NEW YORK/SAN DIEGO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to settle fraud lawsuits relating to his Trump University series of real estate seminars for $25 million, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
A settlement would end a dispute that dogged Trump throughout his presidential election campaign and led to one of the more controversial moments of his run when he claimed the judge overseeing two of the cases was biased because he was of Mexican ancestry.
Related: Trump's transition team
Donald Trump's transition team
Donald Trump's transition team
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Lawyers for the president-elect have been arguing against students who claim they were they were lured by false promises into paying up to $35,000 to learn Trump's real estate investing "secrets" from his "hand-picked" instructors.
There are three lawsuits relating to Trump University: two class actions suits in California and a case brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. All of the cases would be covered in the possible settlement, the person said.
The source asked not be identified because the agreement was not yet final.
Schneiderman has said over 5,000 students across the country were defrauded out of about $40 million.
The $25 million settlement agreement would include roughly $4 million to resolve Schneiderman's claims, the source said. Lawyers for the students were not planning to seek attorneys fees, but reimbursement for costs.
Trump's attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the two California cases, had urged both sides to settle.
Related: Trump's life leading up to the election
Donald Trump's life leading up to the election
Donald Trump's life leading up to the election
Bound for the rigors of business school in the future, Donald Trump received discipline at an early age by attending a military academy. There, he reportedly excelled in extracurricular activities such as being the Honor Cadet.
Donald Trump in the New York Military Academy's 1964 yearbook
As someone who loves the art of negotiation, Donald Trump was able to negotiate New York City to provide a 40-year tax abatement for the Grand Hyatt Hotel — the first ever granted to a commercial property.
(Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Master renovator: Trump offered to renovate decrepit areas in need, such as a long-closed ice-skating rink, at no profit to himself, after the city's renovation effort went through five years of delays and more than double the original cost estimate.
(Photo by Michael Schwartz / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Trump's enterprise also stretched out into sports, where he was the original owner of the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League.
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(Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
Trump owns a fleet of luxury helicopters.
Donald Trump, real estate mogul, entrepreneur, and billionare, utilizes his personal helicopter to get around on August 1987 in New York City.
(Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images)
Trump was also notorious for befriending attractive supermodels. His first wife, Ivana, a Czech-American, was a member of the social elite.
Ivana Trump and Donald Trump are seen in December 1982 in New York City.
(Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)
No expense was spared for his belongings, as Donald Trump once paid the sultan of Brunei $30 million for a nearly 300-foot yacht.
American businessman Donald Trump and his wife Ivana sit at a table on board their luxury yacht The Trump Princess, anchored outside the Water Club, New York City, July 1988.
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To test the political waters, the potential Reform Party presidential candidate traveled to several areas to address party leaders.
New York real estate developer Donald Trump (L) answers questions as Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura looks on in Brooklyn Park, January 7. Trump said on Friday he "very well might" make a run for president under the Reform Party banner but had not made a final decision. "I'm looking very seriously if I can win," he told reporters. "And if I can win, I believe I can do a very good job." Trump came to Minnesota to raise money for the party's highest elected official, Governor Ventura, who made it clear that he and the New York developer were on the same wavelength.
(STR New / Reuters)
Trump also enjoys tennis — he even played a round, wearing his traditional suit, against the legendary Serena Williams.
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He also became the owner of the infamous Miss Universe beauty pageant for many years.
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Sometimes, negotiating can be a tough sport. What better way to exert your dominance by taking the center stage among the world's most bombastic figures?
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As the fog of the political battlefield has cleared on the Republican side, Trump is now preparing for a likely battle with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
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Being the entertaining host, Trump also spared no expense in providing a spectacular show for friends and family.
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As a self-proclaimed family man, Trump attended many public events and television shows with his family, even before his current campaign.
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As no stranger to the political process, Donald Trump was even acquainted with members of the judicial branch.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (L), serving as the grand marshal for the Daytona 500, speaks to Donald Trump on the starting grid at the Daytona International Speedway February 14. JLS/ELD
Trump famously launched his presidential campaign in June 2015 by coming down an escalator in Trump Tower. Since then, he has weathered waves of controversy to become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
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Trump made his final appeal to voters in swing-states as the contentious campaign drew to a close.
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President-elect Trump at his election night party at the Hilton Hotel in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Republican president-elect Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during his election night event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Trump said during his election campaign that Curiel, who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents, could not be impartial because of Trump's campaign pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to control illegal immigration.
A trial in one of the cases was scheduled to begin on Nov. 28 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.
"As Attorney General Schneiderman has long said, he has always been open to a settlement that fairly compensates the many victims of Trump University who have been waiting years for a resolution," Eric Soufer, a spokesman for Schneiderman, said in a statement.
Trump has said he did not "hand pick" Trump University instructors, but that marketing language used was not to be taken literally. He has said most students gave the classes high ratings.
A court hearing in the case was set for Friday afternoon in San Diego.