A father who has been ensnared in the University of Southern California college cheating scandal claims that there is a “university-wide” pay-to-play program that rewards big donors at the school, a report said.
Robert Zangrillo — who allegedly conspired with William “Rick” Singer to get his daughter admitted into USC — said that a rampant system of donors, who receive favors for their altruism, undermines the charges against him, according to Bloomberg.
His lawyers cited a list of “special interest” candidates with notes for each student such as “$3 mil to Men’s Golf-Thailand,” “$15 mil” and “previously donated $25K to Heritage Hall.”
These “special interest” candidates had a staggering 80 percent acceptance rate — while the normal acceptance rate is just 11 percent, the lawyers claim.
The school disputed the 80 percent figure.
A spokesperson for USC said in a statement that Zangrillo’s filing was an effort to “divert attention from the criminal fraud for which he has been indicted.”
Zangrillo, a Miami venture capitalist, allegedly paid a $50,000 bribe to USC’s athletics department and made a $200,000 donation to a bogus charity so his daughter Amber would be labeled an athletic recruit.
The investor posted a photo of himself with Gigi and his other daughter, Alexa, in Central Park in 2013, as well as an image from St. Barths celebrating the New Year in 2014 with the sisters.