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Ray Charles Foundation wants $3 million gift back

ATLANTA — The head of the Ray Charles Foundation is demanding the return of a $3 million gift given to Albany State University in south Georgia because the organization says the college has yet to use the funds to build a performing arts center in the artist’s name.

Charles, a native of Albany, died in 2004. He gave Albany State $1 million in 2001 and $2 million in 2002. The $1 million gift remains in a bank, and the $2 million was given to 125 students chosen to be Ray Charles Presidential Scholars. According to the foundation, the funds were granted “solely to help build a performing arts center.”

Albany State University spokesman Demetrius Love said the gift was never restricted and the school continues to pursue additional funding for the building.

Comments

Amazed2 2 years, 5 months ago

Well I guess even Ray Charles can't trust the incompetent ASU officials. The foundation should have done this on a pledge basis and told them they would match dollar for dollar funds raised and only actually give ASU the real money when they have the rest of the money. Looks like the Ray Charles money was burning a hole in some folks pockets down on Radium Springs Road. "Hey we have $3 million dollars in cash in the bank lets save a million and let's spend $2 Million dollars. After all we are sure the State of Georgia or Obama and the Feds will bequest us some more tax dollars to replace Ray's money if we decide to build us a Ray Charles building. Opps we did not think we needed to check with brother Ray's people about spending his $2 million. Can you believe it they want it back now and we done spended it.

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Amazed2 2 years, 5 months ago

I think the foundation should have someone write a song and record it so they can play it over a speaker at the Ray Charles Park. Something like "Give me back my Money" or "Wheres my money now ASU" or "Help Help me Baby I Want My Money Back" "Fools Fools Fools Spent My Money" "Ain't got No Building Now"

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, that hospital had to give Garth Brooks back his money... So I suspect the same should hold true here, right?

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agirl_25 2 years, 5 months ago

The jury awarded Brooks a million dollars.....his initial gift was half a million to the hospital for the wing in memory of his mother.

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dingleberry 2 years, 5 months ago

I would have thought this article was more than page 13A material since it was a lead story on WALB. Anyway, I am certain the Ray C folks are upset as they well should be. Using money planned for a building on 125 scholarships is quite a stretch. The bottom line in dealing with ASU is get it in writing and have a whole bunch of witnesses--yours. There is something wrong with an organization that twists an issue of trust to suit their own purpose.

I would like to see the Foundation sue to get it back. In this case, it is warranted.

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bubbavet 2 years, 5 months ago

ASU IS USING THE OLD JESSE JACKSON SAYING. "WHAT I SAID AIN'T WHAT I MEANT" STEALING IS STEALING NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT. ASU AND DCSS ARE PROS AT IT.

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Amazed2 2 years, 5 months ago

The Ray Charles Foundation obviously gave the $3 Million Dollars in Good Faith that ASU would actively pursue additional funds and donations to see the building project thru. At this point a number of years has passed and many of those early 2003 thru 2006 yrs were especially good economic years so they can't just blame the economy and the Board of Regents, etc. ASU liked having a FAT Bank account I think and systematically began funding student scholarships so of which potentially went to unqualified students. I don't blame the Ray Charles Fdn at all. The have probably been simply reading the WALB, FOX, Albany Herald and Albany Journal coverage of the issues at ASU and the DCSS Lunch Fraud and the DCSS CRCT and Cutliff Grove Mess and the Old Downtowner Hotel Mess, etc. etc. Based on all that Mess I am sure they don't want Ray's name attached to Albany any more than it has. If I were them I would request that the City of Albany take down his statue and rename the Ray Charles Park to something esle like Johnny Johnson Park.

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agirl_25 2 years, 5 months ago

I wonder what type investment that $1-million that ASU says they still have is in, or if they even have it in an investment. After 10+ years I would think that even in this economy, that with a smart investment team and a million bucks they could do some good things with the money. But I guess that would be too hard for them to figure out, huh?

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Insight 2 years, 5 months ago

As the article is written, in part, the information is not 100% accurate. When Ray Charles donated the funds, it was done so under Madam Portia Shields, the ASU President at that time. The intent of the Ray Charles Foundation could have been to have the funds solely invested in a building for Ray Charles, but it was not stated (either written or verbal) that the funds would go solely to the erection of a building. As a result, Madam President, Portia Shields gave a significant portion of the donated funds to students for scholarships. Madam President, Portia Shields left ASU in 2004/2005 when she learned that the Board of Regents would not renew her contract with ASU as a result of many warnings she ignored and "foul" plays under her administration. In 2005, President Freeman was hired to head ASU. It wasn't until President Freeman had been at ASU for a while when he learned of the delimma with the Ray Charles Foundation and the funds donated to ASU. Unfortunately, this problem was inherited by the current administration. Currently, the plan is to erect the building when the funds that the previous President doled out to students is supplemented. It is an unfortunate situation, however, it is in the plans to erect a building on behalf of Ray Charles. It's just going to take a little longer to get it done at this point.

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