Alabama ex­pected to re­turn $21.5 mil­lion gift

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

When philanthro­pist Hugh F. Cul­ver­house Jr. pledged a record $26.5 mil­lion to the Univer­sity of Alabama in Septem­ber, the in­sti­tu­tion show­ered him with praise, laud­ing his gen­eros­ity, de­scrib­ing him as a “spe­cial per­son” and re­nam­ing the law school in his honor.

That re­la­tion­ship quickly soured. On Fri­day, Alabama’s board of trustees is ex­pected to re­ject Cul­ver­house’s gift, give back the $21.5 mil­lion re­ceived so far, and re­move his name, too.

Depend­ing on which side you talk to, the flap is ei­ther the most high-pro­file fall­out from Alabama’s new abor­tion ban or a com­pletely un­re­lated dis­pute.

The bond be­gan publicly un­rav­el­ing last week af­ter Cul­ver­house, a Florida real es­tate in­vestor and lawyer, called on stu­dents to boy­cott the univer­sity to protest the ban. Hours later, Alabama an­nounced it was con­sid­er­ing giv­ing back his money, the big­gest do­na­tion ever made to the univer­sity.”I don’t want any­body to go to that law school, es­pe­cially women, un­til the state gets its act to­gether,” the 70-year-old Cul­ver­house said in an in­ter­view.

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