Remember last year when we posted a story about a donor who reportedly withdrew his $20 million pledge, resigned from the university board, and has asked that the name of the school be changed - all because he had his feelings hurt by the university president?
Well now Erin Strout at The Chronicle of Higher Education's Face Value blog points out an incredible turn in Florida International University’s fundraising saga.
The newspaper reported today that the public university’s foundation board approved a deal with an anonymous donor without seeing a contract and assumed lifetime liability on two insurance claims as a “special condition” to receive the $5-million cash gift.The Miami Herald says, "There was no paperwork explaining the deal, just an oral summary from FIU President Modesto ''Mitch'' Maidique." The paper also says that FIU has declined to release any paperwork to the public.
Not only does it seem the board failed to fully examine the liability the claims might bring, it also sounds like convenient timing:
Maidique told board members that he reviewed the potential risk with attorneys, but did not provide them a copy of analysis. When FIU gets the cash, the school will also qualify for a $5 million matching gift from the state.Face Value asks readers what risks institutions assume by entering such deals. I'll take it on step further... does anyone else following this story think this Mitch guy is a shady fundraiser or is he just having a shitty (and well publicized) couple of months?
(This image shows FIU President Modesto A. Maidique (left) and FIU Board of Trustees Chairman Adolfo Henriques (right) with a ceremonial $10 million check signifying Herbert Wertheim’s support of the proposed FIU medical school - dated July 2004.)