NEW YORK, United States — US President-elect Donald Trump has reached a $25 million settlement in class action suits that saw his now-defunct Trump University accused of fraud — a deal that will spare him the embarrassment of further legal wrangling as he forms his government.
“Today’s $25 million settlement agreement is a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university,” New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
“I am pleased that under the terms of this settlement, every victim will receive restitution and that Donald Trump will pay up to $1 million in penalties to the State of New York for violating state education laws.”
The lawsuit filed in 2010 on behalf of former customers alleged that Trump University, which was not accredited as a school, gave seminars and classes across the country that were like infomercials, pressuring people to spend up to $35,000 for mentorships and, in the end, failing on its promise to teach success in real estate. The claims mirror another class-action complaint in San Diego and a lawsuit in New York.
Trump had been scheduled to go on trial on November 28 in the lawsuit, potentially taking the witness stand weeks before his inauguration as president of the United States.
At a May hearing, Trump’s lawyer Daniel Petrocelli asked for a trial after Inauguration Day on January 20, but Judge Gonzalo Curiel — the Indiana-born jurist who was accused of bias by Trump during the campaign for his Mexican heritage — raised concerns about distractions if Trump won the election. The attorney said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to holding a trial during the campaign.