NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodCollege Town

Actions

Florida A&M trustees to evaluate $237 million donation put on hold after public scrutiny

The special was meeting was called just days after the gift was announced
Florida A&M trustees to evaluate $237 million donation put on hold after public scrutiny
Posted at 6:21 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 18:21:40-04
  • The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees is set to hold a special meeting Wednesday to evaluate the $237 million donation from the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust.
  • The gift has since been put on pause by the university after skepticism followed the announcement.
  • Watch now to see a finance expert break down why the deal has got so much public scrutiny and might not hold up.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Understanding where the historic donation to Florida A&M University stands.

I'm Alberto Camargo, your College Town neighborhood reporter.

Before the FAMU Board of Trustees meet Wednesday to talk about next steps, I'm looking into FAMU's decision to pause the donation.

I'm also working to find out if we've ever seen anything like this before.

It's been fewer than two weeks since this historic, $237 million donation surprised many at Florida A&M University's commencement on May 4.

That giant check came from the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust and CEO Gregory Gerami.

WATCH THE SURPRISE CHECK PRESENTATION:

Florida A&M University receives $237 million gift

It didn't take long for the community to question the amount.

Very limited information about the donation was made public due to a non-disclosure agreement signed between FAMU and the donor.

Just last week, President Robinson said that the donation is on pause until further notice.

"I cannot imagine that this is the norm. This is not how things should be handled."

That's Rebel Cole, professor of finance at Florida Atlantic University.

He says he's never seen a university donation raise so many questions.

Cole says believing the $237 million intrinsic value of the stocks owned by the FAMU Foundation is unreliable at best.

"What's an easy way to understand what intrinsic value is?"

"In this way, intrinsic means I pulled it out of thin air because there is no valuation, it's basically what the donor has said it is worth."

I reached out to FAMU and several trustees for clarification, but did not get any responses Tuesday.

In a statement Friday, Chair of the FAMU Board of Trustee Kristin Harper said, "We are committed to seeking truth and recommending any corrective actions necessary to improve the operations and controls of our university. A formal meeting is required for the Trustees to continue this important work."

"There may be some companies out there that are worth a quarter of a billion dollars. Is this one of them? Nobody knows."

The Board of Trustees will meet over Zoom Wednesday afternoon at 3 to discuss what the university has called a transformative donation.

In College Town, Alberto Camargo, ABC27.