Wednesday, December 6

Once bitten, twice shy...

Two years ago, NYU received a $21 million pledge from the Yalincak Family Foundation - run by the family of then senior Hakan Yalincak. The university planned to build a lecture hall and create a scholarship fund and an Ottoman Studies professorship.

Unfortunately, Yalincak was later arrested and put in jail after attempting to cash a forged $25 million check. Authorities investigated and alledged that his money was illegally gained by various frauds. NYU never got the $21 million and was left with lots of egg on its face.

According to Ali Weinberg at the Washington Square News, NYU will now require donors who pledge large sums of money to pay some cash upfront.

The university will not change its pledge policy outright, but it is considering creating a stipulation that pledges must give NYU part of their pledge before the university starts outlining how it plans to use the funds, said Debra LaMorte, NYU's senior vice president for development and alumni relations. Donors often make requests about how their pledges and donations are to be used; now, the university will not allow projects to go forward without the money promised for those projects has been paid.
But Yalincak's pledge wasn't the first to backfire for NYU.
In 2001, former investor Alberto Vilar pledged $22.3 million to the university but never paid after he was charged with fraud. Vilar also never paid pledges of millions of dollars to New York's Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center in Washington and Columbia University.
If you like reading about high profile pledges that were never paid, you might like this article from the Wall Street Journal.

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