April 9, 2018 / 10:46 PM / 2 months ago

Trump University settlement now final as objector drops appeal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Monday signed off on a $25 million agreement to settle fraud claims arising from Trump University, the now-defunct education venture of U.S. President Donald Trump, after a former student agreed to drop further appeals.

Trump University DVDs are displayed at The Trump Museum near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego declared the settlement “final” after the former student, Sherri Simpson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, decided not to challenge a Feb. 6 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the settlement.

Simpson said she had spent about $19,000 at Trump University, and objected to a provision blocking students from opting out of the settlement and trying to recoup more on their own.

“This process has taken long enough,” Simpson’s lawyer Gary Friedman said in an interview on Monday. “We took our best shot, the 9th Circuit ruled against us, and we want the money to go out to everyone as quickly as possible.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had sued Trump over the university, welcomed the settlement.

“Victims of Donald Trump’s fraudulent university will finally receive the relief they deserve,” in what became “an even higher settlement than anyone originally anticipated,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

When initially granting final approval in March 2017, Curiel said the settlement provided “significant and immediate” relief to thousands of students, who could potentially recoup more than 90 cents on the dollar.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Richard Chang

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