Monday, December 15, 2008

Universities and Law Schools Are Not Exempt from Financial Catastrophes -- or Scandals

Bernard Madoff, who allegedly lost $50 billion of his clients' money, was the treasurer of the board of trustees of Yeshiva University, the parent of Cardozo School of Law. Before this scandal erupted Yeshiva University had already lost about 1/3 of its endowment because of the turmoil in the financial markets. An estimate in one newspaper is that Yeshiva University lost an additional $100-110 million as a result of Mr Madoff's alleged misdeeds. See Stephanie Strom, "Giant Wall St. Fraud Leaves Charities Reeling," NYTimes (Dec. 15, 2008). There are rumors of greater losses. The Jerusalem Post paints an almost apocalyptic picture of the implications for Jewish charities and non-profits, including Yeshiva University. See Haviv Rettig Gur & Allison Hoffman, "Jewish community braces for calamity in wake of Madoff fraud," international.jpost.com (The Jerusalem Post) (Dec. 15, 2008). And I thought that the academic life would be peaceful -- and stable. Boy was I wrong.

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