UCLA faculty member decries $10 million Milken gift

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — A faculty member has demanded that the law school at the University of California, Los Angeles reject a $10 million gift from the brother of an infamous junk-bond trader.

Prof. Lynn Stout is objecting to the background of the donor, Lowell Milken, who was linked in 1989 to the Wall Street junk-bond scandal. The case sent Lowell’s brother, Michael Milken, to prison for two years, while Lowell was barred from future association with the securities industry.

Since then, both brothers have become large-scale donors to Jewish, Israeli, medical, education and other causes, and a Jewish high school in Los Angeles bears the Milken family name.

The $10 million gift is earmarked for a future Milken institute for business law at UCLA.

“I don’t think someone who has been banned from the security industry and barred from the New York Stock Exchange, is an appropriate model for UCLA alumni and students,” Stout told the Los Angeles Times.

Some colleagues have disagreed with Stout.

The law school’s dean, Rachel Moran, said in a statement that she was "mystified" by Stout’s objections.

"Lowell Milken’s life has been marked by accomplishment and service. He has been a brilliant student, an outstanding lawyer, a successful businessman, and a visionary
philanthropist. A quarter of a century ago, Mr. Milken was accused of misconduct. However, he was never convicted of any crime, and indeed, there were neither admissions nor findings of any wrongdoing. I do not believe that decades-old, unproven allegations should serve as a basis for rejecting a gift from a person who has made enormous contributions to the betterment of others and now wishes to do even more,” Moran wrote in a message that appears on the Law School’s website.

“Everybody else here is thrilled with this gift," a fellow law profesor, Kenneth Klee, told the Times.

Milken has been a contributor to UCLA, including the School of Law, for many years, according to Bonnie Somers, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation.

"Prof. Stout, in fact, has knowingly benefited from such funding," Somers said in a letter to JTA.

 

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