Benefactor charged with fraud

Radler Wing of Goodes Hall named after former Hollinger exec

The Radler Wing Goodes Hall is named after David Radler, MBA ’67. Radler has stated he plans to plead guilty to seven counts of fraud.
The Radler Wing Goodes Hall is named after David Radler, MBA ’67. Radler has stated he plans to plead guilty to seven counts of fraud.

When classes resume on Monday, hundreds of Commerce students will pass through the main doors of Goodes Hall.

Immediately to the left of those doors, a wall lined with plaques pays tribute to the benefactors of the Queen’s School of Business. Each plaque on the benefactors’ wall is engraved with the name of a donor. One of the largest plaques bears the name of Mel Goodes, a former pharmaceuticals CEO who gave $10 million to the School of Business. Next to Goodes’ nameplate is another large plaque, engraved with the name of David Radler.

Radler’s name appears more than once in Goodes Hall. At the opposite end of the lobby, there’s another plaque declaring that part of the building as the Radler Wing, to honour the generosity of David Radler, MBA ’67. The same David Radler is due to appear in an Illinois court on Sept. 15 to enter a plea on seven counts of fraud for allegedly fraudulently diverting more than $32 million from the U.S.-based Hollinger newspaper holding company. Radler authorized the U.S. government to disclose in a statement that he is cooperating with the investigation and expects to enter a guilty plea.

The U.S. Department of Justice charges that Radler, along with Hollinger International lawyer Mark Kipnis and the Ravelston Corporation Ltd., allegedly defrauded Hollinger International and its shareholders between January 1999 and May 2001.

Radler was president of Ravelston and chief operating officer of Hollinger International, a company formerly headed by CEO Conrad Black. “To put it simply, the charges announced today are an example of corporate officers conspiring to defraud their shareholders by outright theft,” FBI Special Agent Robert Grant said in a statement last month.

Radler, 63, is based in Vancouver and is a former publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times. He earned both his commerce degree and MBA from Queen’s, and a 2000 issue of the Queen’s Alumni Review stated that Radler was previously a member of the School of Business’ Advisory Board.

According to meeting minutes, former principal William Leggett reported to the University Board of Trustees at a May 2000 session that Radler had donated $1 million to the School of Business.

In April 2002, the Board approved a motion to name the business office wing in Goodes Hall after Radler in honour of his financial contribution to the School of Business.

The Globe and Mail and the Financial Times have both reported that Radler gave close to $200,000 to the University prior to the naming of the Radler Wing, but Vice-Principal (Advancement) George Hood told the Journal he would not discuss how much Radler donated to the University.

“I cannot confirm that, I won’t confirm that,” Hood said.

Hood said the University has been aware of the charges against Radler since they became public last month, but said he won’t comment on whether or not the University may consider renaming the Radler Wing in the future.

“The University fundamentally believes in due process dealing with these matters,” Hood said. “Every citizen is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The process will take some period of time likely before it is resolved in a complete and final manner and until that point is reached the University won’t be either commenting further or making any determination in terms of course of action.” The University’s naming policy states “no naming will be approved or (once approved) continued that will call into serious question the public respect of the University.” Additionally, the University’s gift acceptance policy states the University will not accept gifts “that will compromise its public image or commitment to its academic mission and essential values.”

Hood said he won’t comment on whether the University will rename the Radler Wing if Radler is found guilty of the charges against him.

Hood said the University Board of Trustees, which approves the naming of all facilities on campus, is guided by several policies to ensure it makes ethical decisions. “[The Radler Wing] is named in accordance with the gift acceptance policy of this University,” Hood said.

In March 2000, Radler was also elected by alumni voters to sit on the University Council, a body made up of more than one hundred alumni and University representatives that meets once a year.

“[University Council members] are an advisory board for the university as a whole and act as ambassadors for the university,” said Peggy Watkin, secretary of the Council.

Watkin said Radler’s term will end in 2006, and there are no plans to relieve Radler of his Council membership.

“The only bylaw that we have to revoke someone’s membership is for non-attendance,” Watkin said. “If someone misses three consecutive meetings, they can be asked to step down.” Watkin said Radler attended two out of the five Council meetings that were held during his time as a member.

Some Commerce students told the Journal they believe the administration should consider renaming the Radler Wing if the former executive is found guilty.

“I definitely think it’s something we have to keep in mind, especially since Queen’s has started new initiatives on corporate social responsibility,” said Erica Young, Comm ’08.

“It’s important to ensure that students realize the importance of business ethics.”

Sarah McSherry, Comm ’08, agreed.

“It’s a difficult topic, especially since the School of Business is getting into ethics,” she said.

However, McSherry added she believes it’s important for donors to be credited.

“If he gave $1 million, that’s an extremely generous donation and he deserves to be recognized.”

Andrew Dubowec, Comm ’08, said he isn’t sure what he thinks about Radler, but doesn’t discount a review of the situation.

“If [donors] do some shady things, I’m sure the administration will look into it and that’s warranted.” Dave Forsayeth, Comm ’08, said he doesn’t believe that Radler’s legacy to the school should be affected if the former publisher is found guilty.

“Obviously he felt a connection to the school,” Forsayeth said. “His connection to Queen’s is completely separate.

“Personally, it doesn’t bother me.”

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