Elsewhere online
February 10, 2015

Elderly Donor Sues University for Return of $12-Million Gift

A 98-year-old philanthropist has gone to court in a bid to reclaim a $12-million donation to Chapman University, alleging the Southern California school exploited his age to induce him into making the gift, the Orange County Register reports.

The suit filed last week in Orange County Superior Court says that after James Emmi gave the school $50,000 in 2008, Chapman officials sought bigger and bigger donations as he aged and became "more susceptible to inducement and confusion." The suit claims university President James Doti pressured the retired developer to sign a contract for the $12-million gift in late 2013 without getting consent from Mr. Emmi's wife.

The couple is seeking the return of double the $3-million they have already given university and suspension of the remaining $9-million. A Chapman spokeswoman said the institution is "deeply saddened" by the suit and that the allegations "do not reflect what occurred and completely mischaracterize the Emmis' interactions with the university."