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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Letter to the editor of the Star Ledger

A slightly altered version of this letter to the editor was published in the July 28, 2008, Star Ledger:

Princeton merits trust

In his July 22 opinion piece, "For charities, it's a matter of trust," William Robertson presents blatantly misleading information about why it has taken so long to get to trial in the lawsuit he has brought against Princeton University.

At various times over the past six years, the Robertsons have engaged in wasteful pretrial discovery and filed unnecessary motions, extending the time to trial. And for six years they have been paying their legal and public relations expenses from a family foundation whose assets they have spent down from $50 million to $20 million.

Princeton is ready for its day in court and has every confidence in the merits of its case. For 47 years Princeton has been an excellent steward of the funds Marie Robertson gave to Princeton and has used them solely for the purpose for which they were given. As for Mr. Robertson's bizarre assertion that Princeton's former counsel has "left the country," the fact is that he had not been Princeton's counsel for 20 years, has retired to Puerto Rico and is fully prepared to testify at trial.

Mr. Robertson suggests that donors are losing "trust" in Princeton, but here again the facts flatly contradict him. This past year Princeton set a new record for donations from its alumni, with 59.2 percent of all undergraduate alumni contributing. The percentages exceeded 75 percent in many of the classes that were celebrating major reunions. Clearly there are many donors who have a high degree of trust in Princeton University.

Robert K. Durkee is vice president and secretary, Princeton University

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