Ex-students of US President Donald Trump’s now defunct Trump University who claim they were duped will get most of their money back, after a federal appeals court ruling on Tuesday.
Back in March 2017, a court ruled that Trump should pay the members of two class lawsuits against Trump University $25 million, with former students claiming that they had been defrauded by the institution. The ruling at a San Francisco US Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the settlement.
Trump University operated from 2005 to 2011, with students paying up to $35,000 to enrol believing they would be taught by hand-picked experts in real estate. It was not an accredited university and did not confer college credit, grade its students or grant degrees, however.
“Instead of receiving the promised training, attendees were aggressively encouraged to invest tens of thousands of dollars more in a so-called mentorship program that included resources, real estate guidance and a host of other benefits, none of which ever materialized,” said the ruling as quoted by AFP.
One member of the class action Sherri Simpson had sought to opt out of the deal and sue the president for $19,000 she paid for attending Trump University. The ruling this week effectively rejected her attempt to opt out.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel who issued the initial ruling has been attacked by Trump who said he had a “conflict of interest” in presiding over the case because of his Mexican heritage.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Amber Eck, said “this has been an incredibly long, hard fight – and today’s ruling brings thousands of Americans one step closer to finally putting Trump University behind them.”