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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Why Should Buildings Be Named for the Rich?

June 08, 2003

Re "UCI Sets Sights on Big Donors," May 19:

So the UC Regents want a new $50-million medical center at UCI. Where to find the cash? One solution. Get the rich to pony up. Of course, there's a tit-for-tat. The donor gets her or his name on the building.

If you take a walk around Chapman University, you will see an imposing building called the Argyros Forum. Named after George Argyros. Who is George Argyros? A Chapman alumnus. A billionaire. Very politically connected. The current ambassador to Spain. And a man whose company settled a $1.5-million consumer fraud lawsuit after he was accused of wrongly keeping tenants' security deposits. But years from now, no one will recall the class-action suit thousands of his former tenants won. They will only know that Argyros has something to do with Chapman. Chapman is a private institution. But UCI is public. And it is not only demeaning for the regents to promise the tarnished rich a slice of immortality and respectability. It is also unethical.

I know how to get $50 million. I know a clean way to do it. Hold a lottery, the prize to be a big cash award plus the winner's name on the building. Everyone who enters the lottery would have a crack at immortality.

Dale Andersen

Ladera Ranch

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