Endowment Case Judge Grants Changes; Other Donations Can Be Subject for Review
A judge has allowed the Robertson family to amend its complaint against Princeton University, charging the institution with mismanagement of funds given by the family in 1961.
Superior Court Judge Neil Shuster of the Chancery Division granted the amendment last week, allowing prosecution to provide evidence other than the Robertson endowment in an attempt to prove a pattern of alleged misspending of large gifts.
Robertson family lawyers have argued that the University has repeatedly mismanaged foundation funds, and has charged the school has taken part in a "never-ending effort to avoid having to answer to the court for its misuse of foundation assets," according to a statement issued by Charles Robertson, the son of Charles and Marie Robertson, who donated $35 million in 1961 to launch a foundation at the University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to prepare students for careers in public service. That gift is now worth upwards of $600 million.
The Robertsons assert that too many graduates of the Woodrow Wilson program are entering the private sector.
The University has continued to oppose the filing, but has also refused to make its grievances public.
"Neither the University nor the trustees it appoints to the Robertson Foundation will join in plaintiffs' desire to litigate this matter in the press," said Patricia Allen, media relations manager at the University.
Douglas Eakeley, the University's lawyer, accused the Robertson team of taking part in a "media blitz" kicked off with a news conference held by Mr. Robertson in June.
The Robertsons have introduced a possible witness in Jessie Washington, a former University employee who has alleged that the school has ignored donor intent in other cases.