The chief negotiator at Michigan State University who brokered the $500 million Larry Nassar settlement is breaking his silence with the inside information on how the deal was consummated. 

Former Gov. John Engler appointed Robert Young to the State Supreme Court so it seemed only natural that he also picked the former chief justice with 66 years of experience to lead the MSU team hunting for an out-of-court deal with 300 plus Larry Nassar survivors.

So how did he pull it off?

“66 years of experience and guile,” explained Young.

Justice Young was dealing with ten lawyers representing the survivors and he reveals there was one objective they shared: the desire to avoid a protracted trial that would put the Nassar abuse story back in the headlines.

When asked if there was a feeling around that table that you wanted to avoid a trial, Young said “I’m sure that’s true. It would have been horrible for everybody concerned.”

The survivors were spared that ordeal and will now share in the $425 million dollar settlement even though they starting the bargaining at a billion dollars.

“That’s what the plaintiffs certainly wanted,” said Young. “They were over a billion. But it was mediated and this was, as I said, I think it was fair and equitable. It’s higher than I wanted but, well, that’s part of the process of mediating.”

The deal is not final until the MSU Board of Trustees and the survivors sign the document. But Mr. Young believes the $500 million figure was the right number, although he refuses to explain why.

“I can’t tell you that but I am confident really there was a very good basis for that number.”

Part of the deal, at MSU’s request, was getting the survivors to remain neutral on proposed legislation that would limit the time for other survivors to file suit against the university with a $75 million reserve fund in place for that.

Young explains “because there are still new clients. That’s what that special reserve fund is for,  to protect the university in the event there are new clients.  We needed finality and the survivors needed finality. That was one way of achieving it.”

Now that it’s over he reflects on how tough this was, even his toughest negotiation.

“Oh, absolutely. This was very complex.”

With the deal in hand, the MSU interim president has to cobble together a plan to raise the $500 million that Justice Young negotiated.