SALT LAKE CITY, May 12, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Nearly a month after the firing of Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO Dr. Mary Beckerle — who was subsequently rehired after worldwide headlines and local protests — businessman/philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. has taken to the airwaves and print advertising to blame University of Utah Health Science officials for mismanagement of funds, and for decisions that caused global bad publicity.
Huntsman urged readers of the two-page ad, published in Salt Lake City’s two largest daily papers, to focus on the good the Huntsman Cancer Institute has done, saying the “unnecessary and distracting actions of the past several weeks — instigated by the University of Utah Health Sciences — must not impede our lifesaving work.”
The ad also stated that the Huntsman family, along with nearly a million other donors, has given the institute $534 million since 1995.
The ad also states that the Huntsman Cancer Institute has discovered more genes for inherited cancers than any other cancer center. The ad says the University owes the institute $54 million in unpaid funds related to a 2013 agreement that required the university to begin paying operating expenses.
Speaking Friday to KSL Radio host Doug Wright, Huntsman said the U has paid nothing toward operating expenses of the institute. The 2013 agreement called for a minimum of $13.5 million per year, Huntsman said.
The University of Utah, in a prepared statement, declined to comment on the advertisement.
“We will work with key stakeholders to strike a balance between Huntsman Cancer Institute’s autonomy as a self-directed research institute and its collaboration and integration with our entire University health system,” the statement said. “We will continue to keep forefront in our mind our mission of caring for patients and seeking a cure for cancer, a vision we share with the Huntsman family.”
The University of Utah announced on Wednesday that it will hire an independent auditor to determine the truth of issues raised by Huntsman, including his belief that funds donated for the Huntsman Institute have been appropriated for use to benefit the larger university.