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> Taking money from a dirty source is one thing; hiding it from the university because they've blacklisted that person in particular is about as unforgivable a crime as you'll find in academia

TBH, I've never heard of a blacklisted donor at MIT, so I'm a little surprised (pleasantly, as an alum).




I'm confused by the blacklisted donor thing. The first questions I had when reading about it was "when did he end up on this list?", "why did he end up on it?, and "how big is this list?"

It doesn't seem like any of the journalists even asked. That sounds like a very interesting story in and of itself.


The original New Yorker article says he was blacklisted after his 2008 felony conviction. I've been told that the CRM software used by university development offices is pretty phenomenal. It was hinted to me that it automatically annotates donor records with SEC stock transaction disclosures, and I wouldn't be surprised if it also annotates donor records with public criminal court proceedings.


>It was hinted to me that it automatically annotates donor records with SEC stock transaction disclosures

I assume this is so they can hit you up for money right after you sell a bunch of stock? Clever.


And also so they can revise their estimates of your net worth so they know how much to ask for without making it awkward.


It would be significantly more tax-efficient for the donor to donate (appreciated) stock.


Yea, I suspect his prior conviction for “solicitation of prostitution involving a minor” may have played a part. But, the details could be interesting.


I wonder how that happens, like what would have caused them to take notice and add him to a list?

In part, I wonder if it has any connection to Gregory Benford's description of Minsky's interaction with Epstein: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/339725/


I'm just spitballing here, but if someone is involved in delivering millions of dollars' worth of donations to you, it would be reasonable to perform a basic background check on them, just to guard against huge potential PR problems. I doubt that they do the same over, say, $500 donations from random people, but once you're into the millions of dollars, you really need to know who you're dealing with. Background checks are used in many situations involving much smaller amounts of money (like entry-level jobs), so why not here?

And hi!!


So! There have been some interesting updates:

* https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614299/mit-media-lab-jeff...

Apparently "disqualified" status was a flag in their CRM essentially just meant "don't bother trying to cold call this person", usually set after three failed attempts to fund-raise from them. It in no way signaled any kind of prohibition on fundraising, and only available to development staff in any case. The whole tangent was essentially spurious and signified nothing except that his donations weren't coming in through fundraising cold calls.

But the real shocker is:

* https://president.mit.edu/speeches-writing/preliminary-fact-...

Media Lab's acceptance of donations from Epstein was known and approved by senior staff in MIT administration, the president even sent a thank you letter. The Media Lab had been directed by the administration to keep Epstein's donation's anonymous to avoid him using MIT for publicity or to enhance his own reputation.

So this whole idea that Ito was demonstrating mens rea by concealing his actions from the administration appears to be completely false. I find it shocking that MIT took a week to clarify this point.

I'd say I told you so-- but I didn't know, it just sounded a little suspect to me. Your alternative understanding also sounded reasonable enough...


Hi. According to MIT Epstein donated ~800k over 20 years, looking into a sudden large donor makes sense, but AFAIK there wouldn't have been anything to find 20 years ago.

Certainly possible, but it would be interesting to understand the timeline and reasons. The "keep this donation anonymous" would take on an entirely different meaning if it was prior to the prohibition, for example.


Except they hid millions as an anonymous donor per the nymag article. That’s whats so damaging.


Gates denial on that looks pretty strong, but regardless the timeline is critical.

Accepting millions from him in 2002 would be unremarkable.


The donations to the Media Lab under Ito, which are the issue here, were obviously post-criminal-conviction since Ito took over in 2011.


I’m also curious what eventbtranspired in the first place that lead to the creation of this list. What was the first name on this list, and why?


It is possible (and likely) that there is no "list", rather that it falls under the general prohibition not to embarrass the organization.




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