This is an updated version with new information added 4/9/18
We have hit a veritable stone wall when it comes to shining light on the new Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) at Meridian.
The GUARDIAN has raised questions, but can’t get answers to some serious finance issues. The latest one to cross our desk involves “laundering” scholarship donations through Idaho State University’s FOUNDATION.
At first blush it would seem to be a good move to solicit donations for an ISU medical school. The problem is the school is a private for-profit business venture of entrepreneur Dan Burrell who will be the ultimate beneficiary of the funds designated as “scholarship” money. Our rhetorical question is this: “Why not just donate to ICOM?” ICOM is registered with the Idaho Secretary of State, but also as “Idaho Medical Education, LLC” in Deleware. The principal office is in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Burrell also recently won city approval to build apartments near his private school to offer prospective students “housing options.”
Meridian City Council previously approved and sent a letter to the Wisconsin Finance Authority “approving” the ICOM finance plan to borrow $55 or $63 million which Wisconsin raises through sale of municipal bonds for the private school. The GUARDIAN was denied access to whatever the City of Meridian approved because it was “attorney-client” information. Meridian also obligated $200,000 over four years as cash payment to ICOM.
A serious Idaho Constitutional question also arises over Meridian offering up the $50,000 to the private ICOM venture. Article XII, Sec. 4 of the Idaho Constitution reads:
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS NOT TO LOAN CREDIT. No county, town, city, or other municipal corporation, by vote of its citizens or otherwise, shall ever become a stockholder in any joint stock company, corporation or association whatever, or raise money for, or make donation or loan its credit to, or in aid of, any such company or association: provided, that cities and towns may contract indebtedness for school, water, sanitary and illuminating purposes: provided, that any city or town contracting such indebtedness shall own its just proportion of the property thus created and receive from any income arising therefrom, its proportion to the whole amount so invested.
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