Posted by Dean Rotbart
There is only one donor behavior that universities and other non-profits disdain more than reneging on a pledge – asking that endowed contributions be refunded.
Today’s The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Princeton University has agreed to settle a so-called ‘donor-intent’ lawsuit for a whopping $100 million. News of the settlement will no doubt come as a shock – and a warning – to charitable recipients who’ve become lackadaisical in applying donated funds strictly according to their intended purpose.
In Princeton’s instance, the university was sued by heirs to the A&P supermarket chain. Back in 1961, Charles and Marie Robertson, now deceased, gifted $35 million to the school to train graduates students to serve in the federal government.
With the passage of time, the Robertson endowment has ballooned to between $700 million and $900 million. The family sued Princeton in the hope of extracting those funds – roughly 6% of Princeton’s entire $16.3 billion endowment, and distributing the monies to other schools.
“A university should think twice before they deceive a donor, particularly a donor who can fight back, William Robertson, the son of Charles and Marie, told the Journal.
Indeed, at the time the paper first reported on Robertson v. Princeton in a February 2006 front page feature, the Robertsons had already spent years and more than $10 million pursuing their fight.
Court documents, which came to number almost half a million pages, did force Princeton to return nearly $800,000 in 2007. The actual trial was slated to begin next month.
Now Princeton has agreed to settle the lawsuit by yanking $50 million out of the Robertson endowment (to be used at other universities) and picking up interest and legal fees likely to total an additional $50 million.
By comparison, Yale University’s 1995 refund of a $20 million donation to Lee Bass, a Texas business executive, seems like a slap on the wrist.
Officially, Shirley M. Tilghman, president of Princeton University, said her institution is glad to finally wash its hands of the matter and stop piling up fresh legal fees, which she said could be better spent on education.
The Robertsons have indicated they will take their refund, to be paid out over three years, and put it to its intended purpose, likely at Tufts University, Texas A&M, University of Maryland and Syracuse University.
Although the settlement forestalls an actual trial, Robertson v. Princeton is certain to become a landmark case study for those who make or receive large charitable donations.
1.11.09 at 1:05 pm | I have awakened to the reality that evil is. . .
1.6.09 at 12:26 pm | Some pro-Hamas supporters may try to disrupt. . .
12.28.08 at 11:13 am | Justice for Jonathan Pollard goes well beyond. . .
12.21.08 at 12:59 am | An Obama supporter says he is troubled by the. . .
12.17.08 at 1:05 pm | Is there an ulterior motive behind Eli Broad's. . .
12.16.08 at 10:14 pm | A class-action lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S.. . .
12.15.08 at 11:42 am | Eli & Edythe Broad have done enough for the arts.. . . (9)
12.12.08 at 2:29 pm | Bernard L. Madoff may turn out to be the biggest. . . (2)
December 10, 2008 | 8:13 pm
Posted by Dean Rotbart
A Jewish Journal reader, T.F., emailed me this afternoon to explain why he, a Holocaust survivor, will be so happy to be done with the Bush/Cheney administration. T.F. pointed me to an article in the November 11th edition of The American Prospect, a liberal journal, titled Goodbye and Good Riddance. If like T.F., you think President Bush is an evil buffoon, you’ll appreciate the essay by Paul Waldman.
Here is T.F.‘s note to me, followed my response to him. If I get a further reply, I’ll post it here as well.
Date: Wed, December 10, 2008 3:29 pm
I was one of the people that responded to your article in the Jewish Journal, and expressed my position of not feeling compelled to aplologize to anyone, especially Palin, Haggerty and Coulter.
No, even though Liberal, I do not “hate” them, since I do not really know them; but I do not like what they stand for. Palin did the Democrats a favor, or at least the brain trust that put her on the ticket, did them a service. She may very well have caused the Republicans to lose.
My issue with her was that she was, (is), totally unqualified to be president, and to have her as immediate backup to a 72 year old, with a repeated history of melanoma, was not a rational decision.
As for Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, et. al., they would have been star pupils in the Josef Goebbels School of Journalism and Propaganda. How much time have you spent with Coulter trying to get perfected by converting from Judaism to Christianity?
I am a Holocaust survivor so I believe that I have a profound appreciation of the need for Israel and the criticality of its survival. But, I live in the US, and have done so for 60 years and my first priority is to this country, then to Israel. And the prospect of a McCain/Palin administration frankly scared the hell out me. Contemplating the possibility of Palin as president was astonishing; and contemplating their Supreme Court choices were equally disturbing to me.
All you have to do to look at why some of us Liberals might have concerns with the Hannerty’s, Coulters, etc., is to look at the last eight years! The most incompetent, corrupt Administration in the history of this country. The neo-cons would love to have it continue. In a better world, Bush and Cheney should have been impeached. You conservative folks can get all worked up about Democratic Presidents who can’t keep their pecker in their pants, but are ok with starting a bogus war so that Junior can show his dad that he can fart louder than the old man, or shredding the Constitution at will, or putting 32 year old jerks with a store bought law degrees in positions to vet Justice Department candidates, based on purely political basis. Not appreciating this does not constitute hate; you want to see hate, listen to Michael Savage and Dick Morris! That’s hate.
Hope you read the attached.
Here is what I replied to T.F.:
I once venerated all Holocaust survivors. My father was one, as you likely know. Yet I realize that those who survived the Shoah are really no different than the rest of us - they come in all shapes and political/intellectual persuasions.
So the fact that someone who witnessed and personally experienced the German Holocaust is unable to recognize the gathering clouds of the Islamic Global Holocaust is not as surprising to me as I once imagined it would be.
Your dislike of President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Sarah Palin, et. al. does not make the case for Barack Obama. Did you vote for Obama because you admire him and his associations and his track record or simply because you dislike conservative Republicans and believe anyone—even a Palestinian apologist, is better?
I will ask you to make your case for President Obama. Tell me, in your view, how he will do better than Bush/Cheney to keep America safe from terrorism? How will he force Iran to back down from its active plans to destroy Israel? How will he prevent an all out Islamic assault against the West? Hint: Charm and logic doesn’t work very well on those willing to cut the throat of Daniel Pearl and other such innocents. Nor does appeasement.
Let’s remember that anti-American, anti-Jewish hatred was not born during the Bush administration. The terror attacks on 9/11 were plotted and prepared during Bill Clinton’s watch. If Al Gore were President in September 2001, we would still have been hit.
So, I ask, what will President Obama do differently?
Is the Reverend Wright-loving, Khalidi-praising, Ayers-neighborly, Resco-friendly, anti-War Obama good for America and the world just because he is not George Bush?
How do you explain away those Obama associations, which in the case of Reverend Wright date back 20 hate-filled years? Or, perhaps, you agree that America is due for some comeuppance?
I await your answers.
December 9, 2008 | 7:36 pm
Posted by Dean Rotbart
One of the nation’s oldest real-estate dynasties, and once one of its richest, has seen its wealth implode from $3.2 billion in June 2008 to about $116 million today. And a possible bankruptcy looms.
The Bucksbaum family, founders and major shareholders of Chicago-based General Growth Properties, are the subject of a gloomy front page report in today’s The Wall Street Journal.
“The family could lose General Growth altogether, along with three generations of hard work that began with a grocery store in Iowa,” reporters Robert Frank and Kris Hudson write. Already, John Bucksbaum, the son of one of two founding brothers, has been forced to resign as Chief Executive Officer by the company’s board.
General Growth Properties (GGP), which is a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust, has financial interests in shopping malls in 44 states, including nearly two dozen in California. Among GGP’s in-state properties (managed or owned) are Burbank Town Center, Glendale Galleria, Montclair Plaza, Northridge Fashion Center and Chico Mall.
John Bucksbaum’s father Matthew, and his uncle, Martin launched the company in 1954 when they built a shopping center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and operated their family’s grocery business from it.
The brothers went on to successfully develop and manage shopping centers and malls and amass a personal fortune.
Matthew, now 82 and listed as chairman emeritus of the GGP board, is a past president of Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Des Moines and a 1999 recipient of the Human Rights Medallion Award from the Chicago Chapter of The American Jewish Committee. In November 2006, Matthew made a $1 million pledge to Hillel at the University of Iowa. Matthew’s brother, Martin, died in his sleep from a heart attack in 1995.
Today’s financial crisis can trace is roots to 2004 when the Bucksbaum’s GGP paid $12 billion in cash and debt to acquire Rouse Co., which owned 37 upscale malls, including Las Vegas’s Fashion Show Mall. Other showcase properties in the newly combined portfolio include Water Tower Place (Chicago), South Street Seaport (Manhattan) and Faneuil Hall (Boston).
The Journal says that GGP has $900 million in loans due this Friday, December 12, 2008, and an additional $3.1 billion due in 2009. In total, the company is carrying more than $27 billion in debt and facing a severe cash flow squeeze. The company’s stock price has fallen more than 97% in the past year, the Journal notes.
John Bucksbaum, whose sister Ann is married to New York Times columnist and bestselling author Thomas L. Friedman, is on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. John’s other board memberships include the University of Chicago Hospitals and The Field Museum. His two children, Max and Eli, attend The Latin School in Chicago.
December 8, 2008 | 7:29 pm
Posted by Dean Rotbart
Date: December 8, 2008
To: All People of Goodwill
From: Dean Rotbart, Jewish Journalist
Topic: Some Crimes Must Never Be Forgiven
For those of you who didn’t get the memo, here it is…
Someplace in your heart, in a tiny crevice that is insulated by layers of love, spirituality and forgiveness, I hope you remember to keep the fires of hate burning. Yes, hate. While time heals wounds, I pray that it never dulls your contempt for terrorists and those who through their willful actions or cowardly inactions facilitate the murder and maiming of innocents.
What emotion, if not hate, will suffice to judge those who planned and executed the massacre of so many innocents in Mumbai, including a Rabbi and his pregnant wife?
Many psychologists will argue that this is wrong. They contend that for mental health’s sake, victims and their family members must unload their anger or be saddled with it a lifetime. Many among the clergy profess that forgiveness is divine.
I will leave it to Hashem to forgive, if it be his will. And as for carrying with us the horror of terrorism for a lifetime, we owe it to those who suffer and die to do no less.
In our generation, it seems even the most heinous of villains now relies upon time and the pure saturation of evil that afflicts the world daily to blur the record. However horrible or wrong yesterday’s attacks, they depend upon the fact that enough fresh blood will be spilled to erode the memories of all but the staunchest among us.
And trying to keep track of whom to hate is, indeed, a daunting undertaking. What follows is my initial 2008 list of people and actions I hope you will join me in hating.
The list is not complete, not prioritized and most certainly not politically correct. But it is heartfelt and I hope in posting it, it will deliver two messages: 1.) There are a watchful few of us who will remember those who perpetrate evil for our entire lifetimes. 2.) Hate, although politically incorrect, is vital to help clearly demarcate the line between good and evil. We must not simply condemn evil, we must hate it enough to bring us to work proactively to destroy it.
If I don’t remember to hate Bollinger, who will? After an initial outburst of protests against him and the University, the heat is off Bollinger for allowing Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on campus on September 24, 2007. While Bollinger, rightfully, should live out the remainder of his life bedecked in shame, he continues to be feted and honored as if he does not share in the past, present and future villainy brought upon innocents by Ahmadinejad.
Lee Bollinger, I hate you.
Although Arbour’s four-year term at the head of the most duplicitous, fetid, farcical, arm of the morally bankrupt United Nations ended just this past June, people who never knew her have already forgotten her. (Did Yoga Berra coin that phrase?) Those who don’t know Arbour should learn her name just so that they might never forget it. While giving a total pass to such inhumane rights stalwarts as Burma, Cuba, China, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria, in 2006 alone Arbour allowed almost half of all the resolutions brought by the UN Human Rights Council to focus on democratic, free speech Israel. By comparison, the Sudan and Darfur received only a blinks’ worth of attention.
Louise Arbour, I hate you.
At 25, Dhaim met his maker and boy I bet he sure was surprised. Rather than the 70 virgins he was anticipating for slaughtering eight students at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva on March 6th, the Almighty undoubtedly sentenced him to a different eternal fate. Death and heavenly retribution, however, should not exculpate Dhaim from the enmity of the living. I do not wish to stain the memories of Dhaim’s victims by mentioning them by name in the same post where his disgraced name appears, but I pledge to them I shall never temper my venom for him nor forget to honor your sacrifices.
Ala Abu Dhaim, I hate you.
“I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times,” President Carter told Playboy in November 1976. Since then, Carter has blood-lusted in his heart for a world without Israel. Carter’s 2006 book,Palestinian Peace Not Apartheid, is an abomination, all the more so emanating from the keyboard of one who had the privilege of serving in such a high and influential office. Anti-Semitism reeks of evil no matter how much Carter tries to perfume the stench by couching his words or wrapping himself in the flag of “peace.”
Jimmy Carter, I hate you.
In his April 10, 2008 article in The Los Angeles Times, reporter Peter Wallsten notes that a video of the dinner honoring Rashid Khalidi “was obtained by The Times,” but Wallsten makes no mention that the video’s source provided it strictly on the condition that it never be released to the public.
The Times only disclosed its ‘deal’ in October when the tape became an issue in the Presidential election, since according to Wallsten the tape shows then-state Senator Barack Obama speaking of his friendship with Khalidi. Khalidi, now a professor at Columbia University (another reason to hate Lee Bollinger!), is outspoken in his anti-Israel views and has past links to the terrorist PLO and it chief henchman, Yasser Arafat.
Had the video been made public, who knows what it might have revealed about President-Elect Obama and his political sympathies? But the troika of Hartenstein, Stanton, and Zell suppressed the truth. Their actions offend me as a journalist, as a Jew and as an American. We don’t protect terrorists or their sympathizers, not even for political gain.
Bankruptcy is too good for the three of you.
Eddy W. Hartenstein, Russ Stanton and Sam Zell, I hate you.
With ‘friends’ like you, who needs to save his loathing for anti-Semites and Jihadists?
You are a disgrace. The pain and suffering you’ve allowed to be inflicted on your own people includes dismantling Gaza, evicting settlers in Hebron, permitting Hezbollah to rearm, failing to protect Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon, and trying to appease sinister Syria by negotiating away the Golan Heights only to receive the bones of our brave soldiers. Did I mention your wish to divide Jerusalem?
Olmert was elected a guardian of the Jewish State. For his traitorous betrayal of that trust, history will judge him harshly.
Ehud Olmert, I hate you.
To all persons living or dead who I have not mentioned on this list, I ask patience. If readers of this column will kindly nominate you for inclusion on my updated list, I will always find space for you in the hellfires of my heart.
Now you’ve got The Memo!