Consumer Confidential: Sadly, no one will get to testify on alleged fraud committed by Trump University

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Donald Trump, president of the United States, has been given the go-ahead by a federal court to pay $25 million to settle charges that he committed acts of fraud on thousands of Trump University students.

The decision by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco puts the kibosh on an attempt by one plaintiff in the case, Florida bankruptcy lawyer Sherri Simpson, to drag Trump into court over the $19,000 she paid for classes and a mentorship program.

Instead, Trump will get off the hook by paying roughly the same estimated amount he wants taxpayers to spend on a parade of tanks and missiles down Pennsylvania Avenue -- which I'm not making up.

Trump wrote the $25-million check after the election. It's been held in escrow pending a final court ruling.

The payment puts an end to lawsuits filed in California and New York -- subsequently rolled into a single class action -- alleging that Trump University, which wasn't really a licensed school but a series of seminars, duped customers with promises of "secrets" from Trump that would allow them to make a killing in the real estate market.

A "one-year apprenticeship" cost about $1,500. A Trump University "membership" ran more than $10,000. The top-of-the-line "Gold Elite" program set people back $35,000.

--Sponsored Video--

Trump University customers alleged in the lawsuits that the promised secrets were basically the same sort of information you could find on the Internet, that the seminar instructors were unqualified and that the mentoring was more like cheerleading.

New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman said he was glad the settlement cash would now find its way to more than 6,000 victims of the alleged racket.

"For years, President Trump refused to compensate the victims of his sham university," he said in a statement. "His reversal in 2016 -- and the large-scale settlement that resulted -- opened the door for student victims to finally obtain the restitution they deserve."

The settlement includes no admission of guilt by Trump.


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