Donor Demands Money Back

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In 2004 Robert Burton gave the University of Connecticut $2.5 million to help create a football facility. The building (right) has Burton’s name on it. Now Burton wants his money back because he’s dissatisfied with the school’s athletic director. According to an article by Paul Doyle in the Hartford Courant:

In a scathing letter to [Jeff] Hathaway, the university’s athletic director, Burton has asked for a $3 million donation back and demanded that his family’s name be removed from the Burton Family Football Complex in Storrs.

Burton began his letter by referencing a Jan. 3 conversation in which he asked Hathaway to keep him involved in the search process and offered to provide his insight into who might be a good fit for UConn. “For someone who has given over $7,000,000 to the football program/university, I do not feel as though these requests were asking for too much,” Burton wrote. “Your lack of response on either of these requests tells me you do not respect my point of view or value my opinion.”

Well right, that’s why Hathaway is the athletic director, not Burton. Burton’s the rich guy who gets his name on the building. Hathaway is the guy who decides what happens in the building.

According to Robert Burton’s letter, “I know more football coaches than the majority of Athletic Directors in America. … I am fully qualified to assess coaches and their ability to match up with the university’s needs.”

Burton is the chairman, chief executive officer of Cenveo Inc., a Stamford printing company.

Burton did not attend UConn either. He played football at Murray State University, in Kentucky, and in 1962 was apparently a 19th-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. His son Michael, however, was a captain of the 1999 UConn football team.

While maintaining a good relationship with donors is a very important part of university fundraising efforts, “a donor can suggest a department or area to which the institution should apply the contribution,” according to the Council for Advancement & Support of Education. Donors do not control the actions of institutions to which they give money. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer