Brandeis Sued Over Planned Demolition of Named Building

The descendent of a donor to Brandeis University is suing the school in an effort to block the demolition of a science building named for his great uncle, the Wall Street Journal reports. The suit is the latest in a growing number of disputes involving the likes of Princeton, Tulane, and Trinity College over donor intent.

Although the university has said it plans to tear down a facility named after Julius Kalman, a real estate developer and early donor to the school who died in 1956, Mr. Kalman's great-nephew, Sumner Kalman, is seeking an injunction in Suffolk County Probate Court in Boston to halt the demolition, arguing that the university's plan violates the terms of his great-uncle's will, which bequeathed Boston real estate worth $1.8 million (more than $14 million in today's dollars) to the school.

Kalman, an attorney, appealed to the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, which declined to take action. A spokesperson for the AG said there was nothing in the will that required the school to maintain the building "beyond its useful life."

In a statement, Judith R. Sizer, Brandeis's general counsel, said, "The Kalman family was assured, over a year ago, that the university has every intention of continuing its memorial to Julius Kalman, a generous early donor to Brandeis. [The school] intends to work with the family to resolve this matter."

John Hechinger. "Brandeis Plan to Raze Building Sparks Donor Suit." Wall Street Journal 05/12/2009.