Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Moritz Family Seeks To Reopen Estate To Enforce Terms Of Ohio State Law School Naming Agreement

Following up on my previous post, Moritz Family Fights Ohio State Over Undisclosed 1% Annual Development Fee Charged Against Naming Gift To Law School, As Endowment Has Shrunk From $30m To $22m In 17 Years:

Ohio State LogoColumbus Dispatch, Moritz Family Still Want Estate Reopened to Bargain With Ohio State Over Endowment:

Family members continue to fight to reopen the estate of the late Michael E. Moritz, for whom the Ohio State University’s law school is named, in an effort to ensure his donation to the school is used for the full-ride scholarships he intended.

After years of back and forth, the family of Michael Moritz filed an appeal in the Fifth District Court of Appeals earlier this month, seeking to reopen the late lawyer’s estate. Reopening the estate doesn’t mean the family would immediately sue the university, the family’s attorney David Marburger said, but it would allow them to negotiate with OSU over what they feel is improper endowment spending that could diminish Michael Moritz’s legacy.

“If the estate were to be reopened, all we would try to do is bargain,” Marburger said.

Moritz’s son, Jeffrey Moritz, sought to reopen the estate in 2017, after he discovered the $30.3 million gift his father gave to Ohio State in 2001 had shrunk by $8.4 million over the years to $21.9 million, a decline of 28%. University officials said an annual development fee, which cumulatively totaled about $3 million in 2017, had been taken from the endowment since its inception. Such fees go toward pursuing and entertaining potential donors, and pay the salaries of university fundraising employees.

The 2001 Moritz gift was intended to endow four faculty chairs and give 30 annual scholarships to law students. In recognition of the gift, Ohio State renamed its law college in honor of Michael Moritz.

But when Jeffrey Moritz looked into the endowment several years ago, he found it was being tapped for only 12 to 16 full-ride scholarships each year instead of the 30 grants mandated in the gift agreement.

The family contended that Ohio State was diminishing the Moritz legacy by illegally draining millions of dollars in the “development fees” from the endowment and not properly distributing the full number of scholarships.

Ohio State officials have previously said the withdrawal of the development fees is legal and is a widespread practice among universities. ...

Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said the university does now provide all 30 annual scholarships to law students, but he would not comment further on the matter, saying the university does not comment on pending litigation.

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The judge was a coworker of mine: David Hejmanowski

Posted by: Hugh Greentree | Jun 23, 2020 5:11:12 PM

Let's hope the court gets to the bottom of this and hopefully holds some law school administrator personally responsible for re-paying the estate.

Posted by: Paul A. Mapes | Jun 23, 2020 3:38:47 PM