SAN DIEGO — President-elect Donald Trump has paid $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his now-defunct Trump University, signaling that a judge’s approval of a settlement agreement remains on track for March 30.
Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC paid the money into escrow ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, said plaintiff attorney Jason Forge, who represented people who took seminars that promised to teach success in real estate. Trump University was renamed Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010 after New York state officials objected to the name because it wasn’t an accredited school.
Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a message Thursday seeking confirmation of the payment.
Under terms disclosed last month, Trump was to pay $25 million at least two days before his inauguration to settle two federal class-action lawsuits in San Diego and a civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The agreement sets aside $4 million for the New York attorney general’s office and the rest for about 7,000 people who took Trump University programs.
Students who paid up to $35,000 a year are expected to be eligible for refunds of at least half of what they paid if U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel approves the settlement on March 30. Plaintiff attorneys agreed to waive their fees.
Last month, Curiel granted preliminary approval, triggering notices to the former students to either accept the terms or object. They have until March 6 to object.
The lawsuits allege that Trump University gave nationwide seminars that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring people to spend more and, in the end, failing to deliver on its promises. They contend that Trump misled students by calling the business a university and by saying that he had hand-picked the instructors.
The settlement was announced 10 days before a trial was scheduled to begin in San Diego, sparing Trump constant news coverage of a controversy that dogged him during the campaign. Trump admitted no wrongdoing and said at the time that he settled to allow him to focus on the country.