Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Barry Sherman’s donations sometimes used to wield political influence

Barry Sherman was the philanthropist who once yanked back more than $25 million in promised donations — to a university, two hospitals and an aid group — because he was unhappy with decisions made on Parliament Hill.

The founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex, who died at 75 on Dec. 15, was notably generous throughout his lifetime, donating millions of dollars and plenty of time to charities, research and initiatives.

He also used that donation power as a political tool.

A police investigation continues into the deaths of Sherman and his 70-year-old wife, Honey, after they were found in their North York mansion this month. Their cause of death was ruled to be ligature neck compression.

In 1999, Sherman reneged on a $20 million gift to the University of Toronto for its centre for cellular and molecular biology research, giving $1 million instead. He also pulled back $5 million to Mount Sinai Hospital, $225,000 to Princess Margaret Hospital and half of Apotex’s United Way contributions.

He rescinded those donations because Jean Chrétien’s government moved to apply retroactive regulations on the drug industry — which Sherman told the Star damaged Apotex’s earning potential. He added that the policy was unlikely to change “unless we get a new prime minister.”  (more...)


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