Trump University Settlement in Jeopardy, Could Lead To Trial

President Trump settled the Trump University fraud claims by paying $25 million to the victims of the scam and $1 million in penalties to the State of New York for violating state education laws.   Trump University victim Sherri Simpson, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and her lawyers, asked federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel to allow students to be excluded from the settlement so they can sue Trump directly, and if not, that the settlement is entirely scrapped.

Trump wanted to bury the fraud claims so they wouldn’t become a distraction from his Presidency.  The settlement allowed him to wipe his hands clean of the scam, once and for all.  If Judge Curiel agrees that Ms. Simpson should be able to force a trial, the settlement agreement likely crumbles.

Patrick Coughlin, the lawyer representing the class-action plaintiffs, said, “[Ms. Simpson] could have excluded herself before and pursued her own litigation.  That time passed.”  But Ms. Simpson’s lawyers argued a notice sent to students in 2015 implied students could request exclusion from any settlement, but the settlement agreement didn’t offer victims the opportunity to be excluded from the agreement.  Monday was the deadline for students to participate in, or object to, the settlement, a deadline Ms. Simpson met.

Students claimed they were cheated with false and misleading claims about what they would learn and faced high-pressured sales tactics to pay exorbitant up-charges.  After spending $1,495 for a three-day seminar, students were pressured into spending $35,000 for a “Gold Elite” program that promised access to the “resources of Mr. Trump and his real estate organization.”  Ms. Simpson split this “Gold Elite” fee with another student, spending about $19,000, she quickly grew dissatisfied. “The Gold Elite program was a scam,” she wrote.

Following the settlement, Trump 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!”  The President might just get his chance to go to trial.  Be careful what you wish for.

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About Christopher Marshall 73 Articles
Serial webpreneur, recording engineer, Editor-in-Chief Political News Review.