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State Senate Candidate Ran University Without State License, BBB Says

Aristotle University in Carlsbad, founded by Xanthi Gionis, is apparently not licensed by the Bureau for Private Post-Secondary and Vocational Education, say reports.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. Feb, 6, 2013

Xanthi Gionis, a Republican candidate for the state Senate in the 40th District of south San Diego County, has been accused of running a college in Carlsbad that lacks a license, shut its website and got the worst grade possible from the Better Business Bureau.

Aristotle University apparently operated in Carlsbad without a business license; nor did it have a license from the state Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education, according to an NBC San Diego report.

The news station reported that several students voiced complaints about the business.

Gionis is running in a special election against Democratic Assemblyman Ben Hueso and fellow Republican Hector Gastelum to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Juan Vargas, who won election to Congress in the district once served by Bob Filner.

She also ran for Congress in the 51st district and was endorsed by the local Republican Party. She lives in Chula Vista, according to online records.

Tony Krvaric, chairman of the county Republican Party, told Patch: “We have not endorsed anyone in the SD40 race, and this is the first I've heard of these allegations.”

The Better Business Bureau has given her school a grade of F, saying: “The BBB confirmed that Aristotle University had not obtained a necessary license from Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.” 

The school’s website—which lacks the traditional .edu domain—has been taken down, leaving the note: “Our new website is currently Under Maintenance."

But earlier versions of the site are visible on archive.org.

“Aristotle University currently has established working relationships with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology,” says one information page.

Further, the school claims:

Aristotle University has attained a collaborative educational agreement with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia-Pacific School of Ethics, wherein Aristotle University established and hosts the UNESCO International Bioethics Journal Club (UNESCO IBJC)

The school says it has “an expressed and dedicated commitment for academic excellence, promotion of understanding, pursuit of truth, and the strengthening of the respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, peace, the sense of dignity, and the promotion of understanding, tolerance and friendship.”

Besides a School of Public Health, programs boasted by Aristotle also include the Aristotle University College of Law (onsite legal education), the Aristotle University Institute of Law and Jurisprudence (distance-learning legal education) and the Aristotle University Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant Residency Program.

In answer to a smartvoter.org questionnaire, Gionis touted her experience as a longtime businesswoman and co-founder of a small private university in Southern California, adding:

I have had to balance a budget in varied economic times. I found that it was important to make tough, sound monetary decisions while not sacrificing either my employees’ salaries or the outstanding level of education that I had committed to provide the students of our University.

What I learned was that budgets can be cut while still maintaining excellence and while abiding to one’s mission statement and core objectives. 

Dr. Thomas A. Gionis is listed as president of Aristotle and dean and professor of public health.

The health school’s Facebook page, had only 14 Likes when archived recently. 

The site says Gionis is the youngest person in the United States to have obtained an MD degree after starting medical school at 17, adding.

“He holds the following degrees: MD, Medical University of South Carolina; JD (Cum Laude), John Marshall Law School (Chicago); MPH, UCLA School of Public Health; MBA, Pepperdine University Graduate School of Business; and MHA, Seton Hall University, Center for Public Service.”

Gionis was the subject of scrutiny in Orange County in 2001, when the Daily Pilot newspaper reported that he had been convicted and sentenced to serve five years in prison “for hiring two thugs to attack his estranged wife, Aissa Wayne, daughter of the late actor and local legend John Wayne.”

The paper reported that Aissa Wayne and her boyfriend, Roger Luby, were assaulted in Luby's Newport Beach home in October 1988 and added:

Gionis hired top defense attorneys such as F. Lee Bailey, John Barnett and even Bruce Cutler, a flamboyant attorney who represented New York mob boss John Gotti. In 1990, Gionis' first trial ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked 9-3. Two years later, his second trial ended in a conviction and Gionis was sentenced to five years in prison. 

On its financial page, Aristotle says it reserves the right to change fees and tuition without notice.

“Tuition and fees for the entire forty-five unit MPH program at the Aristotle University School of Public Health are calculated at … $24,975.00.”

If Aristotle cancels or discontinues a course or educational program, its said on its site, “the University will make a full refund of all charges. Refund checks will be mailed within 30 days from the date of Notice of Cancellation made by the University.”

For online courses, the “student shall have the right to cancel until midnight of the eighth business day after the first lesson was emailed (or electronically dispatched) to the student in digital form.”

The website was registered via GoDaddy.com by Gionis, who gave his address as  4630 Campus Drive,  200G, Newport Beach 92660, which is listed as a “virtual office.”

More information is being sought. Check back for updates.

Ed Sorrels February 06, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Sound's like another Carpetbagger from the north county like the one they sent south to buy the Mayor's office here in Imperial Beach several election cycles ago, This is just another example of one of the outstanding republican canidates they keep coming up with give a couple of buck's and see if they can sneek them into office here in the southbay !
Libi Uremovic February 07, 2013 at 12:30 AM
after the 2008 economic crash a lot of 'looking for fast money' people turned to politics
Adjunct Noise February 08, 2013 at 02:20 AM
The student is correct and Xanthi is a liar. I taught at Aristotle University in 2012 and Xanthi didn't pay me my last two paychecks. When I e-mailed her, she gave a date she would send them and she didn't. When I called her, she said she had mailed it 'yesterday', which of course the weeks rolled by and it didn't arrive.
TomMullen February 08, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Sad that impressionable ignorant people fall for these crooked fly by night circus schools (and Adjunct Noise - I do not feel sorry for you - the whole program is B.S) Xanthi, in my opinion, is a crook. She should be investigated criminally, for Fraud among other things and prosecuted.
Adjunct Noise February 08, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I don't feel sorry for me either. Xanthi presented a fly-by-night school as a legitimate university and both students and at least two adjunct professors fell for it and weren't paid. But, she is a Republican candidate, and if elected, would you feel sorry for the electorate/constituents? Just throwing out the information, you make your own choice as to who were the victims and who was the crook.
bilked teacher February 08, 2013 at 11:26 PM
AND, for us teachers she owes money too, forget San Diego Small Claims court. The commissioners will side with Gionis because she went to law school. Even with a letter of an offer of employment, Aristotle paychecks signed by Gionis, e-mail promises of payment---Commissioner Gary H Block and his buddies insist on an actual contract signed by both parties--- or no judgement. Fellow teachers, don't throw good money after bad--she is golden in the court system. Just be satisfied that at least when you were there, the students received a good education
karla cuentas February 09, 2013 at 01:11 PM
XANTHI GIONIS es una persona que viene de padres migrantes y en base a la lucha y esfuerzo ha salido adelante, no es justo que se le muestre como lo que no es, ella quiere ayudar a la comunidad y a los estudiantes, de esto hay pruebas. Se habla mucho en estos artículos, pero donde están las pruebas, evidencias,etc? es muy facil decir cosas y manchar el nombre de una persona, pero hay que tener criterio para discernir y no se puede culpar a nadie de algo sin pruebas contundentes y sin ver todas las partes de la historia. apelo a su sentido comun! En USA es comun que personas quieran obtener dinero fácil demandando y no por que haya una demanda se encuentra culpable al demandado. Los medios de comunicación deben de ser objetivos y conducirse con etica, no dar por sentados los hechos y mostrar exhaustivamente la verdad desde todos sus angulos, no verdades parciales ni supuestos. Investiguen a fondo, sean mas responsables y si quieren informarnos haganlo como debe de ser!
Susan February 17, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Karla, I am not certain what you are saying but there is plenty of evidence to support the allegations against Gionis. The big news outlets do not publish stories without solid proof. They would be sued.
Educate 1st February 20, 2013 at 09:02 AM
Let's not forget the international students here! They have been defrauded out of their life savings and have nothing to show for it. The government, state and local officials failed to protect them. The entire system needs to take resposibility for what has happened as well as prosecute Thomas and Xanthi Gionis for their crimes.
one who knows February 24, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Here is the truly sad part. The people who had been "duped" have no recourse. The courts and other law officials will side with the US citizens every time--that's how it works. Also, anyone who tries to help the students is met with threats of law suits and other letters of intimidation from the scary Gionis family because they know they can get away with it. This is well documented. So, if the people of district 40 vote for the Gionis family---they were warned and will get what they deserve.
Libi Uremovic March 05, 2013 at 12:35 AM
'...Many... schools offer very small classes that market to students from particular countries because of language or cultural barriers that can be addressed...' she didn't offer 'small class sizes'...it was a one (1) office space size 'university'... '...I live in Miami... Ms. Gionis will make the best representative for the 40th district....' how the hell would you know that...?
Tammy Reid May 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Looks like they just got sued
John Bond January 30, 2014 at 01:52 PM
It's good that someone found out. It was pretty bad what they get away with. I'm glad that someone has finally brought them down. Please send me any more information or articles to my email. Thanks! John Bond |
John Bond January 30, 2014 at 01:53 PM
It's good that someone found out. It was pretty bad what they get away with. I'm glad that someone has finally brought them down. Please send me any more information or articles to my email. Thanks! John Bond | <a href='http://www.sourceoffice.com/tysons.html' > http://www.sourceoffice.com/tysons.html</a>

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