Cooper Union Financials: Questions and Concerns

Save Cooper Now November 17, 2011

Some questions and concerns generated from a review of the 2006 – 2009 990′s:

We welcome any response or further information.

1) We are trying to figure out the annual investment returns on
CU’s portfolio. The Form 990s don’t really break down the
different components between (i)returns from the investment
portfolio, (ii)returns (plus tax benefits) from the real estate
portfolio and (iii) drawdowns from the investment portfolio to fund

The reason we are looking at this is because the MetLife loan $32M
in excess of what was needed. Apparently the trustees thought it
was a good idea to get this much extra and invest it in the hopes
of making more than 5.87% (the interest rate), which in itself was
likely a high benchmark in 2006 given how conservative CU needed to
be, but it would be really something given the interest rate
environment since 2008.

Are the financials online? Are they public? Also, the statements for 2010 and 2011 would be great.

2) Next, if our reading of their old debt (the Dormitory Authority
of the State of New York bonds) is correct, they were paying 5.53%
on $97M worth of bonds in Fiscal 2007. We have no idea why they
took out a higher interest rate loan to pay off a lower interest
rate loan, which added approximately $0.3M in interest expense each

Can we get a better idea of what they were thinking?

3) We are not getting the same revenue/expenditure figures as TC
has provided per the November 9, 2011 letter titled ‘Cooper Union
Finance Update’. For example, according to the From 990, revenue
and expenses were $47,245,255.00 and $65,502,719.00 respectively.
But the graph points to figures of approximately $47M for revenue
and $60M for expenses. We get similar understatements of expenses
for 2008, 2007 and 2006 (haven’t looked at pre-2006 numbers yet).
We would be curious to know how they are reconciling their expenses
to be less than the figures reported in their Form 990.

4) Why was Mr. George Campbell awarded $175,000 in bonuses each
year in 2007, 2008, 2009 (do not have 2010 and 2011 figures, and
haven’t look at pre-2006 numbers) while the deficit gap was

5) Something that might be of interest: from 2006 to 2009, CU has
paid Jonathan Rose Companies $2M to supervise the construction of
the new building. The owner of this contractor is Jonathan F.P.

We believe Sandra Priest Rose is Johnathon’s mother. She is also a trustee at CU.

Next Post Union Square, Nov 17th
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