Eminent Associates Withhold Funds To Tuskegee
Eminent Associates, an elite group of financial contributors to Tuskegee University has withheld funds raised for the university. The group annually makes a sizable donation to the university during the Fall Convocation. However, when the group met last weekend (September 9-11, 2016) on the historic campus of Tuskegee University, they declined to write a check.
This marks the first time in the 50 year history of the Eminent Associates that they have not given a donation to support the programs of the university. According to sources who attended the meeting, Solomon Banks, president of the group pledged to continue to raise money for the school, but intimated the group will not make a donation until the university publishes a financial statement.
The last known financial statement issued by Tuskegee University was in 2011 during an alumni meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
The university is currently on warning notice status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). At the center of the SACS warning is the school’s financial stability and governance.
Both issues were topics of discussion on a telephone conference call with a group of “concerned Tuskegee Alumni,” Wednesday night, September 14, 2016. The consensus among the telephone conferees is that the Eminent Associates have sent a message to the Tuskegee Board of Trustees that they are not pleased with the slow decline of Tuskegee and are willing to withhold their money until the board replaces President Brian Johnson.
During the Eminent Associates’ meeting, Dr. Elaine Harrington, a long time supporter of President Johnson, questioned Johnson over why several of her checks totaling $4,000 had not been deposited. Also, during this meeting, it was learned that donations, believed to be in the amount of $400,000, made to the university by checks and credit cards last month at the biannual meeting in Las Vegas had not been processed.
Johnson’s explanation is that he does not deposit checks.
However, upon further inspection it was revealed that the reason the checks and credit card donations had not been processed is because the university employees who normally perform that function were given pink slips two weeks ago. There is simply no one presently employed at the university who can process these donations into the university’s bank account.
Meanwhile, Tuskegee’s hefty endowment just got a little lighter. The last time a financial report was available the endowment stood at $130 million. According to our sources, that figure is now down to $110 million.
The Eminent Associates have placed the ball square in the Trustee’s court. Will the Trustees continue to raid the endowment fund, or will they ditch Johnson and join alumni in a massive fund raising plan? We will continue to watch and report.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round; and the host of Beyond the Law with Harold Michael Harvey. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.