The Real Deal New York

Despite challenge, $25M Trump University settlement will stick

NY AG Eric Schneiderman said he was pleased with the outcome
February 06, 2018 01:20PM

Donald Trump holding a media conference announcing the establishment of Trump University on May 23, 2005 in New York City (credit: Getty Images)

A $25 million settlement between President Trump and former students of his defunct for-profit real estate school Trump University will stand after surviving a challenge from a Florida bankruptcy attorney

Politico reported that Sherri Simpson, a Fort Lauderdale-based lawyer and former Trump University customer, lost her appeal of the settlement after she sought to take Trump to trial over $19,000 she paid for courses and a mentorship program. The decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cited the “significant hurdles” of a jury trial against the sitting president as one reason justifying the settlement.

Shortly after his election in 2016, Trump agreed to pay $21 million to settle two class action lawsuits in California and $4 million to settle an action brought by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The settlements will be spread among about 4,000 former Trump University customers, with claims ranging from $1,500 to $35,000. In a Tuesday statement, Schneiderman said he was “pleased” with the 9th Circuit’s decision.

Founded in 2004, Trump University started as a for-profit online course program, ostensibly designed to teach novices the ins and outs of the real estate business with instructors “handpicked” by Donald Trump himself. But it soon focused more on selling live seminars run by motivational speakers, many of whom allegedly had no real estate experience, and who were instructed to pitch mentorships that cost as much as $35,000. Allegations that Trump University misled customers about the now-president’s actual involvement in the program, and that it provided students with false information and illegal advice, sparked litigation or consumer fraud investigations in several states. Trump University ended most of its operations in 2010. [Politico]Will Parker