US President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement in class action lawsuits accusing the now-defunct Trump University of fraud — a deal that will spare him the embarrassment of further legal wrangling as he prepares to enter the White House.
"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 Friday.
"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."
A spokesperson for Schneiderman\’s office said the settlement covers all three cases against Trump University: two in California and one in New York.
The agreement came just an hour before a hearing in a San Diego federal court was about to begin to decide on a request by Trump — who is currently holding daily consultations on his new cabinet — to delay the trial.
The six-year-old lawsuit brought by former students alleges that now-defunct Trump University — which was not an accredited college or university — fleeced students by tricking them with aggressive marketing.
Students paid as much as $35,000 to enroll, wrongly believing they would make it big in real estate after being taught by experts hand-picked by Trump, the suit says.
Trump\’s lawyers counter that many students have given the program a thumbs-up and those who failed to succeed have only themselves to blame. The school operated from 2005 to 2011.
In February, Trump tweeted that the program had a 98 percent approval rating: "I could have settled but won\’t out of principal!"