UCLA professor sued for misusing charity funds!

Legal news for California criminal attorneys. UCLA professor and several board members sued for benefiting from their charity.

California criminal lawyers alerts- A lawsuit was filed UCLA professor for benefiting from his own charity.

Los Angeles, CA—A University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine professor of cardiothoracic surgery, is being sued by the California Attorney General for allegedly benefiting from his own research and educational charity. The lawsuit, which is seeking to recover over $500,000 in misused funds, was filed on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

According to the lawsuit, the UCLA surgeon, Dr. Gerald D. Buckberg, and five other officers misused the L.B. Research & Educational Foundation funds to finance their own medical research, and/or research companies that they had a financial interest in. The lawsuit cites a California law, which prevents a charity’s director, officer or board member from benefiting from the organizations income or assets. A 2007 investigation into the charity and Buckberg, turned up several questionable uses of the charities funds. A $120,000 worth of donations were used by Buckberg to produce an educational DVD, in which a company owned by the UCLA professor reserves the rights to the DVD. Buckberg also used $15,000 to build plastic heart models by a company he owns. In addition, the foundation donated $1 million to UCLA to implement an endowed faculty chair, which Buckberg applied for and was denied. As a result of being denied the position, the L.B. Research & Educational Foundation sued UCLA, and around $300,000 worth of the charities assets have since funded the lawsuit. UCLA later uncovered that Buckberg paid the $1 million donation to ensure he would be named to the endowed faculty chair position.

The plaintiffs are seeking to recover over $500,00 in misused funds. They also are seeking to dissolve the charity and bar the defendants from operating the foundation until they can provide detailed accounting statements. Buckberg started the foundation in 1997, and have since financially funded the charity with around $3 million, on top of $130,000 in donations that other patrons have donated.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for California criminal lawyers.