President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRoger Daltrey: 'Dead dog' would have beaten Clinton Christie: 'Addiction is a disease’ President shows disregard to environment with executive actions on climate change MORE has agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits against his now-defunct Trump University, the New York attorney general’s office announced Friday.
"In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of millions of dollars through a scheme known at Trump University," Schneiderman said in a statement.
"Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appealsand refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university. Today, that all changes."
The Trump Organization said it was happy to have reached a settlement.
“We are pleased to announce the complete resolution of all litigation involving Trump University," a spokesperson said. "While we have no doubt that Trump University would have prevailed at trial based on the merits of this case, resolution of these matters allow President-Elect Trump to devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation.”
Trump tweeted in February that he “could have settled but won't out of principle!”
Trump University has a 98% approval rating. I could have settled but won't out of principle!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 29, 2016
The phony lawsuit against Trump U could have been easily settled by me but I want to go to court. 98% approval rating by students. Easy win— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
As part of the settlement, Trump has also agreed to pay New York up to $1 million in fines for violating state education laws. The rest of the $25 million will go to the 6,000 plaintiffs making up the three lawsuits.
The other two lawsuits were class-actions filed in California.
"The victims of Trump University have waited years for today's result and I am pleased that their patience — and persistence — will be rewarded by this $25 million settlement," Schneiderman said.
The lawsuits alleged that the for-profit university falsely promised courses would be taught by instructors "hand-picked" by Trump himself in order get students to pay up to $35,000.
The case put Trump on the defensive during the presidential campaign. He said that the Indiana-born judge overseeing the lawsuits, Gonzalo Curiel, should recuse himself because of his "Mexican heritage."
"He’s a Mexican," Trump said in June. "We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings, rulings that people can’t even believe. This case should have ended years ago."
- Updated at 9:39 p.m.