Angry Donors Sue Princeton

The heirs to donors of a substantial gift to Princeton are suing, claiming that Princeton has misapproprpirated millions intended for the training of foreign service graduates and other activities supporiting the US Government. In fact, the heir allege, Princeton used the foundation to fund the general activities of the Woordrow Wilson School — and for some other things too.

The complaint also alleges various types of self-dealing, sloppy record keeping, and failure to observe the necessary formalities — some of which sound quite damning.

The plaintiffs are running a publicity campaign along side of the lawsuit, and they’ve built a web site to tell their side of the story. Unfortunately, their legal page is mostly one-sided and doesn’t list many of Princeton’s replies, which makes it much harder to form a judgment as to the strength of their case. A taste of the reply can be had in Princeton’s reply to a motion for summary judement, which basically suggests that the family’s own trustees were asleep at the switch, that the charges were mostly fair, and that if there were ways to calculate them that would have made the numbers even higher.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s that it pays to observe legal formalities carefully? If either side had done so, this case might never have happened.

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