POLITICS
25/02/2018 09:02 SAST | Updated 25/02/2018 09:02 SAST

Trump Golf Club To Pay R63 Million To Settle Class Action Lawsuit By Angry Members

Florida club breached contracts by dodging reimbursements, judge ruled.

The Trump National Golf Club in Florida has agreed to pay $5.45 million (approximately R65 million) to settle a class action lawsuit after members argued that a regulation by Donald Trump before he became president cheated them out of fees.

Details of the agreement to settle the suit — filed on behalf of 65 former members — were released in an unopposed motion filed Friday in federal court in West Palm Beach.

Trump changed the membership rules of the club in Jupiter when the Trump Organization purchased the former Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa in 2012. The club had allowed members who wanted to leave to continue to play golf (and pay dues) until replacement members were found. Their memberships deposits were refunded once replacements stepped into the spots.

Under Trump, members who had declared they wanted to leave either had to convert their memberships to discounted nonrefundable deposits to continue club access — or stop using the club altogether while replacements were found, which could take years before their fees would be refunded.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled last year that Trump's rule had breached the club's contract with members by essentially cancelling their memberships and denying them access to the club without compensation.

Marra ordered the golf club to refund all the membership fees with interest, which amounted to $5.77 million (approximately R66.7 million). The former members later agreed to the lower amount to avoid a lengthy appeal that the club vowed to carry out. They will still recover approximately 94 cents on every U.S. dollar owned, Bloomberg reported.

Trump National Golf Club has agreed to pay the money, but will not admit wrondgoing.

Marra still must approve the settlement.

After he was elected Trump agreed to pay $25 million (approximately R289 million) to settle a class action lawsuit against his Trump University, which clients said was a fraud.

Trump has been sued more than 4,000 times.