Buckberg, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, described Brown's lawsuit as “persecution by the state of California on behalf of the university.” In 2003, L.B. Research donated $1 million to the school to endow a chair in cardiothoracic surgery and later sued the school for breach of contract over the use of the gift. That case remains pending.
UCLA declined to comment for this story but in a previous statement said the school concluded that Buckberg “schemed to appoint himself to the chair” and filed a countersuit and a complaint with Brown's office.
Buckberg, though, describes that complaint as an attempt to “discredit and bankrupt the foundation on the basis of technicalities.” Buckberg did not admit any liability or wrongdoing in the agreement with the attorney general, and his letter stresses that he agreed to the resolution only to avoid depleting the organizations fund to pay for further legal fees.
The letter defends specific grants targeted by Brown's lawsuit, including $120,000 that went toward creating a DVD called “The Helical Heart” by a for-profit company owned by Buckberg and a cousin. Buckberg counters that the DVD has been “a tremendous educational tool in explaining the anatomy and functioning of the heart,” distributed at no cost to anatomists and universities' cardiac surgery departments.
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