Univer­sity fraud law­suits: Trump de­fends set­tle­ment

The Myanmar Times - - World -

DON­ALD Trump said he would pay US$25 mil­lion to set­tle law­suits over al­leged fraud at Trump Univer­sity be­cause he is fo­cused on lead­ing the US, dis­miss­ing any hint of guilt.

In a sharp about-turn af­ter years of re­fus­ing to set­tle, Mr Trump said the amount was a good deal and in­sisted he would have won the cases had they gone to trial.

“I set­tled the Trump Univer­sity law­suit for a small frac­tion of the po­ten­tial award be­cause as Pres­i­dent I have to fo­cus on our coun­try,” he tweeted.

“The ONLY bad thing about win­ning the Pres­i­dency is that I did not have the time to go through a long but win­ning trial on Trump U. Too bad!” he added.

A trio of suits brought by for­mer stu­dents in New York and Cal­i­for­nia al­leged that the Trump train­ing pro­gram – which was not an ac­cred­ited col­lege or univer­sity, and op­er­ated from 2005 to 2011 – fleeced stu­dents by trick­ing them with ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing.

Stu­dents paid as much as $35,000 to en­rol, wrongly be­liev­ing they would make it big in real es­tate af­ter be­ing taught by what the Man­hat­tan mogul de­scribed as ex­perts he had hand-picked, the suits said.

Mr Trump’s lawyers had coun­tered for years that many stu­dents had given the pro­gram a thumb­sup and those who failed to suc­ceed had only them­selves to blame.

But with the pres­i­dent-elect ap­par­ently seek­ing to put the thorny mat­ter to rest as he builds his cabi­net, a deal was reached.

“The $25 mil­lion set­tle­ment agree­ment is a stun­ning re­ver­sal by Don­ald Trump and a ma­jor vic­tory for the over 6000 vic­tims of his fraud­u­lent univer­sity,” New York state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man said.

A spokesper­son for Mr Sch­nei­der­man’s of­fice said the set­tle­ment cov­ers all three class-ac­tion law­suits against Trump Univer­sity: two in Cal­i­for­nia dat­ing to 2010 and one in New York filed in 2013.

Robert Guillo, a 76-year-old New Yorker who spent nearly $40,000 on tu­ition along­side his son, pre­vi­ously told AFP that the pro­gram was an “ab­so­lute scam”.

“I learned ab­so­lutely noth­ing,” he said. “He fooled me for $35,000.”

The agree­ment came just be­fore a hear­ing in a San Diego court was about to be­gin de­cid­ing on Mr Trump’s re­quest to de­lay the trial.

Mr Trump agreed to the set­tle­ment with­out ad­mit­ting any fault or li­a­bil­ity, his lawyer said.–

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