Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who Rules Cooper Union?--Part 1

WHO RULES COOPER UNION?—Part 1: A Look at Cooper Union’s MITRE/Pentagon, Con Ed, and Real Estate/Gambling Industry Connections Historically

(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)

“I was deeply disappointed to learn that the Cooper Union is contemplating the elimination of its historic mission: providing a full-tuition scholarship to every admitted student…. By 2008-9, just preceding this recession, we had built the college into what was arguably the best financial state in its history: an operations budget surplus, an endowment of more than $600-million, and projected cash flow that would carry the institution for many years….The college collected $7-million from the Chrysler Building lease last year, but…this will grow to $32.5-million annually in 2018 under the agreement we negotiated several years ago (more than $50-million annually when tax-equivalency payments are included)….. The bottom line is that the college is in a far superior financial state than during similar external conditions in the past…”

--from Cooper Union President Emeritus George Campbell Jr.’s Nov. 27, 2011 letter to the editor of "The Chronicle of Higher Education"

“…In 2009, then President George Campbell’s total compensation package was $668,473—which included a cash bonus (for what, exactly, it is unclear) in the amount of $175,000….”

--from a Dec. 10, 2011 article in "The Brooklyn Rail" by Lita Perta

"According to tax records the ten highest-paid officers at Cooper collectively made approximately $2.9 million in 2010…”

-- from an April 10, 2013 "N +1 Magazine" article by Sangamitha Iver

“In 2000 Cooper Union hired George Campbell to run the school. And Campbell…spent money…A huge amount of the money went…into a gratuitously glamorous and expensive New Academic Building…built at vast expense, with the aid of a $175 million mortgage...”

--from an April 30, 2013 "Washington Monthly" article by Daniel Luzer

“Note: As part of a contractual obligation approved by the Board of Trustees, former [Cooper Union] president George Campbell Jr. will receive $1,071,000 compensation after his departure in 2011. This compensation is paid out in six annual installments, beginning in 2011…”

--from the Cooper Union website

“MITRE Chairman of the Board…James Schlesinger and President and CEO Mr. Alfred Grasso are pleased to announce the recent election of…George Campbell Jr. to the corporation's Board of Trustees.

“…Campbell…is…[in 2011] president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art….

"`It's an honor to welcome Dr. Campbell as a new trustee,’ said Grasso. `His technical expertise and his experience as an academic and practitioner bring a unique perspective to the board. His guidance and counsel will be a benefit to MITRE and our government sponsors.’..

“The MITRE Corporation…provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government. It operates federally funded research and development centers for the Department of Defense…and the Department of Homeland Security, with principal locations in Bedford, Mass., and McLean, Va.

--from a March 30, 2011 press release of The MITRE Corporation

“The MITRE Corporation receives contributions from a `U.S. Government Classified Source,’ the Identity of which cannot be revealed and for which contribution information cannot be reported…The organization is acknowledging receipt of $124,781,000 from this contribution source for the reporting period.”

--from The MITRE Corporation’s Form 990 financial filing for the year beginning October 1, 2010 and ending September 30, 2011

“…The utility’s directors…gave Con Ed’s top executives more than $600,000 in extra bonuses…in 2012….The chairman of the compensation committee of the company’s board of directors said he believed that `most people’ thought Con Ed had managed well last year.

“`In our judgment, the company performed in exemplary fashion,’ the committee chairman, George Campbell Jr., said.

“The discretionary payouts came on top of the annual bonuses the executives received. Kevin M. Burke, the company’s chairman and chief executive, got an additional $315,000, taking his total pay for the year to $7.4 million…Mr. Campbell, a former president of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, has been a director since 2000. He declined to discuss how the directors arrived at their decision to give an additional 20 percent in bonus money to the senior executives…”

--The "New York Times" on April 25, 2013

(end of part 1)

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