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UConn donor wants $3 million back, unhappy with AD

I’ve heard of demanding a refund for bad satellite service, but this is pretty amazing.

Robert G. Burton, a major UConn donor, wrote a six-page letter to university athletic director Jeff Hathaway demanding the return of $3 million in gifts and removal of Burton’s name from the Burton Family Football Complex on UConn’s campus. Burton is the CEO of the Greenwich-based Burton Capital Management, LLC.

The letter also lambasted Hathaway for, among other differences, the hire of Paul Pasqualoni.

“The primary reason (former coach) Randy (Edsall) took another job is because he couldn’t work with you,” Burton wrote. “You are not qualified to be a Division I AD and I would have fired you a long time ago. You do not have the skills to manage and cultivate new donors.”

At least the letter wasn’t in all caps.

Burton complained that he was not “kept in the loop” in the hiring process because he wanted to “provide insight”. He also claimed it wasn’t until after Pasqualoni was hired that he was informed of the decision.

“I was not looking for veto power,” Burton said. “Your lack of response on either of these requests tells me that you do not respect my point of view or value my opinion.”

Burton has also threatened to cut off future funding of the program. In all, Burton has donated over $7 million to UConn.

As one would imagine, UConn tried to temper the situation in a statement that read:

“Many people, including Mr. Burton, shared their ideas about potential candidates with us. UConn’s donors represent a vital aspect of the university and we respect and appreciate their thoughts and views on various issues.

“In keeping with that, Jeffrey Hathaway did receive and acknowledge Mr. Burton’s advice from the beginning of the search and shared with the Burton family the decision making process and the eventual choice.”

Burton sounds like the guy who thinks because he has a large bank account he’s a capable athletic director, but considering the amount of money he’s throwing into the program, it would behoove Hathaway and the university to make sure Burton at least feels included.

Remember those trophies you got in little league baseball just for being a part of the team so you would feel important? Maybe UConn can do something like that.

(Special thank you: The Day of New London)