Inside Trader Still Owes Us, Georgetown Claims

     DALLAS (CN) – Georgetown University says it is still owed $9 million from an alumnus who has accused it of breaking its promise to name a gym after him.
     In a federal complaint last month, former radio executive Scott Ginsburg claimed that he had given the school $5 million in 2000 and another $2.5 million after that.
     He claimed the school agreed that his name “shall be prominently etched and displayed above the main entrance of the fitness center in a manner (and with similar boldness, prominence and importance) similar to that of the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, the Bernard S. & Sarah M. Gewirz Student Center and Bernard P. McDonough Hall.” (Parentheses in original.)
     Georgetown also allegedly agreed to recognize Ginsberg inside the center, with a mutually agreed-upon description and photo portrait, and to mention his full name with every reference to the center.
     Ginsburg said Georgetown had courted his support even though it knew that the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him in 1999 of inside trading.
     “Ginsburg was fully candid with Georgetown about this legal issue prior to the agreement,” the complaint stated. “At the time Georgetown was first courting him as a donor, it assured him that this situation was not a problem for the university and went ahead with the agreement. Indeed, Georgetown never expressed any concern about Ginsburg’s issues with the SEC during their initial pursuit of him and during the preparation of the agreement.”
     Georgetown responded to the lawsuit on April 9, launching a counterclaim. The school said it offered to return the money in 2002, but Ginsberg refused and promised an additional $11 million donation in 2003 after learning that the facility would not carry his name.
     Around that time, a federal jury found Ginsburg liable for insider trading, the school said.
     “After learning of the verdict – and concerned about naming a new facility on the Law Center campus after someone found liable for insider trading – Georgetown offered to cancel Mr. Ginsburg’s pledge and return his money,” the 22-page answer and counterclaim states. “Mr. Ginsburg refused. He said he believed in the project and did not want his legal problems to slow the Law Center’s progress, and agreed to waive the naming condition. For its part, Georgetown agreed that if the SEC judgment finding him liable for insider trading were overturned, it would revisit the naming issue. Final judgment in the SEC case ultimately was entered against Mr. Ginsburg in 2004.”
     This 2003 pledge came after Ginsberg survived a serious automobile accident, which “left him feeling that he had received a second chance at life and motivated him to increase his charitable giving to Georgetown,” according to the filing.
     “And indeed, in spring 2003, Mr. Ginsburg called Dean [Judith] Areen and asked her what was the amount of the largest single gift the Law School had ever received, telling her he wanted to exceed it,” the school added. “After Dean Areen told him that the largest gift the Law Center had ever received was $10 million, Mr. Ginsburg pledged $11 million to Georgetown.”
     In a March 31, 2003, telephone conversation, Ginsburg still wanted Georgetown to name the fitness center for him but “did not insist that Georgetown do so as a condition of the new pledge,” the school said.
     Ginsberg donated another $1 million in 2006 to help the law school buy property adjacent to it, according to the filing.
     From at least 2004 to February 2013, Ginsberg never requested the facility to be named after him and that no school official had made representations to him that it would be named for him, Georgetown argued.
     “The next month – almost thirteen years after entering into the 2000 agreement, eleven years after being told that the Law Center would not name the Sport and Fitness Center for him, ten years after he decided to pledge an additional $11 million to Georgetown, nine years after the SEC judgment against him became final, and nine years after he attended the formal grand opening of the ‘Sport and Fitness Center,’ which was not named for him – Mr. Ginsburg sued the University,” the school said.
     “Georgetown now brings this counterclaim to recover the approximately $9 million that Mr. Ginsburg owes on the 2003 pledge.”
     When Ginsberg made his 2003 pledge, he said he wanted to see a clock tower added to the campus completion plan, the school said.
     “For its part, Georgetown completed the clock tower on the Law Center’s campus in accordance with the 2003 Pledge Agreement and used all funds consistent with the 2003 Pledge Agreement,” its answer states. “Georgetown has incurred expenses that it otherwise would not have incurred if it had received Mr. Ginsburg’s 2003 pledge in full.”

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