About 7,000 former students from President Trump’s now shuttered real estate seminar business Trump University are due to receive checks in coming months — but some have already died waiting.
The disclosure came as part of a court filing this week seeking to beat back a last-ditch appeal by a Florida litigant that could delay the payments from the $25 million settlement for months or years.
“For some class members, the relief is already too late,” wrote Rachel Jensen, a San Diego attorney that helped secure the settlement for the two class-action suits filed in federal court.
Boyce Chait, 85, a resident of Springfield, N.J., died in January while waiting for a refund on his $34,995 Trump University “mentorship program” tuition.
Several elderly plaintiffs have died since the first lawsuits were filed in 2010, but USA Today notes that the payments can still be issued to the estates of former students.
USA Today reports:
The seven-year legal battle came to a close in November, just after Election Day, when Trump attorneys announced they’d settle despite previous assurances the President and his company would battle the case at trial. The settlement was approved in March, and Trump admitted no wrongdoing.
Chait and his wife Evelyn told TIME in 2015 they were members of the Tea Party and planned to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. Nearly 200 of the litigants in the case registered as part of the “elder abuse” subclass, meaning they were 65 or older at the time of purchase. By that measure, more could pass away in coming months and years, Jensen said.
One of the class action lawsuit’s namesakes, Sonny Low of California, is 76. He testified last year that he worries his health may mean he could not survive the litigation or be able to enjoy the financial refund. Low said he also still owes $8,000 from his 2009 Trump University purchase of a $25,000 “in-person mentorship” on his credit card — with 16% interest.
While those checks for “90 cents on the dollar” are stuck in legal limbo, others have said they are facing bankruptcy and foreclosure on their homes.
John Brown, 65, another former student in New York, owes $19,000 on his credit card from a 2009 class and said he was delaying retirement until the settlement arrives, according to court documents.
J.R. Everett, 73, of Florida, said she yanked $25,000 out of her 401K plan to purchase a “TU Gold Elite Program” in 2009 — and plans to put the money back after her check arrives.”
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is set to rule on whether to Simpson needs to put up the money in coming weeks. The appeal is being heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.