Alum org. suspected in funding of lawsuit
By Hank Nelson
Published on Friday, January 9, 2009
While several of the plaintiffs in the ongoing alumni lawsuit against the College maintain they do not know who is funding the legal effort, alumni leaders said they believe the financial support is coming from the Hanover Institute, a non-profit organization that was also implicated in funding the now-dismissed lawsuit by the Dartmouth Association of Alumni.
These alumni leaders include Dartmouth Alumni Council President John Daukas '84, said he believes the Institute is responsible for orchestrating the current litigation. Daukas had spoken publicly against the Association's previous legal action.
The current suit is the second in two years to involve parity on the College's Board of Trustees between the number of Board-selected and alumni-elected members. The Association first brought suit against the College in October 2007, following the Board's decision to add eight Board-selected trustees. The suit argued that an 1891 Board resolution legally bound the trustees to maintain parity. It was withdrawn this spring after alumni opposed to the suit won election to all 11 of the seats on the Association's executive committee.
John MacGovern '80, the Institute's president, asked alumni to back a second lawsuit against the College and indicated that his organization was "prepared to finance the suit" in a September e-mail.
The e-mail, which was provided to The Dartmouth by Daukas, outlines the Institute's grievances with the Board, including the loss of parity. It also asks those who support pursuing parity through legal means to reply and indicate whether they would like to be named as plaintiffs in the case.
"It was through The Hanover Institute that I indicated that I would be a plaintiff in the case," Kenneth Clark '50, a complainant in the current case, said. "I also indicated that I would have nothing to do with funding it."
Clark said he "really [has] no idea" who is financing the lawsuit.
"If I had to guess, and this is only a guess, I would say that The Hanover Institute was funding it," he said.
Marisa DeAngelis Kane '83, another of the plaintiffs, was also unsure about the suit's financial backing, but said she believes the funding might come from the Institute and "other alumni who believe passionately in the cause."
The Institute contributed $200,000 to the previous legal effort. The money was collected from alumni through conservative fundraising groups like The Center for Excellence in Higher Education, as previously reported by The Dartmouth.
Daukas said he would not be surprised if the Institute were funding the suit without making its actions public.
"This is vintage Hanover Institute," Daukas said. "[Frank] Gado ['58] denied or danced around for a year about whether The Hanover Institute was funding the last lawsuit."
Gado, the former second vice president of the Association executive committee, helped file the original lawsuit in 2007. He is also an officer of the Institute.
When contacted by The Dartmouth, Gado directed all inquiries regarding the Institute and its potential involvement in the suit to MacGovern. MacGovern did not return requests for comment by press time.