Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Scott K. Ginsburg, renowned seller of exotic cars, sues Georgetown University to retrieve $7.5 million in donations
Scott K. Ginsburg made most of his many millions in the late 1990s, when he and Tom Hicks (briefly) partnered in the radio business and sold their offspring to Clear Channel for upwards of $17 billion. After that Ginsburg went off to spend and make more money: He opened and closed the most expensive eatery in town, started selling exotic cars, then got into the digital-ad business. But like many wealthy men, Ginsburg needed more to show off than just his money.
Which is why he was only too happy to donate $5 million to the Georgetown University Law Center in March 2000: The money would go toward the construction of a new fitness center to be branded the Scott K. Ginsburg Health and Fitness Center. His name would be on the side in big bold letters; his picture would be displayed inside. Agreements were signed; press releases, issued.
Twelve years later and millions more in donations, still Ginsburg’s name is nowhere to be found on campus. Now he wants his money returned: On Monday Ginsburg sued the university in Dallas federal court, and he hopes to recover “at least $7.5 million as the full amount of Georgetown‘s unjust enrichment.”
According to the suit, Georgetown officials began wooing Ginsburg in 1999. In September 2000, he kicked in $5 million because “I hope my gift will inspire other alumni to support the Law Center.” But the donations didn’t stop there. “Over the next 10 years” various university officials came to Dallas “to solicit and encourage further donations,” of which there were $11 million promised and at least $2.5 million delivered.
But on September 9, 1999, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Ginsburg of leaking inside information to his father and brother. A jury later ordered him to pay $1 million. The trial judge set aside the verdict, but the Securities and Exchange Commission appealed and won. The case would eventually find its way into legal textbooks.
In February 1997, Ginsburg and Tom Hicks announced the merger of Evergreen Media, Chancellor Broadcasting and Viacom International’s radio properties.
After the jury ruled for the SEC, Georgetown got cold feet. According to an exhibit filed with the lawsuit, on May 2, 2002, then-Georgetown Law Center Dean Judith Areen sent Ginsburg a letter thanking him for his “support,” “generosity” and “steadfast loyalty.” She also wanted to redo the agreement, removing the promise of naming rights from the deal, at least until the SEC thing blew over. Said the missive, Areen wanted to figure out some some way to “honor [Ginsburg’s] gift without generating negative media coverage.” She said they’d revisit the deal “if the jury verdict is overturned.”
But Ginsburg says he balked at the revised agreement, and that it was never signed. And that “did not stop Georgetown officials from promoting Ginsburg’s gift for fundraising purposes,” says the suit, nor did it stop the school from asking him for more money. Now his name appears to have been wiped from the website.
Three years later, Ginsburg felt he had no options left other than to sue the university.
Ginsburg wants his money back, along with interest and attorneys’ fees.
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Source: Dallas News “Scott K. Ginsburg, renowned seller of exotic cars, sues Georgetown University to retrieve $7.5 million in donations,” March 5, 2013.