A formerly wealthy California couple who pledged $5 million to construct a new art building for the Kansas City Art Institute is now broke, and they say they have no money for the outstanding donation, reported the Kansas City Star.
But the building has already been built, their name branded onto the facade — and the institute is suing them for the $4 million they still owe.
The institute claims it based the decision to build the $7 million on the money the Dodge’s contractually pledged. “The contribution was vital to the construction of a student art facilities building,” the lawsuit reads.
It is rare for an organization to publicly pursue donors in this situation, according to an editor at the Chronicle for Philanthropy, Andrew Mytelka. “I think it’s a deterrent to future donors,” he told the Kansas City Star.
The couple not only has a long history of major philanthropy to colleges and universities, but is also a major donor to the California Republican Party.
The couple amassed millions after the husband, Lawrence Dodge, founded American Sterling Bank and American Sterling Insurance Company in the 1970s.
But financial troubles at the bank beginning in the mid-2000s led to its seizure, after which Metcalf Bank bought it. But because of a mortgage the Dodges took out to try to save the bank, their mansion will be auctioned off next month.
Kristina Dodge claims they are now selling items on eBay for money.
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