Washington, April 1 (IANS) A US federal judge in California on Friday gave final approval to an accord requiring President Donald Trump to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits against now-defunct Trump University.
The decision by US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel puts an end to seven years of litigation on behalf of former students who paid as much as $35,000 for courses that purported to share Trump’s formula for success in real estate, Efe news agency reported.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump leveled accusations of bias against Curiel, the US-born son of Mexican immigrants, claiming that the judge was hostile to him because of the mogul’s harsh anti-Mexican rhetoric.
The agreement, which was announced 10 days after Trump won the November 8 election, covers two federal class-action cases in California and a separate suit brought by the New York attorney general against the university, a for-profit entity that opened in 2004 and closed in 2010.
New York prosecutors said the university never had the necessary operating licenses and that students were bilked out of thousands of dollars.
Trump said before winning the Republican nomination that he was unwilling to settle the lawsuits “out of principle,” insisting that many of the students were satisfied with the quality of the instruction.
After reaching the settlement, he said that he decided to offer compensation to resolve the matter so he could concentrate on his task as president.
Lawyers for the 3,730 student plaintiffs said their clients stand to recoup as much as 90 per cent of the tuition and fees they paid.
“Today’s final approval by a judge of our Trump University settlement will provide relief — and hopefully much-needed closure — to the victims of Trump’s fraudulent university,” New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.