Friday, November 10

Donor withdraws $20 million pledge

A former optometrist named Herbert Wertheim has withdrawn a promised $20 million donation to the planned Florida International University medical school.

The Miami Herald reports that during a phone call this past week, Wertheim told FIU University President Modesto Maidique that he did not want to give the $20 million in a lump sum, but instead he needed to restructure the gift over 26 months of installments for tax purposes. As a result, the school would lose a state matching grant for another $20 million.

In response to the donor's request, Maidique told Wertheim (who had been his friend for more than two decades and even attended the President's recent wedding) he was getting the medical school named after him "on the cheap." Maidique reportedly said he could get $100 million for naming rights today.

This really hurt Wertheim's feelings. He withdrew his pledge all together, resigned from the university board, and has asked that the name of the school be changed.

Wertheim, had joined the school's foundation board of directors in 1988 and led its first capital campaign, raising $204 million in four years.

Ugh. Now that hurts. My humble advice to Maidique: "dude... don't tell the donor that kind of stuff."

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