Breaking News

First U.S. Ebola case confirmed September 30, 2014

0

ASU returns funds to Ray Charles Foundation

ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University has refunded the money donated by famed singer and Albany native Ray Charles after the Charles Foundation went to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office for assistance in reclaiming the funds, officials say.

The foundation gave ASU two checks in 2001 and 2002 totaling $3 million to help build a fine arts building. It’s unclear how much money was refunded.

"The return of funds donated by the late Ray Charles brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation," said Albany State President Everette J. Freeman. "We thank Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the University System of Georgia, the Board of Regents and the Attorney General's office for assisting us in resolving this issue. A new fine arts building remains one of the university's greatest needs which we hope will be completed as soon as possible. ASU will continue with plans to build the educational facility and remains focused on increasing student scholarships and development."

In February 2012, the school said that $2 million went to fund 125 Ray Charles Presidential Scholarships while $1 million was still in the bank.

“The funds were granted solely to help build a performing arts center, The Ray Charles Fine Arts Building, housing a theater to be named in honor of the singer’s mother, Retha Robinson,” Foundation spokesperson David Brokaw said. “Since no effort was made to build the facility and years of promises produced no outcome, the Foundation contacted Georgia Attorney General Samuel Owens (sic) to seek his office’s assistance. Graciously, Attorney General Owens (sic) agreed to listen to their grievance.”

ASU has contended there was a “misconception” of the Ray Charles gift “as being restricted.”

“Ray Charles, Joe Adams, who was Ray’s longtime manager, and I were clear and specific about how this gift was to be spent. It is incomprehensible that ASU failed to use the money in the manner Mr. Charles specified. We are grateful to Attorney General Owens (sic) and his office for holding ASU accountable and thereby making it possible that future donations are used as stipulated by donors,” Foundation President Valerie Ervin said.

“I hold dearly and take seriously the memory of Ray Charles, who taught me over two decades ago never to give up on what is right. Mr. Charles’ instructions to honor his late mother will be realized at Morehouse College. Unfortunately, it will not be on the campus of ASU,” Ervin said.

Charles, who died in 2004, also gave more than $1 million to Morehouse, which has built a performing arts center.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow. Next time read the letter and follow instructions. Simple.

4

waltspecht 1 year, 8 months ago

Just where are these funds coming from? As we all should remember, much of this money was already spent. So that would be illegal funding thru disception. Will anyone get prosecuted? Just in case you haven't figured it out, the payback will probably be at the Taxpayers expense.

1

TRUTH101 1 year, 8 months ago

I understand the foundations gripe but they must understand 3 million dollars WiLL NOT build a building. The fine arts building will take 15 Million PLUS..... ASU, just like another Uniersiity under the Georgia Uiversity Sysytem, must be allocated such funds to start a building project. ASU has been denied by the University System SEVERAL times! With that said HOW DO THE EXPECT TO SEE A BUILDING! If I donate $5,000 to a cause that wil cost $20,000, I wont to see the benefits of my $s until the other $15,000 is raised.....DUH...by the way Morehouse is a private school, which is why they were able to build their building.......

0

TRUTH101 1 year, 8 months ago

They havent found a cure for cancer yet.......I think I will be calling the Cancer Society for a refund on my DONATION......Now how stupid does that sound.......

0

VietVet1 1 year, 8 months ago

"clear and specific about how this gift was to be spent. It is incomprehensible that ASU failed to use the money in the manner Mr. Charles specified." THEN DON'T TAKE THE MONEY IF YOU CAN FULFILL THE OBLIGATION.

0

Cartman 1 year, 8 months ago

What an embarrassment. Was the money repaid from an account funded by the original donation or did it come from another budget item? These are public funds. The public has a right to know.

1

dingleberry 1 year, 8 months ago

Since you raised the question, why don't you ask ASU in a formal FOIA request?

0

agirl_25 1 year, 8 months ago

It was interesting to go back and read the comments we made last February 2012 on this very topic. Also, it is very nice to know that the Foundation is getting its money back. So neener neener neener on you.....to those of you who lined your pockets and had to give it back. Shame on those of you who used the money improperly. I wonder if the story of paying it back made the news the same way it did when it was, ummmm, borrowed..whatcha think?

0

truthsayer 1 year, 8 months ago

Well I see ya'll had to pay it back, shame on ASU. Ya'll knew what ya'll did was improper. Now it's time to pay it back. But oh wait, that really means we will be paying it back, the tax payers of Georgia. So I reckon they really stole the money from ''us''.

0

ASUALUM 1 year, 8 months ago

Ignorance at it's best....Obviously because of yall's strong dislike or should I say disapproval of ASU, you're being blinded from the facts. ASU wasn't entirely at fault of this. The funds that were DONATED to ASU by the Ray Charles Foundation wasn't a sufficient amount to construct the buidling that was outlined in the agreement. Before anything is built on STATE property it has to be approved!!!! Not to mention, the BOR ( Board of Regents) Would have had to provide funding as well. Unlike Morehouse, ASU is prohibited by the BOR in participating in projects without approval.

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 8 months ago

Then why take the money if you can't build the building? Put all the circumstance on the table to the Charles Foundation. Don't shuck and jive with the man's money. Case closed.

1

TRUTH101 1 year, 8 months ago

We never shucked and jived......The foundation NEW the restrictions placed on ASU and THOUGHT the BOR would approve it.......Years later the BOR has approved everybody but ASU! Yes there are new dorms on our beautiful campus but they were built by private stake holders who basically rent out said dorms.....ANY new instructional buildings must be approved. You guys can say what you want. Those in the know, know....those who dont, blog...

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 8 months ago

101, you are missing the point. The Charles Foundation gave the money to ASU for a building to honor the man and his mama. ASU accepted it for that purpose. ASU spent the damned money on something else. It doesn't matter that the Charles Foundation knew more money was required. If you take the money on the contingency that more money is to come fine. Don't spend the money on something else. Don't shuck and jive with the man's money. Case closed.

2

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 8 months ago

It's so hard trying to educate the closed mind, huh FT?

2

TRUTH101 1 year, 8 months ago

That is funny coming from you........

0

wino3800 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow...where did the money go? Thank goodness AG Olens is involved. Time to stop the theft and corruption. Clean house, hold people accountable. Taxpayer money should not be used to repay the Foundation. Someone made these decisions and is directly responsible.

1

Noahvale 1 year, 8 months ago

What's even sadder - Terry Lewis, the Herald reporter, his copy editor, and representatives quoted from the Ray Charles Foundation do not know our state's attorney general's correct name (it's Sam OLENS - not OWENS).

If Terry Lewis or his copy editor knew, then "(sic)" should have been placed right after the error.

{sigh}

0

Terry.Lewis 1 year, 8 months ago

You are correct. I know Sam Olens is the AG, but that slipped right past me. No excuses. My bad.

0

waltspecht 1 year, 8 months ago

Weren't those additional funds supposed to be raised by the College thru individual contributions from School Graduates and other funding requests outside of the State system? I just seem to remember something like that. Matter of fact, I seem to remember seeing a request mailing. However, I am getting old and my memory isn't what it should be.

0

spookj6 1 year, 8 months ago

There's nothing you can say that will convince any of Albany's finest of what happened, they only worry about a certain college on Gillionville Rd becoming bigger. This too will soon pass.

0

FryarTuk 1 year, 8 months ago

Spook, look up a term: fiduciary obligation. ASU before Dr. Freeman tried to pull a fast one. It failed. Sam Olens would not be involved and ASU would not be returning the donation otherwise. Don't shuck and jive with man's money. AKA, fiduciary obligation.

0

whattheheck 1 year, 8 months ago

If the money was for a specific purpose and more funding were required, it should have been held in trust until the funding arrived or returned. Sounds like it was considered a big piggy bank by ASU, much as happens with money in the hands of Phoebe. And "If it's unclear how much money was refunded" perhaps ASU should be asked a direct question and if nothing is provided, simply say they would not answer the direct question rather than skirt the issue as the article did.

0

Cartman 1 year, 8 months ago

When its OPM, what's a couple of mil?

0

Ihope4albany 1 year, 8 months ago

This news is very said for philanthropy overall, but especially for black philanthropy because it makes the Ray Charles Foundation look incompetent. When you listen to the rationale that the Ray Charles Foundation is making, it holds no real weight - “Since no effort was made to build the facility and years of promises produced no outcome,..". ASU is an institution of the USG system and must go through all of the steps required for funding a public building. Morehouse is a private HBCU that is not bound by the same processes.

ASU has been in the process and continues the process for the Fine Arts Building that will eventually come. I hope that ASU can still name the Theater for Ray Charles' mother and honor his wish. As for the Ray Charles Foundation, it was running out of money and called back in one of its major gifts. That is a "no no" in philanthropy.

0

Sign in to comment