UCLA doctor settles with AG's office

Kathy Woods Dec. 7, 2009, 12:50pm

Jerry Brown (D)

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-Attorney General Jerry Brown has reached a settlement with a UCLA professor that puts an end to charitable funds being used for personal business ventures.

The attorney general reached a settlement with Professor Gerald Buckberg, a physician, and five officers of the non-profit L.B. Research and Education Foundation.

"Professor Buckberg and his associates used the charity as a personal bank account to finance their research and business ventures," Brown said. "This self-dealing is a clear breach of their fiduciary duties."

Buckberg must return $140,000 in diverted funds to the charity, the attorney general said.

Under California law, "no part of a charitable organization's income or assets may inure to the benefit of any director, officer, member or private person."

Buckberg founded the research center in 1997 for the purpose of helping people who suffer from physical and mental disabilities. He has served as the charity's director, chief executive officer, and manager.

Buckberg and the foundation have admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

The AG's investigation was launched in 2007. It revealed that from the beginning donations to the foundation, which was run primarily by Buckberg, have been used to fund his research and development projects as well as the research of his colleagues and friends.

The settlement prohibits Buckberg from using grants or other funding to directly or indirectly support research by L.B.'s officers and directors. It also requires L.B. to report any grant awards in the future to Brown's office.

Brown's office will be reimbursed for its legal fees under the settlement, his office said in a statement. The AG's office filed a lawsuit in the case in September.

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