On Friday, October 19, after being found guilty by the federal court for misusing government funds intended for HIV/AIDS research granted to the College by the National Institute of Health, Weill Cornell Medical College settled with the government and a whistleblower in the amount of $1.6 million. A former Cornell research fellow, Dr. Daniel Feldman, brought on allegations in 2003 that the College researchers assigned to the HIV/AIDS research role were in actuality spending less than half of their time studying the topic that they received federal funds for. Even though the College’s application for the federal grant stated that, “the majority of [the fellows’] clinical work will be with persons with HIV infection,” it turns out that only 3 of the 163 patients that the hospital fellows worked with were HIV-positive.
An appeal was filed by the University in 2010, but was denied in federal appeals court. The University was then ordered to pay more than $800,000 in damages. A member of the University made a statement announcing that the University, although displeased with the result, will not appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Following the case’s 9 long years of litigation, Cornell University paid the government an amount equaling three times the value of the total amount of funds it received. In addition, the University paid their counsel roughly $740,000.
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