Yeshiva University President Says Institution Will Not Fold

Dr. Norman Lamm, president of Yeshiva University, said today commenting on a press report that a major New York City savings bank, the Bowery Savings Bank, is seeking to foreclose its portion of the university’s $40 million mortgage, that “there is no way that Yeshiva University will fold.”

A spokesperson for the university had told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, before Lamm’s statement was publicized, that the university had been involved for several months in efforts to reorganize the mortgage. The spokesperson said the mortgage had been underwritten by a consortium of commercial and savings banks in the 1970s, adding that the commercial banks were “relatively responsive” to those debt reorganization efforts while the savings banks, including the Bowery Savings Bank, have been “less so.”

The university was established in 1886, and has grown to become a four-campus, 7000-student institution, the pride and joy of American Orthodox Jewry.

According to the press report, the university has not paid anything to the Bowery Savings Bank on the mortgage since September. The spokesperson said the university has made payments totalling $5.5 million since September and was making every effort to work out a negotiated formula to stretch out future payments.

Lamm also said that “we want to reassure the faculty, our students and supporters of our continuing strength and determination to function as a major educational force in this country.” He also said “our attorneys are studying the papers in the current lawsuit and we will respond shortly.”

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Beverly Cohen signed on order, returnable Friday in the Manhattan court, requiring the university to show why the Bowery Savings Bank should not “recover from Yeshiva University all unrestricted pledges and contributions…as security” for the mortgage. Mortgage terms require the university to make monthly $373,000 payments until 1997. The court order was part of the lawsuit to which Lamm referred.

The spokesman said that since the mortgage was negotiated in the 1970s, the university has paid to date to the participating banks payments which, in toto, exceed the size of that mortgage. The university, which has an annual budget of $115 million, is currently in the midst of a campaign to raise $100 million, with hopes of completing that campaign in 1986, the 100th anniversary of the university’s founding.

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