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Princeton Sued in Foundation Dispute

July 18, 2002

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PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Descendants of a couple who donated what has become a $600 million endowment at Princeton University have sued the school in a bid to transfer the money to another university.

Relatives of the late Charles S. and Marie H. Robertson claim that Princeton has attempted to prevent family members who manage the Robertson Foundation with university-appointed trustees from fulfilling its mission.

They also charge that the Ivy League school is planning to mix the foundation’s assets with the university’s endowment, preventing family members from overseeing the foundation’s funds.

Princeton President Shirley Tilghman denied the allegations and said the family does not have the legal right to withdraw its endowment. She also said legal restrictions allow the funds to be used only for Princeton’s benefit.

Charles Robertson was a 1926 Princeton graduate. His wife was an heir to the A&P grocery store fortune. They created the foundation in 1961 with 700,000 shares of A&P stock, worth $35 million at the time, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Superior Court.

The foundation’s purpose was to strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to defend freedom worldwide. The Robertsons wanted the money to be used at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The couple’s eldest son, William S. Robertson, of Naples, Fla., said the university has ``violated the stated intent and trust of my parents and my family.″

The family has not specified what other university should get the money.

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