Radio millionaire sues Georgetown over a hurt ego

Gewirz Student CenterScott K. Ginsburg (LAW ’78), a Georgetown millionaire who made his fortune in the radio business, filed a lawsuit against the University last Monday because, apparently, it hurt his ego. He hopes to recover upwards of the $7.5 million he donated beginning in 2000, which was intended to fund the construction of a new fitness center for the law school.

The center was supposed to be branded the Scott K. Ginsburg Health and Fitness Center, written in large bold letters on the outside of the building with his picture displayed inside, according to the Dallas Morning News

Though the center has since been built, Ginsburg’s name is nowhere to be found on campus or even on the school’s website: In 1999, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of leaking inside information to his brother and father, and the SEC won the lawsuit.

After the jury ruled against him, the University sent him a letter thanking him for his support and asked to revise the agreement so that naming rights were no longer part of the deal. The school hoped to avoid negative media surrounding the SEC decision, but Ginsburg said he did not sign the revised agreement, which offended him.

“There is a total void of mentioning me or my participation with the law school campus, and it has created a terrible anxiety for me… I have misjudged the school’s intent and now have realized that my role at Georgetown is sadly different than I thought it had been,” wrote Ginsburg in an email to Georgetown Vice President of Strategic Development and External Affairs Kevin Conry, according to the Dallas Morning News.

This blatant refusal to acknowledge his greatness hurt his feelings. After making $17 billion in the radio business, opening expensive restaurants, selling exotic cars, and dappling in the digital-ad business, Ginsburg wanted to show off his money in a new way. He donated $5 million to the law center in March 2000 and $2.5 million more over the next 10 years hoping to flaunt his wealth in a more philanthropic manner. “Let me suggest that I don’t have a small ego,” Ginsburg told the Dallas Observer in 1999.

Georgetown’s timidity in regards to bad press dashed his hopes of seeing his name on a law school gym, though the University did not fail to continue to ask him for more money, according to the lawsuit.

“Georgetown not only was not in fact committed to recognizing Ginsburg’s generosity by naming the sports center for him, but each of the foregoing oral and written representations to him about its claimed commitment was false, made only to entice him to give Georgetown more money,” the lawsuit reads.

Editor’s Note: The original headline of this post read “Yet another millionaire sues Georgetown over a hurt ego,” which is somewhat misleading given the fact that Vox doesn’t know of any similar cases.

Photo: Steve Madsen via Flickr

11 Comments on “Radio millionaire sues Georgetown over a hurt ego

  1. Yeah, what a dick – suing Georgetown because they signed an agreement to name a building after him if he gave them $5,000,000, and then not doing it. I mean, who does that?

    Reading the lawsuit, it looks pretty straightforward. Georgetown signed a contract, even after knowing that the SEC had initiated insider trading charges against Ginsburg. Once Ginsburg was convicted, Georgetown wanted to back out of the deal and proposed amending the contract to delete the paragraph where they would name the center after him. He refused to sign, which is his right.

    If the suit’s further allegations are correct, Georgetown then went on for the next decade soliciting his money (some $11M of it, it looks like) and referencing the “Scott K. Ginsburg Health and Fitness Center” all the while.

    Is Ginsburg a selfless contributor? Hardly. That being said, $5M is a lot of f’ing money. I understand why he wanted Georgetown to stick to its end of the bargain. I understand why Georgetown wanted out of it, too — but contracts are contracts. You can’t take a guy’s money and not honor the bargain you contracted for, particularly since the SEC charges were announced September 1999 and the Agreement was signed in March 2000 – six months later.

    It’s Georgetown that’s being the scummy one here.

  2. Also, who are the other millionaires suing Georgetown over a hurt ego, as the title implies? Am I missing something?

  3. Yeah, I don’t see how Georgetown can be in the right here. Just because this guy seems somewhat full of himself doesn’t mean they can have their cake and eat it too.

  4. He can have my building if he wants.

  5. This article was pretty sensational for a site that purportedly attempts to avoid editorializing news stories. Seems like the Voice certainly doesn’t hesitate to resort to tabloid journalism when it suits their agenda.

    I’m shocked that Connor Jones, the great defender of responsible reporting, allowed such drivel to make it onto the site /s

  6. The Voice just haaaaaates radio magnates. It has an agenda against them.

  7. I think there’s a picture of him by the entrance to the gym.

    Womp womp.

  8. If the University broke a contract, the University broke a contract…

  9. One doesn’t need to be a Supreme Court Justice to understand that GU should honor its agreement, so send the man back his bucks (plus interest, whatever). What Jesuit value says that you can take his money and then stiff him? If they wanted to have an “out,” then it should have been part of the agreement. If this is a matter of “principle,” fine, but don’t take his money and then breach the contract.

  10. GU should honor its agreement. Pretty stupid on the part of whatever administrator thought this would be a good idea.

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