President-elect pays out $25-million Trump University settlement

Three days before his presidential inauguration, Donald Trump paid out $25 million in compliance with the settlement reached in three Trump University lawsuits.

The funds, paid by the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, were deposited Tuesday night in an escrow account, where they will remain until the settlement is finalized, according to Jason Forge, one of the San Diego attorneys representing about 7,000 class members in two of the cases.

Trump University changed its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010 after being told by New York officials to stop using “university” in its name.

The president-elect had until Wednesday to deposit the funds under the terms of the settlement.

Class members have begun to receive notifications of the settlement and have until about March 1 to turn in their forms or object in writing to the settlement.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has granted preliminary approval of the settlement, and a final approval hearing has been set for March 30 in San Diego federal court.

The settlement, reached Nov. 18, calls for $21 million to go to the thousands of class members in the two San Diego cases. The class members should receive at least half of what they paid to enroll in the program. Another $4 million resolves a lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general.

The lawsuits claimed Trump University misled students into believing the program was a legitimate university teaching real estate success skills and that its instructors were handpicked by Trump.

Students claimed they were tricked into doling out thousands of dollars and didn’t get much in return.

Trump had vowed to fight the case, saying the program was not misleading and that the vast majority of students gave the instruction good reviews.

He decided to settle the case after he was elected president, saying on Twitter that he wanted to turn his attention to running the country.

kristina.davis@sduniontribune.com

Davis writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune

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