Trump paying $25M after judge OKs university deal
A judge on Friday approved an agreement for President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University, ending nearly seven years of legal battles with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises to teach success in real estate.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel said the agreement represents an “extraordinary amount” of money for customers to recover. Plaintiff attorneys say about 3,730 people will get at least 90 percent of their money back.
The ruling settles two class-action lawsuits and a civil lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that had dogged the Republican businessman throughout the presidential campaign.
Trump fueled the controversy by repeatedly assailing Curiel, insinuating that the Indiana-born judge’s Mexican heritage exposed a bias.
Trump had vowed never to settle. But he said after the election that he didn’t have time for a trial, even though he believed he would have prevailed.
The White House referred requests for comment to the Trump Organization, which didn’t immediately respond. Under terms of the settlement, Trump admits no wrongdoing.
Attorneys for the former customers say the money will allow people to retire debt-free and overcome other financial obstacles. The attorneys waived their fees, raising individual payments.
“Over the past seven years, our goal has always has been to help these everyday Americans move forward with their lives,” attorney Amber Eck said.
The agreement came 10 days before a trial was set to begin in San Diego, sparing Trump what would have been a major distraction during his transition to the White House.