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INSIDE LOOK: Emails obtained by ABC27 show $237 million FAMU gift was in jeopardy before announcement

The financial company that verified the valuation of stocks backed out in April
INSIDE LOOK: Emails obtained by ABC27 show $237 million FAMU gift was in jeopardy before announcement
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 11, 2024
  • ABC27 obtained over 100 emails from FAMU officials regarding Gregory Gerami and the $237 million gift announced in May.
  • Despite what Gerami claimed, the donation was put on pause less than a week later.
  • Watch now to see why the gift is now under investigation.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Looking through new information on Florida A&M University's investigation into the handling of a multi-million dollar gift announced more than a month ago.

I'm your College Town neighborhood reporter Alberto Camargo on FAMU campus.

As that investigation moves forward, I'm reading through over 100 newly-revealed emails that detail concerns about that donation.

I've been following this story since day one.

Last month, FAMU announced a donation of $237 million from the Issac Batterson Family 7th Trust and CEO Gregory Gerami — making national headlines.

SEE THE ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW:

Florida A&M University receives $237 million gift

But despite what Gerami claimed, the donation was put on pause less than a week later.

Last month, ABC27 sent in a public records request to learn more about what led to that decision. We received over 100 emails between FAMU officials in the Department of University Advancement, the Board of Trustees, as well as from Gerami himself.

One document is a letter to FAMU from Raymond James — that's the financial company that valued Gerami's shares — sent on April 12.

Raymond James it no longer stands by its previous valuation — which Gerami claimed was at over $15 per share.

They write in part:

"We do not believe the pricing of certain securities was accurate, and that those statements do not reflect the actual value of Mr. Gerami's account as of the statement period."

Despite this, FAMU went through with the announcement that it received 14 million shares from the trust, which is where that $237 million figure came from.

A non-disclosure agreement between Gerami and FAMU led to the Board of Trustees calling for a special meeting.

Where they agreed to launch an investigation into what happened and compliance with university policies, processes, and financial controls.

ABC27 also obtained the agreement the board signed with a national law firm for investigate services.

It says the investigation will cost up to $52,000.

Tuesday, I reached out to FAMU with more questions, but the university declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Several trustees pushed for a quick investigation in their special meeting last month.

The board's agreement with the law firm says the result of the investigation should be provided no later than Aug. 30.

At FAMU, Alberto Camargo, ABC27.