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February 26, 2010; San Diego Union Tribune  | If conversation around the boardroom is strained these days at San Diego-based American Assets, a family-owned financial services and investment management firm, there’s good reason. Family members who hold a minority interest in the company are suing founder Ernest Rady to stop him from giving $21 million in company funds as part of a $60 million gift he made to a hospital that now bears his name. Nieces and nephews of the 72-year-old La Jolla businessman and philanthropist, who hold a minority interest in the company, said Rady made the donation without their knowledge. Rady’s Children’s Hospital officials say the gift is being used to help pay for a $260 million patient tower, purchase medical equipment and defray costs of charity care. Family members fighting the pledge bear no grudge to the hospital, but think Rady—whose personal wealth was estimated at $1.6 billion in 2008—should make the gift out of his own pocket, not tap into company funds. “He can well afford to make the donation with his own money, instead of his relatives’ money,” said Allan Kaufman, a nephew who lives in Toronto. This isn’t the first time Rady’s wealth has caused problems for him and his family. Three years ago, a gunman broke into his home and tied up Rady, his wife and a housekeeper. After searching the house for cash, the bandit fled with all of $43.—Bruce Trachtenberg