Bloomberg reports that the decision to sell the contents of the Rose Museum at Brandeis comes from greater financial pressure than a mere $10 million budget short-fall:
The 49-year-old Rose Art Museum will close this year and seek buyers for about 6,000 pieces, Dennis Nealon, a spokesman for the Waltham, Massachusetts, school, said today. The collection was appraised at about $350 million in 2007 by the university, said Michael Rush, the museum’s director.
The private school has suffered investment losses, and spent other funds on a construction boom. Also, some “staunch and generous” donors to Brandeis were hurt by Bernard Madoff’s alleged fraud, Jehuda Reinharz, the president of the school, said in a Jan. 7 letter.
“It’s like a one-two-three punch: the economy tanks, they overbuilt at the peak of the market and their largest donor was hit dramatically by the Madoff scandal,” said Mark Williams, a Boston University senior lecturer who specializes in risk management and has studied Brandeis’s finances.
Among the biggest donors to Brandeis are the philanthropist Carl Shapiro and his wife, Ruth. Carl Shapiro and his family foundation had losses of $545 million in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme, according to the Boston Globe.