19 Nov 2016

Trump to pay $25m over 'phoney' university

7:01 pm on 19 November 2016

US President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to pay $25 million ($35m NZD) to settle his Trump University fraud lawsuits, but he will not admit wrongdoing.

Donald Trump announces the establishment of Trump University in New York in May 2005.

Donald Trump announces the establishment of Trump University in New York in May 2005. Photo: Thos Robinson / Getty Images North America / AFP

The lawsuits have dogged Mr Trump, who previously vowed to fight the cases.

During his presidential campaign, he claimed the US district judge overseeing two of the cases, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, was biased because he was of Mexican descent.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the settlement.

He said it followed repeated refusals by Mr Trump "to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phoney university".

Students claimed they were they were lured by false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump's real estate investing "secrets" from his "hand-picked" instructors.

Three lawsuits relating to Trump University will be covered by the deal: two class actions suits in California and a New York case brought by Schneiderman.

Judge Curiel must approve the deal.

Mr Trump will not admit any wrongdoing under the agreement.

His attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, said the settlement demonstrated Trump's desire to set his personal feelings aside to work on issues facing the county.

"It's time to move on," Petrocelli said.

Schneiderman and attorneys for the students praised the deal.

"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," Schneiderman said in a statement.

At a court hearing on Friday, students' attorney Jason Forge said that out of the $25m proposed settlement, $4m would be earmarked for students represented by Schneiderman who were not part of the California class actions, as well as administrative costs.

Class action lawyers for the students will not seek attorneys fees, but reimbursement for costs, he said.

- Reuters

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