Weill Cornell Medical College Gets $100M From Former Enron Chief

NEW YORK (WCBS 880 / AP) – A $100 million dollar gift from New York City philanthropists Renee and Robert Belfer was announced with much fanfare at Weill Cornell Medical College on Wednesday.

WCBS 880’s Marla Dimaond on The Story

A new medical research facility on the Upper East Side will bear their names.

“It’s going to have an effect that’s going to last for generations because this doubles the research space,” said dean Antonio Gotto.

Gotto says space constraints have limited the medical school’s ability to attract top researchers and grants.

“The coin of the realm of medical schools and academic medical centers is space,” said Robert Belfer.

Belfer, whose family has had a long relationship with the hospital, is a former Enron director, who lamented that the energy company’s collapse has prevented him from making more gifts like this.

He says the gift is in memory of his father and two sisters who died of cancer.

“The building is certain to house discoveries that will benefit my family, New Yorkers, and all mankind,” he said.

Weill Cornell is raising $1.3 billion to build a 480,000-square-foot medical research facility where thirty new researchers will focus on a range of urgent health issues, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • roddy

    t dubs, if Rick, theoretically, were part of upper management and was unaware of the fraud that was perpetuated, I don’t think it would be his obligation to help out any lower level employee victims and others left destitute by such fraud. But that has nothing to do with the culpability of the higher-ups who knowingly committed the fraud, especially against the employees who were forced to invest their pension plans only in Enron when they knew the stock was worthless.

    Rick, as for Robert Belfer is concerned, I’m not sure if he was part of upper management. I think he was just an investor, and, if I’m not mistaken, he was one of the biggest victims of the scheme (see 2001 NY Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/05/business/enron-s-collapse-losers-with-billion-enron-s-stock-rich-wallet-suddenly-lighter.html?pagewanted=all). He and his family lost a sizable chunk of their fortune because they invested so heavily in Enron, but like all smart investors, they had other investments, and today they are still relatively very wealthy (probably 1%ers), but not nearly as wealthy as before the Enron collapse. So, Rick, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you might have jumped to conclusions regarding Belfer and there’s no shame on the part of Weill Cornell Medical College in accepting the $100 million gift.

    • Roddy

      Sorry I meant “perpetrated” not “perpetuated.”

  • woody j

    who cares!?! i heard the frittatas were off the hook!

  • Rick

    Should the complex not be named for all the people who lost money in the Enron scandal? Robert Belfer is simply trying to white wash his sins. If he really wants. He should give away every penny of his ill-gotten fortune and live like the Enron investors and especially it’s employees who were forced to invest their pension plans only in Enron stock and now live like they do. This is an outrageous act and the hospital should be ashamed to accept blood money.

    • t dubs

      lets say you worked as a upper level officer in your company. you worked your butt off in college and put in over 80 hrs a week at the company. then you find out your company was part of a scandal. would you give back the money you earned? did you not do work?

  • kb

    i heard the event was amazing. even pink ho was there! you know what a show stopper she is!

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