Trump Forks Over $25 Million To Settle Trump University Cases

With just a day to go before he becomes the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump has officially settled the lawsuits filed against him regarding the so-called ‘Trump University,’ which was the subject of numerous consumer and fraud complaints:

Days before President-elect Donald Trump is set to take the oath to uphold the Constitution, he has followed through on a more painful obligation: coughing up $25 million to settle litigation over his defunct Trump University real estate seminar program.

Trump University — now known as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative — transferred the funds Tuesday night, according to two sources involved.

The $25 million will be put into escrow until a judge makes a decision on whether to approve the settlement. A hearing on the deal is set for March 31.

Last March, Trump vowed not to settle the long-running litigation — two federal class-action fraud lawsuits and a parallel state court action brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The suits accused Trump U. of deceiving students by falsely claiming that Trump knew the instructors and that the school was an accredited university.

Trump’s lawyer said any misstatements about Trump University amounted to “mere puffery.” Trump also repeatedly noted that many attendees were satisfied with the programs.

However, in November — after Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton — the real estate mogul agreed to head off a looming civil trial by forking over enough money to pay back roughly half of the $1,500 to $35,000 that individual students paid for seminars or one-on-one mentorship programs.

A Trump attorney did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday. When the proposed deal was announced two months ago, Trump took to Twitter to explain his rationale for seeking to close out the suits

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

A spokeswoman for Schneiderman, Amy Spitalnick, said the payment of the funds is an important step in getting compensation to those who took part in the Trump U. program.

“The $25 million settlement marks a significant victory for the thousands of fraud victims in New York and across the country, all of whom will receive restitution, in addition to the up to $1 million in penalties Donald Trump will pay to the State of New York for violating education laws,” Spitalnick said. She noted that Schneiderman had obtained a written pledge from a Trump attorney that none of the funds for the settlement would come from any charitable foundation.

Once Trump won the election, a settlement of the claims seemed inevitable since it’s unlikely that he would have wanted to enter office with the prospect of a major fraud lawsuit hanging over his head.

FILED UNDER: The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    I bet the check bounces. Seriously..

  2. Mu says:

    @Mark Ivey: The Trump foundation has deep pockets

  3. An Interested Party says:

    The Trump foundation has deep pockets

    No doubt Trump’s pockets will get deeper and deeper the longer he is president…nothing like a little wheeling and dealing (and corruption) as the chief executive of this country…

  4. Hal_10000 says:

    I have a feeling “Trump forks over $X million to settle Y lawsuit” is going to be a headline we’ll be seeing a lot of in the next four years.

  5. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: At least he’ll know what blind trusts are for in that case.

  6. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, but Fiona Apple has released a protest song about Trump entitled “Tiny Hands.”

    Sample lyric: “We don’t want your tiny hands, anywhere near our underpants.”

    Granted it’s not “Un bel di,” but it ought to drive Li’l Donny into a Twitter rage.

  7. al-Alameda says:

    You cannot make this stuff up any more.

    A significant minority of the voters elected this real estate developer, sales man, and con man president, all the while telling us that we need a ‘successful ‘businessman’ to fix things.

    To me, it came down to something very simple: These voters preferred an actual con man – Donald Trump – to Hillary Clinton, of whom they’re convinced that, despite multiple sham Republican investigations that yielded no evidence of wrongdoing, is corrupt.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    Let’s just have the Cheeto-Jebus and his sycophants work thru this for us.

    But — and I don’t settle cases. You know what happens? When you start settling lawsuits, everybody sues you. I don’t get sued too often, because I don’t settle cases, I win cases in court.

    Kellyanne Conway on Bill Clinton:

    “He settled a sexual harassment case for $850,000 with Paula Jones in 1998. The last time I didn’t sexually harass someone here at the campaign I didn’t pay him,”

    She said, stating that that the settlement was proof that Clinton had sexually harassed Jones.
    Here is a partial list of lawsuits Trump has settled, even though he doesn’t settle them:
    By his own standards Trump is guilty of fraud and a whole lot more.
    This man is going to fail and he is going to take the Republic down with him…see; Atlantic City.

  9. Senyordave says:

    Now he’s bragging about the high IQ of his cabinet nominees. Rick Perry once got a D in a college course called “Meats”. So naturally he’s qualified for Energy Sec, where he’ll be responsible for nuclear weapons. Of course, that’s the department he wanted to eliminate but forgot the name of during a debate. The best and the brightest.