Donor Asks Queens College to Refund Money Given for Establishment of AIDS Research Center
Dr. Bernard Salick, a medical entrepreneur who in 1997 donated $4.5 million to Queens College for the development of an AIDS research center, said yesterday that he wants the money returned in light of the school's failure to raise matching funds. The New York Times reports that Dr. Allen Sessoms, president of the New York City-based college, worked with Salick to "lure" renowned scientist Dr. Luc Montagnier, who co-discovered HIV, from the Pasteur Institute in Paris to lead the center. Yet when private contributions "never materialized," Sessoms "could not deliver on his promise to raise $30 million" for the center, and was eventually forced to resign. In a letter to the school, Salick requested that his seed money be returned with interest within 10 days, saying, "This project, which was launched with the highest of hopes and pleasure, has become a source of severe embarrassment for our family. ... We have expended substantial time and money in pursuit of what has clearly become an impossible dream." Queens College acting president Dr. Russell Hotzler said last month that the idea to develop a "cutting-edge" biomedical research center "remains a worthy and critical goal for all of us at the college," and noted that the school was "moving ahead with the renovation of laboratory space" for the center. But Salick has rejected the college's proposals, saying he was "extremely disappointed" by the experience (Arenson, New York Times, 1/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.