa fees, see the response under item 30. The AG’s office cannot dispute this simple mathematical calculation.

To make this allegation, the AG’s office will need to provide the annual salary of every TTSI teacher client, plus the amount of fees each teacher pays for their visa sponsorship, and then perform a valid mathematical formula to produce the percentage of a teacher’s salary that is obligated to pay for visa and placement fees.

Given the information presented here, both TTSI and now the AG’s office already know that the maximum placement fees are $9,990, so that information does not need to be discovered and presented by the AG’s office.

50

AG: TTSI takes advantage of a lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity of the teachers to a grossly unfair degree in the collection their debts by threatening teachers who have not been able to pay with being reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or with a change in their immigration status.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI denies this claim on several bases.

First, any communications regarding reporting to USCIS or other agencies obviously did not “take advantage” of the teachers given that those debts are still unpaid.

Second, this allegation makes an assumption that the teachers in question were “not able to pay.” Another more likely possibility is that the teachers had the means to pay but decided not to pay. Certainly, the majority of teachers have been able to successfully pay their placement fee installments, which demonstrates that the payment of fees is not impossible if a person chooses to pay them.

This allegation suggests that the reason why some teachers did not make their payments was because they were unable to pay, rather than 1. making other voluntary expenditures that reduced their ability to fulfill their contractual obligations (e.g. purchase new cars, pay fees for additional family members to join them in the U.S.) or 2. simply choosing not to pay. Certainly, as demonstrated by the majority of TTSI clients, all clients have the ability to make their payments in a timely manner. Thus, if a few teachers decide not to pay their fees, they are doing so voluntarily.

This allegation further promotes the assumption, not based on evidence or fact, that any teacher who has fallen behind on payments will be reported or threatened, and this is simply not true.

TTSI did indicate to a few teachers that USCIS may be contacted due to the teachers’ involvement in activities that demonstrated their interest in defrauding the U.S. government and violating the terms of their J-1 program participation.

A condition of the eligibility for participation in the J-1 program is that the teacher “is of good reputation and character.” Also, as part of the eligibility requirements, a candidate must agree to “come to the United States temporarily…” (22 CFR  62.24).

Teachers who have received such notice of potential reporting to USCIS were in violation of the eligibility terms for the J-1 program by not exhibiting the required “good reputation and character” and by demonstrating an intent to violate the temporary nature of the program. By their own actions, the teachers may, in fact, jeopardize their eligibility for continuing in the J-1 program.

Finally, non-payment of fees has not necessarily resulted in any negative response or action from TTSI. Evidence from client communications and client billing histories demonstrates that in cases in which clients had a justifiable reason, due to events not resulting from their personal choices, for not being able to pay (e.g., hospitalization, loss of job, even the birth of a new child), TTSI did not require the clients to make any payments for the period of time in question.

As before, under item 36, to make this claim, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. the teachers do not have the ability to pay this amount, and
  2. no teachers have made voluntary expenditures (e.g., purchase of new cars) beyond their budget capacity that reduce their ability to pay existing obligations.

It could be reasonably expected that teachers making more than $52,000 or $60,000 per year should have the ability to make a $333 per month fee–whether or not they choose to–as demonstrated by most TTSI clients.

Furthermore, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. the few teachers in question have fulfilled and intend to fulfill their requirements for eligibility for the J-1 program, and
  2. any breach of visa eligibility requirements is not an issue of concern for USCIS, i.e., that the USCIS does not have a need to know when program participants act in a manner that is contrary to the terms and conditions of their visas.
51

 AG: The services actually provided by TTSI results in a gross disparity between the value received by the Filipino teachers and the price paid as evidenced by companies providing nearly identical services for similarly situated Filipino teachers at nearly one third of the cost.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Some other companies charge less, and some charge more. The AG’s compliant results from spurious reasoning that all companies must charge the same or similar amounts. (For analogous consideration, some common over the counter drugs are sold at a high price when equivalent generic brands are sold at a lower cost, and yet no claim is made that companies are not allowed to offer the higher-priced options for voluntary acceptance and purchase by consumers.)

TTSI also notes that 1/3 of the TTSI service fee would be $3,330. TTSI would be interested in knowing which placement agencies providing identical services, at identical quality, and for the identical length of time, charge that amount.

However, the issue of “value” is qualitative. If you are a teacher in the Philippines who makes only $5,000 – $10,000 per year, and then a service agency works for 2, 3, or even 4 years on your behalf, helps you receive a NM teaching license, identifies potential U.S. employers, facilitates acquiring a teaching job that pays $42,000 to more than $60,000, helps you acquire a visa sponsor so you can take the offered position, and then helps you transition to a new community where you will be teaching, how much is that worth?

The teachers who entered voluntarily into agreements with TTSI believed that it was worth at least $15,000, which means once the total fees were lowered to $9,990, the services are inherently worth more than the amount that teachers are actually required to pay.

To make this claim, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. all other placement services offer identical services, identical quality, and identical time of service delivery,
  2. other placement agencies do not have additional services fees, and
  3. a private company does not have the right to set its own prices for consideration and acceptance or refusal by potential clients who have the means to consider multiple options for services.

Finally, the fact that some companies charge less does not mean that TTSI has a “gross disparity” between value and cost. It only means that some companies charge less. No other speculative assumption can be reasonably made from the difference in prices.

If the AG’s office wishes to evaluate “value” based on varying cost models, then it can just as reasonably conclude that TTSI’s services are a low-cost bargain because other companies charge more.

52

 AG: According to the TTSI website, their “Teacher Service Contracts”, written correspondence, and oral assertions by TTSI orally that they assist the teacher in obtaining a J-1 Visa.

TTSI Response: Yes, this is true.

TTSI does help teachers obtain a J-1 visa. When a client receives a job offer, TTSI connects the client with a federally authorized visa sponsor and helps, as needed, in completing the requirements for obtaining the visa and entering the J-1 program.

53

AG: TTSI could not process the application as a J-1 Visa, since they did not receive a Letter of No Objection from the NM Public Education Department and TTSI was not allowed to operate in New Mexico for those purposes.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI does not claim to process J-1 visas, not because TTSI does not have a No Objection letter from the NM PED but because TTSI is not, and does not claim to be, a federally authorized visa sponsor. A No Objection letter from the NM PED is irrelevant.

Simply put, TTSI does not need a No Objection letter to operate in New Mexico for these purposes (process J-1 visas) because TTSI does not operate, or intend to operate, in New Mexico for these purposes. Rather, TTSI connects the applicant to an authorized visa sponsor who is allowed to “operate in New Mexico for those purposes.”

Second, the requirement for a letter of No Objection is a requirement ONLY for visa sponsors.

Federal regulations governing the J-1 Cultural Exchange Program indicate that new visa sponsors are required to receive a No Objection Letter from the local State Education Agency in order to sponsor participants in that state. The federal regulation does not make a similar statement about placement agencies, recruiters, or other third-party participants in the process. TTSI, as a placement company and not a visa sponsor, does not require a No Objection letter.

This statement demonstrates a serious misunderstanding of the J-1 program and the roles of the various organization involved in the J-1 process.

Third, the NM PED first instituted this policy in 2019, after clients in question had already received the full placement services.

Please note that TTSI has repeatedly queried the NM PED regarding the regulatory, policy, or legal justification for their requirement that placement agencies receive a No Objection Letter from the PED in order to operate in the state, given all other legal requirements are met for business operations, or for their assumption of having the authority to make such a determination about a private company. The NM PED has provided no justification, evidence, or support for this practice.

The NM PED has also not explained or justified its claim to having the authority to determine where or from what organizations school districts are allowed to identify potential teaching applicants. TTSI notes that districts have no such restriction on where they may find potential applicants, so long as the applicants have the credentials required by the NM PED for licensure.

In requiring placement agencies to apply for NM PED authorization, the NM PED usurps the authority of such agencies that provide oversight of commercial activities, e.g., Public Regulation Commission, Secretary of State.

This is particularly troubling given that the NM PED has not only created a common misunderstanding about the nature of the J-1 program overall but also created a hostile business environment that establishes preferential treatment of some businesses and damages others—without having the authority to do so. The fact that this allegation is in the AG’s complaint demonstrates the wide-spread misunderstanding that the NM PED has fostered.

If the AG is going to use this allegation as part of its complaint, then it has the responsibility to demonstrate that

  1. TTSI has promoted itself as a visa sponsor (we haven’t),
  2. the federal regulation for visa sponsors to acquire a No Objection Letter applies to TTSI (it doesn’t), and
  3. the NM PED has the authority to approve which private companies may operate in NM (they don’t).

Given the number of times that TTSI has asked the NM PED to provide the legal basis for their policy of approving which private companies may operate in New Mexico, and has received no response, perhaps the AG will be able to solicit and receive information that demonstrates the legal basis for this NM PED policy.

If the NM PED does, in fact, have an official rule mandating the requirement for placement agencies to obtain a letter of No Objection, TTSI would be interested in reviewing the documentation and evidence that the NM PED followed an official rule-making process, as TTSI has never received any response regarding the justification for this policy.

54

AG: Upon information and belief, at various times TTSI indicated they would be able to submit the application on behalf of the Plaintiff’s to obtain the J-1 license while being incapable of doing so.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

First, “information and belief” is simply a way of saying “hearsay.” This phrase indicates that the AG has not examined evidence of the merits of the claim but has, instead, received damaging information and decided to act upon it without discretion, review, or examination of its merits.

Briefly stated, the AG received a complaint on behalf of teachers who refuse to pay for the services they received and has decided to accept those complaints as truth.

However, this overall allegation is unclear: Submit an application for what, a J-1 license? There is no such thing as a J-1 license. TTSI denies this statement because TTSI does not know what it means.

On the other hand, what TTSI has claimed to do and has done is connect a client to a federally authorized visa sponsor for acceptance in the J-1 program, through which the J-1 visa is obtained.

Finally, the use of the phrase “on behalf of the Plaintiff’s [sic]” is very interesting. Who is the plaintiff to whom this refers? It could not be the AG’s office in this case, which suggests that the information was gleaned from the lawsuit filed against TTSI by the 6 teachers who had defaulted on their financial obligation and whose inherently biased statements the AG’s office apparently used as the basis for its “information and belief.”

55

AG: While the responsibility to acquire such a visa is that of the potential employer, TTSI fails to explain this and refers the teachers to another company in order to obtain the J-1 Visa at additional expense to the teachers while providing no refund for their lack of services contracted for. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

This allegation is egregiously wrong and demonstrates a gross lack of understanding about the J-1 program.

The AG seems to be confused about the nature of the J-1 program. The AG is simply wrong that “responsibility to acquire such a visa is that of the potential employer.” In the J-1 program, the employer does not apply for the visa, which is the case for an H-1B visa. There is nothing to explain because the J-1 program does not work that way.

“Another company” to which TTSI refers clients is a federally authorized visa sponsor. In the J-1 program, the visa must be provided through a federally authorized J-1 visa sponsor. It cannot be acquired any other way.

Thus, no “refund” is possible given that

  1. this practice is in accordance with and required by the law (see 22 CFR 62) and is the only way for an applicant to acquire the J-1 visa, and
  2. one of the services provided to clients is to connect them to a J-1 sponsor, and TTSI has done this as promised.
Section title: Count Two: TTSI Engages in Unconscionable Trade Practices
(items 56 – 63)
Item # AG Statements and Responses

58

Note: Items 56 and 57 are definitions.

AG: Defendant’s business activities reveal a pattern and practice of unconscionable trade practices in offering and providing employment services to consumers.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

This allegation is based on the assumption that all of the above allegations are correct, when they have each been refuted with clear rationale, evidence, or information about the nature of the J-1 program, TTSI services, current contracts and costs, and similar information.

Given that the above allegations by the AG have been proven incorrect, then this allegation, which is based on those prior allegations, must also be incorrect.

The following information is a summary of the allegations, by number, upon which the AG infers a pattern and practice of unconscionable trade practices and the summary of the reason why each allegation is wrong.

If the supporting allegations are wrong, then any allegation based on those claims (i.e., pattern and practice of unconscionable trade practices) must also be wrong.

Factual Allegations Common to All Counts

#21. The TTSI web site states that TTSI helps employers sponsor J-1 applicants. No. The web site doesn’t state this. The complaint incorrectly suggests that employers sponsor J-1 applicants. Employers don’t do this; only federally authorized sponsors may do so.

#22. TTSI collects fees before completing services. No. TTSI collects pass-through funds for licenses and background checks at cost. Fees for placement services are collected after all services are performed.

#23. TTSI places teachers under H-1B or J-1 visas. No. TTSI helps teachers find jobs, and visa sponsors issue J-1 visas. TTSI does not work with H-1B visas.

#25. TTSI claims to obtain visas for teachers. No. TTSI states that clients will be connected to a federally authorized visa sponsor.

#26. TTSI cannot sponsor visas because it doesn’t have a No Objection letter from the NM PED. No. TTSI does not sponsor visas because it is not a federally authorized visa sponsor, and TTSI makes no claims to sponsor visas. The No Objection letter only applies to visa sponsors.

#27. Association with Dr. Bickert, a school superintendent, lends legitimacy to TTSI. No. There is no conflict of interest as TTSI does not operate in the school district where Dr. Bickert serves as a superintendent.

#28a. The teacher agreement does not detail services. No. The agreement in place since early 2018 clearly spells out the exact services to be provided.

#28b. Teachers never receive a copy of their agreements. No. Most teachers receive a copy upon signing, and email records clearly show that all teachers have received a copy of their contracts.

#30. Suggesting that fees will exceed 10% of a teachers salary. No. TTSI has provided the mathematical calculations to demonstrate the truth of TTSI’s claim.

#32. Teachers do not know their future salary, suggesting the 10% of salary for fees cannot be claimed. No. Minimum legal salaries are known, and on that basis the claim regarding 10% is true.

#33a. TTSI charges the exorbitant amount of $15,000. No. Teachers pay a maximum of $9,990 for placement services already performed.

#33b. Given the $15,000 fee, the fee is greater than 10%. No. The AG has used the wrong figure for the total placement fee. The correct figure is $9,990, and total fees are less than 10% of a teacher’s salary, as has been shown by mathematical calculation.

#34. Other placement companies charge less than TTSI. Irrelevant. Some also charge more.

#35. Teachers have to pay undisclosed fees, placement fees, etc. No. All costs are spelled out in the agreement. There are no additional placement fees, ever. The only additional potential fees are fees for late payments, which are often waived. No fees are collected until after services are performed, which may take several years during which TTSI has received no compensation.

#36a. Teachers who don’t pay the installment fee of $400 on time get a late fee. No. The installment payment is only $333. Fees for late payment, or no payment, are a common practice that doesn’t need justification, although TTSI provides one.

#36b. Teacher might not pay because they are unable to pay. No. The inability to pay, versus the choice to not pay, has not been established. Teachers who legitimately cannot pay due to conditions outside their control are not required to pay until such time as they are able.

#37. Teachers unable to pay have been threatened with legal action. No. This assumes that teacher are unable to pay, versus choosing not to pay, when this has not been established. For several grossly negligent clients (i.e., many months behind on payments) for whom no other attempt to collect has been successful, TTSI rightly may seek relief from the courts, which is why the courts exists. Teachers legitimately unable to pay their fees are not asked or required to pay any fees during their time of inability.

#38. Teachers unable to pay were threatened with USCIS reporting. No. Again, “unable to pay” assumes that teachers did not have the ability to pay, when the record for the majority of clients demonstrates the ability to pay. Teachers who violate the eligibility criteria for their visas may have that information provided to the State Department, which has a need-to-know. Non-payment, alone, is not a factor.

Count One

#46. Unsupported, etc. claims regarding helping teachers to get teaching license and visa. NO. Teachers did receive their licenses and visas through TTSI’s assistance.

#47. TTSI falsely claims the services have value, benefits, etc. No. The services are valuable and are provided such that they enable the clients to acquire teaching licenses, job, and visas. Client testimony on video also attests to the value of the services from the teachers’ perspectives.

#48. TTSI takes advantage of client ignorance and lack of ability. No. TTSI provides the services promised to professional, credentialed, degreed adults with sufficient resources to consider multiple options for companies providing placement services.

#49. The claim is false that less than 10% of a teacher’s salary will be paid toward fees. No. TTSI provided the actual numbers and calculations to demonstrate the truthfulness of the claim.

#50. TTSI takes advantage of ignorant clients by threatening to report them to USCIS for non-payment. No. Again, “unable to pay” assumes that teachers did not have the ability to pay, when the record for the majority of clients demonstrates the ability to pay. Teachers who violate the eligibility criteria for their visas may have that information provided to the State Department, which has a need-to-know. Non-payment, alone, is not a factor.

#51a. Value and price are grossly disparate. No. The AG is using the wrong cost for services ($15,000 vs $9,990). Value is clearly described.

#51b. Other companies charge a third the cost for identical services. No. Who charges only $3,330? Some companies charge more than TTSI. Services may not be identical. And why is it required that all companies charge the same?

#52. TTSI claims to help teachers get a J-1 visa. Yes. TTSI does that. All clients received a visa with TTSI assistance.

#53. TTSI cannot process J-1 applications because TTSI does not have a No Objection letter from the NM PED. No. The requirement for a letter does not apply to TTSI because TTSI does not process J-1 visas.

#54. TTSI claims to submit an application for a J-1 license. No. There is no such thing as a J-1 license. TTSI connects applicants to a federally authorized J-1 visa sponsor and assists in helping the clients complete the requirements.

#55a. Employers must apply for the visa, not TTSI. No. This is not how the J-1 program works; employers cannot apply for the visa.

#55b. TTSI inappropriately or deceptively refers teachers to another company for the visa. No. That is how the J-1 program works. Visas can only be sponsored by a federally authorized sponsor. Neither employers nor placement agencies can apply for J-1 visas.

Count Two

#58. TTSI has a pattern of unconscionable trade practices, based on the above claims. No. As shown, TTSI has operated in good faith, legally, and as promised to clients.

#59. There is an imbalance of bargaining power. No. Potential clients receive correct information and have the ability to confirm or reject any claims by TTSI. Many clients come to TTSI on the basis of recommendations by existing clients.

#60. TTSI has a misleading marketing campaign. No. Any “marketing” campaign, i.e., the web site, provides an accurate depiction of services. The claim seems to refer to the TTSI claim that fees represent less than 10% of salary, which is shown to be true mathematically. Services described accurately align with actual process for J-1 visas.

#61. TTSI agreements (i.e., contract) take advantage of clients. No. The agreement fully describes TTSI services to be provided. The AG suggests that clients are incompetent individuals, a belief with which TTSI does not agree.

#62. TTSI does not give clients a copy of their contracts. No. Evidence demonstrates that all clients are given a copy of their contract.

#63. TTSI takes advantage of clients’ lack of knowledge about the teacher licensure and visa processes. No. All teachers received those documents, thus fulfilling the service for which teachers have engaged TTSI. Clients do not make any payment for services until after all services are performed.

59

AG: From the inception of the business relationship, there is an imbalance in bargaining power between TTSI and consumers.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Other placement agencies exist, and potential clients are able to review and voluntarily accept or not whichever service agency they choose. Furthermore, TTSI has provided true information about the nature of the services provided and the associated cost.

60

AG: TTSI engages in a misleading marketing campaign to induce consumers to enter into unconscionable contracts of adhesion. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

As shown, the “marketing campaign,” which seems to be referring solely to the TTSI web site referred to several times previously, has accurately described the nature of the services and costs.

Given the prior allegations from the AG, this statement seems to refer to 1. the claim that fees will not exceed 10% of a teacher’s salary, and TTSI has provided the simple mathematical calculations to demonstrate the truth of this claim, or 2. the practice of referring clients to a federally authorized J-1 sponsor, which has been explained as the only process of obtaining the J-1 visa.

Services described on the TTSI web site are accurate, regardless of any misinterpretation about the J-1 process or incorrect information about the fees for placement services actually charged by TTSI.

61

AG: TTSI presents consumers with agreements that takes advantage of individuals lacking citizenship seeking teaching positions in New Mexico. TTSI pursues these agreements because the prospective teacher’s lack of knowledge, ability, experience or capacity to sign a financing agreement in a grossly unfair degree. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Again, the AG has apparently not reviewed the contracts in place since early 2018 when making this claim. Regardless, the AG has not argued that TTSI did not provide the services communicated to the clients. As stated, the individuals were seeking teaching positions in New Mexico, and TTSI helped them acquire those positions through a variety of services provided.

We are unsure what is being argued in the second sentence as it appears to be a fragment with missing information.

As stated in response to item 48 above, TTSI offers the reminder that the clients are all credentialed adults with at least a bachelor’s degree and 2 or more years of professional experience. All teachers have, at a minimum, sufficient English skills to teach in English, as required by the J-1 program.

TTSI wonders what knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity the AG’s office suggests the clients are lacking, given that this statement seems to espouse the mistaken idea that the teachers do not have the knowledge, ability, experience, or capacity to read an agreement, understand the nature of the J-1 program, research a variety of placement service agencies, or make voluntary decisions.

This seems to be a rather insulting statement by the AG’s office towards the professional and experienced teachers.

TTSI also notes that many clients were referred to TTSI by other clients who were already in the U.S. teaching in positions obtained through TTSI services. Existing clients who make referrals can be assumed to have a full understanding of the value of TTSI services, as well as experience with and understanding of TTSI’s business practices, given that they have experienced them first hand.

Indeed, teachers with whom TTSI is in litigation for the recovery of unpaid fees, and whose complaints form the basis of the AG’s filing, themselves have referred friends and colleagues to TTSI for assistance in acquiring a U.S. teaching position. By doing so, they, too, have espoused the benefits and value of TTSI’s services.

TTSI has accurately described its services as

  • assisting clients to obtain a NM teaching license (this service was provided, and all teachers have the license),
  • identifying potential hiring school districts (this service was provided, and teachers were invited to interview for positions by school district personnel),
  • facilitating the hiring process (this service was provided, and each teacher received a job offer),
  • connecting clients to J-1 visa sponsors (this service was provided, and all clients teaching in New Mexico obtained their J-1 visas), and
  • providing as-needed relocation assistance (this service was provided, and each teacher needing assistance was provided with options for housing and other similar supports, as relevant).

TTSI does not take advantage of clients but, instead, has provided the full scope of services promised plus additional support above and beyond the core services promised.

62

AG: TTSI fails to give the consumer a copy of the service contract upon their request when any dispute as to money owed arises. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Every client has received a copy of his or her contract. Email records demonstrate the delivery of contracts.

Furthermore, since the beginning of 2018, each potential client received a copy of the contract with their introductory packet.

To support this claim, the AG will need to demonstrate with evidence why it believes that this has not happened, other than “information and belief” acquired through hearsay from clients who are litigants against TTSI due to their refusal to pay their contracted fees and who have presented inherently biased and hostile opinions to the AG’s office.

Furthermore, TTSI also provides regular statements of account and amortization schedules so that clients will understand exactly where their account stands, what has been paid, and what remains to be paid.

63

AG: TTSI’s unconscionable business practices in the course of offering employment placement services grossly takes advantage of consumers’ lack of knowledge and experience with the requirements for teaching licensure and J-1 Visas, to the detriment of consumers and in violation of the UPA. See § 57-12-3. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

A core service for TTSI clients has been to assist them in obtaining a teaching license, which is a prerequisite for acquiring a NM teaching position.

Although all clients received the license with TTSI’s assistance, which the claim admits previously by noting that TTSI gathers and submits licensure information and documents, this current allegation suggests that TTSI somehow falsified the fact that teachers have received their licenses or have received them without TTSI assistance. Both cannot be true.

Furthermore, TTSI has accurately communicated the process of acquiring a J-1 visa and has followed the only approved pathway for assisting clients in obtaining the visa.

The AG’s claim notes that TTSI incorrectly or inappropriately referred clients to “another company” for obtaining the visa when the employer must apply for the visa, but this is simply not true. An employer cannot apply for the client’s J-1 visa–the visa can only be obtained through a federally approved J-1 visa sponsor, which is the “other company” referred to by the AG.

This allegation by the AG is based on an incorrect understanding of the J-1 program and processes, as has been pointed out numerous times previously.

The AG, furthermore, does not show how TTSI’s services were performed “to the detriment of consumers,” when, in fact, “the consumers” received exactly the necessary documents (e.g., teaching license, J-1 visa) they needed to acquire and accept a U.S. teaching position.

The clients contracted with TTSI and agreed to pay TTSI to

  1. assist them in obtaining a NM teaching license,
  2. obtain a U.S. teaching position, and
  3. acquire the necessary visa for fulfilling the teaching position.

TTSI performed each of these services, which may have taken multiple years to accomplish, during which time TTSI received no compensation for the services.

These services were not the detriment of the consumer. The consumer, the teachers, have benefited greatly from the services TTSI has provided.

Section title: Count Three: Request for injunctive, equitable and ancillary relief, including the disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains for UPA violations.
(items 64 – 69)
Item # AG Statements and Responses

65

Note: Item 64 is just a statement that the AG re-alleges prior items.

AG: TTSI’s business activities violate New Mexico law and reveal a pattern and practice of exploiting consumers through the use of deceptive acts and business practices.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

(Note: If you read the response to item 58, skip this one. It’s a word-for-word repeat of that response.)

This allegation is based on the assumption that all of the above allegations are correct, when they have each been refuted with clear rationale, evidence, or information about the nature of the J-1 program, TTSI services, current contracts and costs, and similar information.

Given that the above allegations by the AG have been proven incorrect, then this allegation, which is based on those prior allegations, must also be incorrect.

The following information is a summary of the allegations, by number, upon which the AG infers a pattern and practice of unconscionable trade practices and the summary of the reason why each allegation is wrong.

If the supporting allegations are wrong, then any allegation based on those claims (i.e., pattern and practice of unconscionable trade practices) must also be wrong.

Factual Allegations Common to All Counts

#21. The TTSI website states that TTSI helps employers sponsor J-1 applicants. No. The web site doesn’t state this. The complaint incorrectly suggests that employers sponsor J-1 applicants. Employers don’t do this; only federally authorized sponsors may do so.

#22. TTSI collects fees before completing services. No. TTSI collects pass-through funds for licenses and background checks. Fees for placement services are collected after all services are performed.

#23. TTSI places teachers under H-1B or J-1 visas. No. TTSI helps teachers find jobs, and visa sponsors issue J-1 visas. TTSI does not work with H-1B visas.

#25. TTSI claims to obtain visas for teachers. No. TTSI states that clients will be connected to a federally authorized visa sponsor.

#26. TTSI cannot sponsor visas because it doesn’t have a No Objection letter from the NM PED. No. TTSI does not sponsor visas because it is not a federally authorized visa sponsor, and TTSI makes no claims to sponsor visas. The No Objection letter only applies to visa sponsors.

#27. Association with Dr. Bickert, a school superintendent, lends legitimacy to TTSI. No. There is no conflict of interest as TTSI does not operate in the school district where Dr. Bickert serves as a superintendent.

#28a. The teacher agreement does not detail services. No. The agreement in place since early 2018 clearly spells out the exact services to be provided.

#28b. Teachers never receive a copy of their agreements. No. Most teachers receive a copy upon signing, and email records clearly show that all teachers have received a copy of their contracts.

#30. Suggesting that fees will exceed 10% of a teachers salary. No. TTSI has provided the mathematical calculations to demonstrate the truth of TTSI’s claim.

#32. Teachers do not know their future salary, suggesting the 10% of salary for fees cannot be claimed. No. Minimum legal salaries are known, and on that basis the claim regarding 10% is true.

#33a. TTSI charges the exorbitant amount of $15,000. No. Teachers pay a maximum of $9,990 for placement services already performed.

#33b. Given the $15,000 fee, the fee is greater than 10%. No. The AG has used the wrong figure for the total placement fee. The correct figure is $9,990, and total fees are less than 10% of a teacher’s salary, as has been shown by mathematical calculation.

#34. Other placement companies charge less than TTSI. Irrelevant. Some also charge more.

#35. Teachers have to pay undisclosed fees, placement fees, etc. No. All costs are spelled out in the agreement. There are no additional placement fees, ever. The only additional potential fees are fees for late payments, which are often waived. No fees are collected until after services are performed, which may take several years during which TTSI has received no compensation.

#36a. Teachers who don’t pay the installment fee of $400 on time get a late fee. No. The installment payment is only $333. Fees for late payment, or no payment, are a common practice that doesn’t need justification, although TTSI provides one.

#36b. Teacher might not pay because they are unable to pay. No. The inability to pay, versus the choice to not pay, has not been established. Teachers who legitimately cannot pay due to conditions outside their control are not required to pay until such time as they are able.

#37. Teachers unable to pay have been threatened with legal action. No. This assumes that teacher are unable to pay, versus choosing not to pay, when this has not been established. For several grossly negligent clients (i.e., many months behind on payments) for whom no other attempt to collect has been successful, TTSI rightly may seek relief from the courts, which is why the courts exists. Teachers legitimately unable to pay their fees are not asked or required to pay any fees during their time of inability.

#38. Teachers unable to pay were threatened with USIS reporting. No. Again, “unable to pay” assumes that teachers did not have the ability to pay, when the record for the majority of clients demonstrates the ability to pay. Teachers who violate the eligibility criteria for their visas may have that information provided to the State Department, which has a need-to-know. Non-payment, alone, is not a factor.

Count One

#46. Unsupported, etc. claims regarding helping teachers to get teaching license and visa. NO. Teachers did receive their licenses and visas through TTSI’s assistance.

#47. TTSI falsly claims the services have value, benefits, etc. No. The services are valuable and are provided such that they enable the clients to acquire teaching licenses, job, and visas. Client testimony on video also attests to the value of the services.

#48. TTSI takes advantage of client ignorance and lack of ability. No. TTSI provides the services promised to professional, credentialed, degreed adults with sufficient resources to consider multiple options for companies providing placement services.

#49. The claim is false that less than 10% of a teacher’s salary will be paid toward fees. No. TTSI provided the actual numbers and calculations to demonstrate the truthfulness of the claim.

#50. TTSI takes advantage of ignorant clients by threatening to report them to USCIS for non-payment. No. Again, “unable to pay” assumes that teachers did not have the ability to pay, when the record for the majority of clients demonstrates the ability to pay. Teachers who violate the eligibility criteria for their visas may have that information provided to the State Department, which has a need-to-know. Non-payment, alone, is not a factor.

#51a. Value and price are grossly disparate. No. The AG is using the wrong cost for services ($15,000 vs $9,990). Value is clearly described.

#51b. Other companies charge a third the cost for identical services. No. Who charges only $3,330? Some companies charge more than TTSI. Services may not be identical. And why is it required that all companies charge the same?

#52. TTSI claims to help teachers get a J-1 visa. Yes. TTSI does that. All clients received a visa with TTSI assistance.

#53. TTSI cannot process J-1 applications because TTSI does not have a No Objection letter from the NMPED. No. The requirement for a letter does not apply to TTSI because TTSI does not process J-1 visas.

#54. TTSI claims to submit an application for a J-1 license. No. There is no such thing as a J-1 visa. TTSI connects applicants to a federally authorized J-1 visa sponsor and assists in helping the clients complete the requirements.

#55a. Employers must apply for the visa, not TTSI. No. This is not how the J-1 program works; employers cannot apply for the visa.

#55b. TTSI inappropriately or deceptively refers teachers to another company for the visa. No. That is how the J-1 program works. Visas can only be sponsored by a federally authorized sponsor. Neither employers nor placement agencies can process J-1 visas.

Count Two

#58. TTSI has a pattern of unconscionable trade practices, based on the above claims. No. As shown, TTSI has operated in good faith, legally, and as promised to clients.

#59. There is an imbalance of bargaining power. No. Potential clients receive correct information and have the ability to confirm or reject any claims by TTSI. Many clients come to TTSI on the basis of recommendations by existing clients.

#60. TTSI has a misleading marketing campaign. No. Any “marketing” campaign, i.e., the web site, provides an accurate depiction of services. The claim seems to refer to the TTSI claim that fees represent less than 10% of salary, which is shown to be true mathematically. Services described accurately align with actual process for J-1 visas.

#61. TTSI agreements (i.e., contract) take advantage of clients. No. The agreement fully describes TTSI services to be provided. The AG suggests that clients are incompetent individuals, a belief with which TTSI does agree.

#62. TTSI does not give clients a copy of their contracts. No. Evidence demonstrates that all clients are given a copy of their contract.

#63. TTSI takes advantage of clients’ lack of knowledge about the teacher licensure and visa process. No. All teachers received those documents, thus fulfilling the service for which teachers have engaged TTSI. Clients do not make any payment for services until after all services are performed.

66 –
69

In these items, the AG provides a number of legal references and makes a request for injunctive relief, payment, and reimbursement for attorney fees.

TTSI Response: We have only one response for this short section.

Why does the AG want TTSI to pay for their lawyer expenses when this is their job and the lawyers are under salary?

Unlike TTSI, they didn’t work for years, in some cases, without receiving any compensation.

So why is this odd line in here? It’s copied from the information provided to the AG by the teachers’ counsel, which is inherently one-side and biased. Apparently, the AG didn’t even bother to review the material it was copying to see if it is appropriate for a complaint filed by the State of New Mexico through the AG. We already know that they didn’t review the information for factual accuracy or completeness.

Section title: Count Four: Equitable Recovery under Principles of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment
(items 64 – 69)
Item # AG Statements and Responses

70 –
72

In these items, the AG simply states that TTSI has been unjustly enriched and should give back everything it earned.

Section title: Count Five: Fraud
(items 73 – 78)
Item # AG Statements and Responses
74

(Note: item 73 just says that the AG re-alleges everything prior.)

AG: Defendants committed an act of fraud when it represented to Filipino teachers that it would assist them in obtaining J-1 Visas while knowing that it had no authority to obtain these Visas on behalf of the Filipino teachers. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI did provide assistance for obtaining a J-1 visa.

Note that the clients did, in fact, receive the visas, and that TTSI assisted them with the process, including but not limited to connecting them to a federally authorized visa sponsor and providing guidance and assistance in meeting the requirements of the sponsor.

“Assist them” does not mean “obtain on their behalf.” “Assist” means “to give support or aid” (Merriam-Webster, 2021).

This allegations is based on the faulty idea that TTSI represents itself as a J-1 visa sponsor. We don’t.

75

AG: Defendants recklessly made the representation they would assist Filipino teachers in obtaining H-1B Visas knowing that an employer must sponsor a H-1B Visa holder.

TTSI Response: We deny this.

TTSI assists teachers in obtaining a J-1 visa. TTSI is not in the business of helping teachers get H-1B visas. TTSI would be interested in seeing the evidence that clients were promised that they could obtain H-1B visas.

Several early clients were sponsored by their employers for H-1B visas, and in those limited cases, TTSI assisted the districts and clients with the process. Unlike every teacher since then, those teachers did not first come to the U.S. on J-1 visas, as have the majority of clients, but were directly and initially sponsored by their employers for the H-1B visa. TTSI helped inform the parties about the process, i.e., provided assistance, as promised.

The teachers in litigation, and every other teacher, was connected with a J-1 visa sponsor. They provided documentation to the sponsor to enter the program, received the J-1 program documents, and obtained the J-1 visa. If at any point, the teachers did not accept the J-1 visa, they could have stopped the process.

76

 AG: Defendants made representations they would assist Filipino teachers in obtaining H-1B Visas with the intent to deceive and induce Filipino teachers into entering into an agreement with Defendant as well as representing that TTSI was the only reason the Filipino teachers obtained these Visas when collecting payments on financing agreements. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

Both of these statements cannot be true: teachers either did or did not obtain an H-1B visa. However, the two statements in this allegation can be refuted separately.

First, promising to provide assistance is not the same as promising that teachers would obtain the H-1B visa, meaning TTSI can provide assistance but teachers may still not be able to get the visa.

With the H-1B visa, the employer must submit the application for the potential employee to obtain the visa. TTSI can, and has, helped employers understand the nature of the H-1B visa program and processes for making this application. If a district has hired a teacher under the J-1 program and wishes to sponsor the teacher for the H-1B visa, TTSI can and has provided information and resources about the conversion process. These actions constitute assistance as promised.

However, TTSI cannot force a district employer to apply for the H-1B visa for its teachers, which is why the only promise is for assistance and why TTSI has never made any guarantee that an individual teacher would obtain that type of visa. Whether or not their potential or current employers decided to apply for the H-1B visa for the teachers is outside of the control of TTSI and does not indicate that TTSI can, would, or did provide assistance with acquiring the H-1B.

Teachers could not honestly and credibly believe that they were entering the U.S. on an H-1B visa. Each teacher in question (who entered the U.S. to take a teaching position on the J-1 visa) knew that he or she was obtaining a J-1 visa and not an H-1B visa prior to entering the U.S. TTSI provides information to each potential client about the type of visa that would be acquired, and as part of the process for obtaining the visa, the teacher enters agreements with the J-1 visa sponsor and receives additional information from the sponsor about the program.

Prior to departure from their home county, teachers attend a pre-departure orientation session, which may have further explained the nature of the J-1 program and recipients’ obligations. They also receive information from the visa sponsors about the purpose and conditions of the J-1 program. The bottom line is that the teachers knew exactly what they were receiving and were not deceived.

At any point during this job placement and J-1 visa application process, if the teachers decided that they did not accept the conditions of the J-1 program, the teachers could have cancelled the process and would owe TTSI nothing for the placement services that TTSI had already provided.

They completed the process for the J-1 visa through a J-1 visa sponsor and subsequently came to the U.S. on that type of visa, which indicates that they choose to accept the J-1 visa process. The fact that the teachers knew the type and nature of the visa they would acquire and yet chose to pursue and enter into a voluntary agreement with TTSI indicates that they accepted the services that TTSI provided under the J-1 program.

Complaining now that they have not received an H-1B visa conflicts with their acceptance of the J-1 program previously, and they may be looking for someone to blame, particularly now that their J-1 programs are coming to a close and they are seeking ways to stay in the U.S. longer than permitted under federal regulations for the J-1 program.

In brief, they accepted the J-1 terms before coming to the U.S., but now are rejecting the terms to which they previously agreed.

Second, in regards to TTSI’s statement regarding a teacher’s acquisition of the H-1B visa during attempts to collect on grossly overdue payments, the statement only refers to two teachers, not teachers generally, and is not representative of TTSI interactions with clients. Although, there doesn’t seem to be any wrongdoing suggested, TTSI can respond that in the case of the teacher to whom this refers, TTSI is correct and feels deserving of payment for services provided.

TTSI introduced the teacher to the future employing school district, facilitated the interview, and helped secure the job offer. The district, at that time, determined that it would like to bring the teacher on an H-1B rather than the initial plan for the J-1 visa. TTSI helped the district understand the process, which it followed, resulting in the teacher receiving an H-1B.

So, yes, the teacher received an H-1B visa due to the efforts of TTSI. This is an exceptional benefit to the teacher, above and beyond the services for which the teacher contracted with TTSI.

Of course, this superior benefit does not change the contracted cost for services or affect the amount of compensation TTSI seeks, but it does increase the value of the service received.

TTSI believes that given the exceptional value received, the teacher has an ethical, as much as contractual, obligation to pay for the service providing the value, which TTSI attempted to communicate in its email to the one teacher. The email to the one teacher was a reminder that in light of that exceptional value, TTSI deserves to be paid. TTSI believes that it has the right to receive payment in exchange for the value it provided to the teacher.

This is how fair and just contracts work in an open market environment: A provider offers a service or product; the client chooses to accept that offer and promises to return something of equal value in exchange, in this case, financial compensation. TTSI has kept its side of the agreement and wishes for the “consumer” to keep hers.

77

AG: Filipino teachers relied on the truthfulness of Defendant’s representations, including that it would help them obtain H1B Visas, when deciding to proceed with entering an agreement with Defendants. 

TTSI Response: We don’t have sufficient information to either admit nor deny this item.

TTSI does not know the teachers’ motivations at that time but notes that the teachers knew exactly what type of visa they would receive and the parameters, obligations, benefits, and limitations of that visa type. Not only was that information provided by TTSI, the teachers’ visa sponsors, and the Philippine government but also full information about the J-1 program is publicly and easily accessible.

If teachers did not wish to acquire the J-1 visa in lieu of an H-1B, they could have terminated or refused to sign the TTSI agreement at any time, could have rejected the agreements with the J-1 visa sponsor, could have decided not to go to the U.S. embassy to get the J-1 visa and declare their acceptance of the J-1 terms, and could have chosen not to enter the U.S. with a J-1 visa. Had they done any one of these things, they would have no obligation to compensate TTSI for job placement services.

The teachers accepted TTSI’s services, accepted the offered teaching job, entered into agreements with the J-1 visa sponsor, went to the embassy interview for the visa and noted their acceptance of the J-1 requirements, and came to the U.S. to teach under the J-1 visa program. Now, they complain that they don’t have the H-1B visa, which is inconsistent with all of their prior decisions and actions, and they claim that TTSI somehow misled them about their visas. Their argument is highly suspicious and contradicts all their prior actions.

TTSI further notes that if the teachers went to the U.S. embassy for their visa application interview, as required, and made any indication to the embassy officer during the interview that they intended to adhere to the J-1 terms (for example, teachers are commonly asked whether they intend to return to the U.S. at the end of their program), then they lied to the embassy officer and actively defrauded the U.S. government.

As stated under item 76 above, TTSI can provide assistance in the process but cannot guarantee that a school district employer would apply for the H-1B visa, nor can TTSI require a district to apply for the visa. TTSI never promised that the teachers would receive an H-1B visa, only stating that it would assist in the process, which it does as possible or as requested.

If the teachers did not research information about the J-1 program and did not pay attention to multiple sources of information, did not read the information they were given, and did not pay attention to communications from the J-1 visa sponsor, no blame can be assigned to TTSI. Ultimately, this may be a case of TTSI (and others) saying one thing, and the teachers wanting to believe something else that aligned with their interests.

Ultimately, any comments about prior motivations are either speculative or are providing an after-the-fact interpretation of events. In this and similar cases, the only reasonable approach is to ask whether any contract with TTSI guarantees an H-1B visa or promises that TTSI will do more than it has: help the teacher get a teaching license (done), receive opportunities to apply and interview for jobs (done), receive a job offer (done), acquire a J-1 visa (done), and relocate to the U.S. to fulfill that job (done).

If the AG wishes to make this allegation, the AG will need to demonstrate that

  1. teachers signed agreements with TTSI that includes the provision that the teacher will receive an H-1B visa,
  2. TTSI made promises that teachers would receive an H-1B visa,
  3. the teachers were unaware of the type of visa they received and the requirements thereof, and
  4. TTSI clients in general, or even in the majority, hold the same belief about receiving an H-1B visa, rather than a limited number of teachers who filed suit against TTSI as a strategy to avoid paying their financial obligations for services received.
78

AG: As a consequence of Defendant’s false representations, Plaintiffs suffered damages including:

AG: a. financial expenditures prior to entering an agreement with Defendants,

TTSI Response: We don’t have sufficient information to respond to this item.

TTSI is not responsible for teachers expenditures prior to entering an agreement, and no details are provided as to what those expenditures include. As such, TTSI is not able to respond to this item.

AG: b. payments to Defendants beyond the value of the services Plaintiffs received,

TTSI Response: We deny this.

As has been established multiple times previously, teachers received the services for which they contracted TTSI: assistance with teaching license, job interviews, job offers, visa assistance, and relocation assistance.

Value is a subjective determination. However, if the teachers previously believed the services were at least as valuable as $15,000, which they indicated by signing an original agreement, then the services must be worth more than the downward revised costs of $9,990. Thus, when TTSI lowered the cost by 33.4% (more than $5,000), TTSI created a disparity between value and cost to the detriment of TTSI and in the favor of the teachers.

AG: c. loss of employment opportunities in the Philippines. 

TTSI Response: We deny this.

This allegation suggests that because the teachers have been teaching in the U.S., they will be less likely to have a teaching position (or other employment) when they return to the Philippines. This cannot be demonstrated. It is an assumption about a future condition.

It also cannot be attributed to TTSI. We are not responsible for hiring decisions by schools in the Philippines.

In fact, the opposite may be true. Teachers have, at various times, indicated that teachers who return to the Philippines from the U.S. are highly sought-after and may receive priority for open teaching positions because of their rich and valuable experiences teaching in the U.S.

On the other hand, if the teachers believe that teaching in the U.S. would reduce their future opportunities in the Philippines, why would they come to teach in the U.S. for a temporary period in the J-1 program, which has a 5-year limit? This item is only relevant if the teachers, from the moment they signed the agreement with TTSI, intended to defraud the U.S. government by violating their J-1 program requirements and attempting to stay in the U.S. longer than allowed.

Overall, this allegation is based on the assumption that TTSI made false representations, which TTSI denies and has shown false with credible information. As the responses to items 76 and 77 above describe, the teachers knew exactly what type of visa they would receive and did receive, whether or not they chose to pay attention to that information and whether or not they intended to adhere to the federal regulations governing their visa.

In short, they used TTSI as a strategy to violate the federal program regulations, and now they are complaining because they are still subject to those regulations.

One more note: Who is the “Plaintiff” in this item? The plaintiff in this AG’s complaint is the State of New Mexico through the AG. However, “Plaintiff,” as used here, can only be the teachers who filed a suit against TTSI. The AGs’ office seems to have copied its complaint directly from the teacher’s information without even editing the text.

We have the information that the teachers’ counsel provided the AG. Much of it is exactly the same, word for word.

Apparently, the AG didn’t even write the text in its complaint: It’s a copy and paste from the teachers’ information, the plaintiffs who are trying to avoid paying for services they received.

Since when does the defaulting party on one side of a simple contract dispute get to write a complaint for the AG?

Since when does the AG abandon simple fairness and professional responsibility and instead accept inherently biased information without even stopping to ask: Is this true?

Because it isn’t true.