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FAMU questions legitimacy of historic $237 million donation


FAMU

Florida A&M University alumni are questioning the legitimacy of a record-setting $237 million donation. FAMU received the generous gift from Gregory Gerami, founder and CEO of Batterson Farms Corp.

Gerami spent several days on the campus of his alma mater before the school announced the $237 million gift from the little-known entrepreneur.

The $237 million is the largest single donation in FAMU’s history and the largest individual gift ever for a historically Black college or university.

The money was transferred in stocks from the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust.

However, FAMU alumni questioned the source of the donation.

There was so much online chatter about the legitimacy of the donation, that FAMU Vice Chair Deveron Gibbons had to issue a statement.

Gibbons called for an emergency meeting with the board to discuss the historic donation.

Gerami is a 30-year-old hemp farmer whose company employs “a few full-time administrators in a workforce of 7,000 contract employees.”

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However, the company has no employees listed on LinkedIn or any other social media site.

According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Kimberly Abbott was listed as co-CEO and vice chair of Batterson Farms Corp. in the past.

But when asked if she worked at Batterson Farms, Abbott said, “I never did.”

Abbott says she provided advice and heard promises from Gerami that never materialized, according to the newspaper outlet.

“I’ve never received a dime from him or anything,” she told the Democrat. “Just a slew of phone calls. But that’s about it.”

Gerami told The Sun News in a phone call that he doesn’t understand the criticism of his 9-figure donation to FAMU.

“The stocks have been held by the university for over a month now, so I don’t know where the confusion or the skepticism would be since it’s already in a financial account with the university,” Gerami told the Democrat.

Gerami insists everything is legit. But a $95 million donation he pledged to South Carolina’s Coastal Carolina University fell through in 2023.

The Sun News found a GoFundMe that was created to raise money for medical expenses for his adopted mother and funeral expenses for his adopted brother.

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At the time of his multi-million donation to CCU, Gerami was living with his wife at his adopted mother’s house.

The Arlington, Texas home was appraised at $176,000, according to online property records.

On Wednesday, a FAMU spokesperson invited the Democrat to meet with Gerami and officials at the university’s foundation office. But at the last minute, a FAMU official said the meeting was canceled because “something came up.”

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