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Columbia Law School Uncovers
$3 Million Loss Related to Madoff

By Janet Frankston Lorin

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Columbia University uncovered a $3 million loss related to Bernard Madoff, the school said.

An alumnus, whose name wasn’t made public, made a 1980 gift to Columbia’s law school while retaining the right to decide how the money should be invested, the university said today.

Columbia discovered the loss after a review of its investments. In general, gifts are invested in the university’s “merged endowment pool” overseen by its investment management company, said Robert Hornsby, a spokesman for the university in New York, in an e-mail.

“Only in rare circumstances in the past, and after approval by the university’s gift review committee, has Columbia accepted such a gift to be retained in another form of investment,” Hornsby said.

Columbia hasn’t discovered any money in its merged endowment pool that was invested with J. Ezra Merkin, an alumnus of the university’s Columbia College and an emeritus member of the college’s Board of Visitors, the university said.

Because of ties to Merkin, other schools reported Madoff- related losses, and some received subpoenas from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is investigating Merkin.

Columbia, whose endowment was valued at $7.15 billion on June 30, doesn’t break out the amount devoted to the law school.