Donald Trump settles Trump University lawsuits for $25 million

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.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 19, 2016, 03:40 AM IST

State of New York: 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 on 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!"