Stony Brook's main fundraising entity, the Stony Brook Foundation, spent more than $1.1 million over the course of 12 months on lobbying efforts, according to a report published by the upstate media outlet Times Union.
The newspaper performed an analysis of public records and found widespread use of funds built from "alumni donations, grants, galas and gifts," much of which was spent by the fundraising foundations "without competitive bidding requirements or public scrutiny."
Times Union reported that one person, Abraham Lackman – who is the former head of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities – was paid more than $700,000 over three years for a contract that specified he would do the following: "Advise the university on state rules, regulations and laws; arrange for SUNY schools to set up their own tuition structure without taking a hit in state aid; and get a state-funded deal that would allow for Stony Brook, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory to merge."
Stony Brook representative Lauren Sheprow told Times Union that his contract comprised part of an "advocacy campaign" to get SUNY 2020 legislation passed. Lackman did not reply to the newspaper's requests for comment.
State Sen. Ken LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, is the co-sponsor of a bill that would make SUNY foundations such as the Stony Brook Foundation subject to Freedom of Information Laws – a measure that the Times Union reported has been fought by the colleges. "Disclosure is the best regulation," LaValle said.
Click here to read the full report from timesunion.com.