Donation Quid Pro Quo in Baldest Form

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December 29, 2010; Source: KTRK-TV | Dr. Michael Barwil so far has donated $40,000 to the Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School with, as he tells it, the clear understanding that the contribution would ensure his son’s acceptance to the school. “I told him [a school representative] if I do contribute, I would like to know that my son is going to be attending this school. And he said, ‘Well yes, of course.”

When his son was rejected from the Houston, Texas school, Barwil sued to get his donation back on the grounds of “common law fraud” and “negligent misrepresentation.” He claims that his son was rejected as a result of Barwil pledging only $50,000 rather than the $100,000 the school wanted. The school says “nay, nay!” Contributions have nothing to do with admissions.

Barwil, a vascular surgeon, is an alumnus of the school and says he started his conversations with the school five years ago. He no longer wants to see his son go to Strake but says he is pursuing the issue to flag the problem for others.

A lawyer consulted on the matter says the suit may have some merit if, in fact, the college does not explicitly say to donors that it can make no promises.—Ruth McCambridge

  • David Cearley

    The local story detailed how the school fundraiser met with Mr Barwil, and skid a small piece of paper across the table telling him this is what we need from you. The Doctor then carved up his family budget and donated heavily for four years. Obviously the school is under no obligation to enroll the donor’s child, but the methods used by the fundraiser were sleazy, fraudulent, and bordered on criminal. Is that really how boards should let their major gift solicitors work?

  • criticalz

    “He no longer wants to see his son go to Strake but says he is pursuing the issue to flag the problem for others.”

    Yea.. he’s not trying to help others. He’s simply embarrassing himself and his son. He obviously is sheltered and has no friends because otherwise a “respected doctor” would suck it and move on for the sake of his “good name”. Poor guy.. I feel bad for people like that. Just so sad and incredibly pathetic.