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FAMU Says Philanthropic Contribution is Legit

Shortly after Florida A&M University — a historically Black university — announced last weekend that entrepreneur Gregory Gerami donated $237.75 million to the university to support student success initiatives and athletics, many who were suspicious took to social media to express their skepticism.

Gerami, a Texas hemp farmer and entrepreneur who is the chief executive officer of the Issac Batterson 7th Family Trust is an obscure figure in the philanthropic world. Many had not heard of him and then there was the chatter about the $95 million philanthropic commitment that he made to Coastal Carolina University that abruptly fell through.

“If (scratch that, WHEN) this turns out to be a scam, the entire university leadership should resign for being had by an obvious unwell conman,” wrote one individual on social media. “How FAMU allowed this man to speak to its graduates is breathtaking. It took me 15 minutes to see that this is FUGAZI. How does an entire University Advancement office allow this to happen? How does university leadership allow this happen?”Gregory GeramiGregory Gerami

The criticisms continued to pour in, with others wondering if Gerami — who delivered a keynote address at FAMU’s graduation on Saturday — was guilty of pulling a fast one over on university officials.

The noise grew so loud by Sunday evening, that FAMU officials had no other choice but to respond.

“While Florida A&M University (FAMU) is still extremely excited about Mr. Gregory Gerami’s historic announcement yesterday of the Isaac Batterson Family 7th Trust, we are fully aware of the skepticism that sometimes comes with such a large gift,” the university said in a statement.  “As expected, some individuals in the public are and will continue researching Mr. Gerami. Please know that FAMU has done its due diligence when it comes to this matter. Additionally, Mr. Gerami has and continues to do his own due diligence on things that have been and are happening at FAMU.”

University officials said that a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prevents officials from disclosing many details, Gerami, who has no particular connection to FAMU and did not graduate from college, “transferred $237,750,000 worth of stocks into our account last month,” adding that the $237,750,000 stock transfer “was received in the same manner in which we have accepted all other stocks donated to the University through the FAMU Foundation Inc. As with any non-cash gift received, such as cryptocurrency, real estate, and stocks, it will be converted to cash and recorded appropriately.”

Still, those reassurances have done little to quell concerns that some allege Gerami is a fraud who managed to dupe the leadership at one of the nation’s most recognized HBCUs.

“FAMU has become like a family to our trust, our company and to me,” Gerami said in a statement. “Our morals and our mission are in line with FAMU and FAMU’s mission. It’s also about making sure that we set FAMU on the path to being the top HBCU in this country.”


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