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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shapiro may need to return Madoff money

Published: March 5, 2010
Section: Front Page

The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that a federal judge’s decision in the Bernard Madoff bankruptcy case could force Brandeis donor Carl Shapiro to return a portion of the $1 billion in profit from investments with Madoff. United States Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland ruled that Madoff’s victims can only claim the amount they first invested with the Ponzi-scheme’s organizer, minus any funds they withdrew over the years.

The effect on the university were Shapiro forced to return the profits is still unknown.

Shapiro, whose donations have funded the construction of the Shapiro Campus Center and the Carl Shapiro Science Center, has not yet paid all of the $80 million he has committed to the university over his past 50 years of affiliation with Brandeis.

While it is normal for donors to pay out large donations to the university over time, the state of Shaprio’s donation could be at risk due to the recent ruling.

University officials would not disclose the amount of money Shapiro has yet to pay, calling the information “confidential,” however, Senior Vice President of Communications Andrew Gully wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot that “The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation has kept all its commitments to the university and we’re are confident that it will continue to honor its obligations.”

Administrators of the Shapiro Family Foundation referred all requests for comment to the public relations firm Denterlein World Wide, which did not respond to requests to comment by press time.

None of the outstanding donations to the university were made recently. When the Ponzi scheme was uncovered in fall 2008, the Foundation, after learning of Carl Shapiro’s $145 million in losses, announced it would be suspending all donations through 2009.

Brandeis is not the only Boston area non-profit organization which could be affected by the court’s ruling. The Shapiros have also donated to the Museum of Fine Arts and Brigham and Womens Hospital, as well as many organizations near their home in Palm Beach, Fla.