The Daily Caller reports – “The Vistria Group is run by Martin Nesbitt, who’s been described as Obama’s best friend and is also chairman of the Obama Foundation. The Apollo Education Group, which owns the University of Phoenix, agreed to be bought in February 2016, and Vistria completed the $1.1 billion purchase a year later.”
Nesbitt and Obama were close friends dating back to 1980 when he played basketball for Princeton University, playing for the same team as Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother. According to the Chicago Tribune, Nesbitt is known to play basketball and golf with Obama even still today. He also acted as the treasurer for the Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and he currently heads the Obama Foundation. The Obama Foundation is currently tasked with planning Obama’s presidential library in Chicago. Nesbitt’s wife, Anita Blanchard, is the obstetrician who assisted Michelle in delivering Malia and Sasha Obama at birth.
The Daily Caller explains that “the deal included an agreement that Vistria Chief Operating Officer Tony Miller would serve as chairman of Apollo Education board of directors. Miller had previously served as the deputy secretary of education for the Obama administration, which was cracking down against for-profit universities through his tenure and beyond.
But despite the Trump administration’s sharp rollback of Obama-era regulations, the Federal Trade Commission has continued its investigation into the University of Phoenix.
Miller pledged Vistria would operate Apollo Education “with the highest ethical standards” when his firm purchased the company. At the time, the company faced multiple federal and state investigations for deceptive or unfair marketing practices.”
Apollo described the detailed and ongoing investigation it was facing in its 2016 10-K annual report. This is the last report filed by Apollo as a publically traded company. In the report, Apollo disclosed their receipt of an “civil investigative demand” from the FTC in July 2015, explaining the commission wanted “to determine if certain unnamed persons, partnerships, corporations or others have engaged or are engaging in deceptive or unfair acts or practices in or affecting commerce in the advertising, marketing or sale of secondary or postsecondary educational products or services or educational accreditation products or services.”