Letters to the Editor

MIT Can Benefit from Picower

MIT’s favorite individual donor, Jeffry Picower, is likely soon to be bankrupted. The Madoff Trustee Irving Picard has a $7.2 billion clawback suit against him (his lawyer has already said he’s ready to make a deal), and it’s likely the IRS will have big claims too, because Picower got billions in phony tax loss statements from Madoff.

As I see it, Picower is a motivated donor if ever there was one! Here’s my suggestion: ask for the $39 million that Picower “earned” in 2006 in just two weeks via the accounting magic of stocks bought four months before the account was opened. The Madoff Trustee repeatedly uses this example to show that Picower was in bed with Madoff and his gains were fraudulent. Perfect. If MIT can get this $39 million, it can clean it up. Do you really think the Madoff Trustee would sue MIT for the return of a few measly million Picower dollars?

Sure the Picowers’ money might be tainted, but that didn’t stop MIT from accepting $10 million a year from the Picowers in 2001 to 2005. MIT has made no public comments that it regrets accepting this $50 million for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, so why not ask for more? It’s probably as close to free money as MIT is ever going to see. Offer to name something else after them; they seem to like this.