Donald Trump apparently is dropping the tough talk over Trump University fraud lawsuits and is ready to shell out as much as $25 million to make the cases go away without admitting wrong-doing before he takes office as President, according to a new report.
Details about possible settlement talks were reported today (Nov. 18) by The New York Daily News.
Trump had previously vowed to fight the lawsuits, filed in New York and California, and never offered more than a “low-seven-figure” amount to settle the cases.
The president-elect suffered a serious setback in the case in March.
A four-judge New York state Appellate Court panel ruled that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was “authorized to bring a cause of action for fraud” against Trump and Trump University on behalf of disgruntled students.
The lower trial court, called the Supreme Court, had previously granted the attorney general’s motion for a summary judgement. The decision put Trump and the university on the hook for as much as $40 million in damages. But Trump appealed the decision.
Schneiderman filed the lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in August 2013, charging the university was nothing more than a scam designed to enrich Trump at the expense of its students.
Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern ruled in 2014 that Trump knew that the school’s continued operation was against the law, yet he continued to operate it anyway.
The judge also dismissed Trump’s counterclaim against Schneiderman alleging malicious prosecution.
Trump had been ordered to appear in the California case, a class action. His lawyers were trying to postpone the trial, citing his pressing duties as president-elect.
That led the judge in the case to aggressively push for an out-of-court settlement, The News reported.
Allowing Trump to deny wrongdoing is standard procedure in settled cases. It’s tantamount to admitting no wrong-doing but promising not to do it again.
Schneiderman has reportedly been open to a settlement, if students who paid up to $35,000 to take Trump University courses were reimbursed.
More than 5,000 students took course through the for-profit school. Whether the settle will recoup all of their costs remain to be seen.
“Using false promises to prey on desperate people has long been a hallmark of ‘snake-oil salesmen,’” Schneiderman said earlier this year. “A lawsuit by my office alleges that Donald Trump was basically doing the same thing with Trump University.”