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Foundation seeks to retract $100M pledge to U of Chicago

March 6, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) — A family that in 2015 pledged $100 million to the University of Chicago is suing to void its commitment, saying the school failed to live up to its promises.

The lawsuit by The Thomas L. Pearson and The Pearson Family Foundation was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma. The foundation wants a judge to void the deal and recoup for it nearly $23 million already given the university to establish The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.

The foundation’s lawsuit alleges the university failed to hire a proper director for the institute within the agreed upon timeframe.

“As a result of having breached its obligations and having engaged in deliberate misrepresentations over a period of more than two years, the U. of C. has caused the foundation to lose all confidence that the U. of C. is an appropriate or capable steward of the Pearson family legacy,” the lawsuit states.

The university contends it has honored the agreement with the Pearsons. University leaders called the lawsuit “baseless” and said the institute is flourishing.

“In the short time since its formation, the institute has hosted dozens of events, enrolled more than 200 students in courses related to the study of global conflict, and fostered an engaged community of scholars,” the university said in a statement. “The remarkable faculty, staff and students at the Pearson Institute will continue their important and meaningful work with the full support and endorsement of the university.”

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