UNLV received a secret donation of $25 million from a Las Vegas casino builder and movie studio owner.
The estate of Kirk Kerkorian anonymously donated the funds to the Nevada university’s medical school following his death in 2015, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday.
Kerkorian built the original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and owned the MGM movie studio. Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at about $16 billion in 2008.
The secret donor’s name leaked after UNLV administrative assistants used the check to make a flyer touting the donation in 2017 and unredacted copies were widely distributed.
Secret donations are put into a computer system with access to only a few staff, UNLV foundation Chief Financial Officer Tiffany Vickers said.
“That was a highly confidential donation,” she said.
A person who provided a copy of the check to the Review-Journal requested anonymity for fear of losing employment at the university.
Anthony Mandekic, the Kerkorian estate executor, was upset to learn of the disclosure and said a letter with the donation specifically directed that the donor be anonymous. He declined to say whether the estate would demand that the money be returned.
“People want to be anonymous for a reason,” Mandekic said. “It should be honored. They’re giving a substantial amount of money.”