BREAKING: Brown Reneged on Deal With City

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


After coming to terms on a deal that would have guaranteed the city of Providence about $4 million in additional financial assistance, Brown University reneged on the agreement and subsequently suggested it would pay about half of the original amount, according to a letter obtained by GoLocalProv.

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The letter, which was sent by Mayor Angel Taveras to Brown University President Ruth Simmons on Jan. 4, breaks down the agreement reached by the Mayor’s special advisor Zachary Darrow and Brown’s senior advisor Richard Spies.

In the letter, Taveras explains that Simmons informed him that the Brown Corporation would approve the agreement, which would have guaranteed the city about $39.5 million over the course of a decade. Simmons, Taveras claims, said the Corporation had only once rejected a recommendation made by her.

“Unfortunately, our agreement never reached the Brown Corporation for their consideration,” Taveras writes in the letter. “Instead, the Corporation approved two of your agenda items – ROTC and athletics—as well as received $34.2 million in gifts to the University. The Corporation also received new that Brown’s endowment grew to a market value of $2.5 billion. The future of Brown and Providence was never discussed or voted upon.”

Taveras said that a Dec. 15 letter from Simmons was “substantially different from our December 12 conversation and a far cry from our original agreement which provided for close to $4 million annually and valued at $39.5 million over 10 years with a view towards an additional 10 year extension.”

Near the end of the letter, Taveras said that the city must obtain $7.1 million from the tax-exempt universities and hospitals and the money expected to come from Brown is an integral part of its budget. He also made it clear that the city will take legal action to pursue the funds that were agreed to if the Corporation does not sign off.

“If that is the case, the City will pursue that revenue from Brown using alternate legal pathways,” the letter states.


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