Thousands of former students of the defunct real estate program known as Trump University won a surprise victory late Friday when President-elect Donald Trump agreed to settle $25 million in response to their claims of fraud.
The suit, brought by New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman on behalf of former seminar attendees, accused Trump of “swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of millions of dollars through a scheme known as Trump University.”
In a late Friday announcement, Schneiderman celebrated the settlement, which he described as a “stunning reversal” on the part of Trump, who fought “every step of the way.”
“The victims of Trump University have waited years for today’s result and I am pleased that their patience—and persistence—will be rewarded by this $25 million settlement,” Schneiderman said, noting that “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.”
Throughout the case, which was launched in 2013, the AG said that Trump “fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university. Today, that all changes.”
The real estate mogul has frequently boasted that he “never settles” such lawsuits. Indeed, Schneiderman noted that the compromise marked a “stunning reversal” by Trump and a “major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.”
And while the President-elect does not admit to any wrongdoing in the agreement, Patrick Coughlin, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, told the New York Daily News that the amount of money “speaks to the merits of the claims that we had.”
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