Sherri Simpson, a Florida woman who says she was tricked into enrolling in a “scam” program at Trump University, asked a judge to allow her opt out from a $25 million-dollar settlement since she wants to take the president to trial.
In a court filling, Simpson told the judge that she doesn’t want to get less than she paid for when she enrolled in the university’s costly programs. Under the class action settlement, each victim will receive 50% of the money they paid for the phony classes at Trump U. The Florida woman, however, insists she gets 100%.
The lawyers of other plaintiffs are concerned that if the woman gets her way, payment to their clients may be delayed. Simpson recently told reporters that it is her constitutional right to opt out from a class action settlement. She claims Trump University deceived and defrauded her.
She recalled that her first contact with the school was in April 2010 when she attended a free seminar. Allegedly, she was told that she would have access to Donald Trump’s resources, if she enrolled in the university’s costly Gold Elite mentorship program.
Simpson claims the school promised to teach her the real estate tycoon’s investing “secrets” to help her become as successful. She was also told the professionals that would mentor her were ‘personally’ selected by the billionaire who wanted to deliver “Ivy League quality” training to Trump U. students. She was also promised that a mentor would be readily available for her year-round.
After the free seminar, she agreed to join the program.
The Gold Elite program was a scam,
the woman said.
About a week after he won the U.S. presidency, Trump agreed to settle with disgruntled students for $25 million. Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel gave the agreement the preliminary nod in January. A final hearing is scheduled for March 30. Simpson plans to plead her case on that day. However, separating herself from the class settlement won’t be easy, legal experts said.
The plaintiffs who will renounce their individual claim and agree with the settlement’s conditions will be rewarded under a “historically beneficial settlement,” one lawyer said. Yet class members who did not exclude themselves from the class action obviously wanted to remain included. So, delaying the payments by opting out will be very difficult in this phase of the trial.
Simpson’s lawyer noted that the lawsuit’s notice allowed his client to opt out. Simpson now seeks 100% of the fees she paid to enroll in the program, injunctive relief, full damages, and punitive damages.
It is unclear how much the woman paid for the Gold Elite program, but another Trump U student said he and his wife paid more than $20,000 after they enrolled in the said program after the free, three-day seminar and workshop Simpson had also attended.
A plaintiff in a separate lawsuit said she was defrauded of $60,000 during her Time at the Trump University.
Trump’s troubles started after his university’s students learned that the school wasn’t a university at all. When the institution was established 12 years ago, it didn’t have a NYSED license. Even though New York state authorities warned Trump that the school operated fraudulently without a license, he ignored the warnings. In the meantime he changed the name of the “university” to “Trump Entrepreneur Initiative” to prevent fines from pouring.
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