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March 07, 2003 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-07

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Back To Prentis?

Family wins court round to retain cancer center's original name.

ation received a $15 million donation from Compu-
ware Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Peter
Karmanos Jr.
After Karmanos made the donation, the Michigan
eirs of the late philanthropist Meyer L.
Cancer Federation agreed to change its name to the
Prentis have won a key round in their
Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in memory of
three-year legal fight to have the family
Karmanos' late wife, who died of breast cancer in
name restored to Detroit's largest cancer
1989.
center.
However, the actual donations made by
In a preliminary finding handed down in
Karmanos to facilitate the name change may
January, Oakland County Circuit Judge Vesta
surpass that $15 million figure. According
Svenson ruled that the Barbara Ann
to his biography on the Compuware Web
Karmanos Cancer Institute "has breached"
site, Karmanos "made gifts of over $26 mil-
the 1985 agreement entered into by the
lion to establish" the Karmanos Cancer
Meyer and Anna Prentis Family Foundation
Institute.
Inc., the Michigan Cancer Foundation,
The Karmanos Cancer Institute is affiliat-
Wayne State University and the
ed with both the Detroit Medical Center
Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metro-
and the WSU School of Medicine. Kar-
politan Detroit.
manos' Compuware signed a 10-year, $1-
That agreement committed the foundation Meyer Prentis
billion computer operations contract with
to contributing $1.5 million in annual install-
ments to WSU beginning that year. In consideration of the DMC in 1999 despite the DMC's fragile financial
condition.
that contribution, all parties agreed to rename the
Judge Svenson ordered that "the Meyer L. Prentis
Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan
Detroit as the Meyer L. Prentis Comprehensive Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center of Metropolitan
Detroit shall be represented to the public in the same
Center of Metropolitan Detroit.
manner and with the same level of prominence with
In July 1994, Comprehensive Cancer Center of
which it was represented" prior to the May 1995 name
Metropolitan Detroit Inc. merged into the Michigan
Cancer Foundation. The Prentis family has maintained change. She further o _ rdered the Karmanos Cancer
that their original agreement was still binding upon the Institute to establish and maintain the Comprehen-sive
Cancer Center as a separate entity with a separate
new entity.
budget.
The following year, the Michigan Cancer Found-

ALAN ABRAMS
Special to the Jewish News

H

Another Chance

Belt-tightening saves Southfield preschool for the second time.

DIANA LIEBERMAN
Staff Writer/Copy Editor

0

a Al

3/ 7

2003

22

n March 3, the 35 children who attend
preschool at Congregation Shaarey Zedek's
Southfield Beth Hayeled sat on their par-
ents' laps to say their morning prayers.
It's a ceremony that's taken place every morning
since the school opened some 40 years ago. But, in
November, Shaarey Zedek's board of directors voted
to close the Southfield facility at the end of the 2002-
2003 school year, consolidating all preschool activities
at the synagogue's West Bloomfield location.
It was the second time in two years that the future
of Beth Hayeled Southfield was threatened. And, for
the second time in two years, parents of the pre-
school children have succeeded in keeping their

school open.
On Jan. 26, the synagogue's board
of directors voted to overturn its earli-
er decision.
"We're are so thrilled that we will be
able to continue to provide a high-
quality preschool for people in the
Rena Cohen
Southfield and Huntington Woods -
area," said Anita Naftaly of West
Bloomfield, board liaison to the Shaarey Zedek edu-
cation committee. "The parents really reworked the
budget. They demonstrated their love and allegiance
to the school."
Rena Cohen, Beth Hayeled's assistant director,
runs the Southfield branch of the school, with the
help of three teachers and four teaching assistants.
"I had faith it was going to come through," Cohen

Attorneys for the Karmanos Cancer Institute have
filed for leave to appeal the decision. Judge Kirsten
Frank Kelly, presiding judge of the Michigan Court of
Appeals, denied the first of their two applications on
Feb. 25.
"The action is not complete," said Dr. Mark L.
Silverman, the medical doctor who is the attorney for
the Prentis heirs. "There still has to be a bench trial, in
which the bench judge sits as the tryer of fact, of our
request for equity."
The non-profit Prentis Foundation is seeking $1.5
million in damages plus attorney fees and costs.
Silverman, whose office is in Birmingham, said any set-
tlement the Prentis Foundation might receive from the
lawsuit would be put to charitable use. No date has
been set for that phase of the case, said Silverman.
Lawrence G. Campbell, the lead attorney from
Detroit-based Dickinson Wright PLLC, argued the
case on the Karmanos Cancer Institute's behalf By
voicemail, he acknowledged the appeal, but wouldn't
comment on specific strategy.
However, the Jewish News obtained a copy of a Jan.
21 memo by Campbell to the Karmanos Board of
Directors with the heading, "Compliance with the
recent Circuit Court ruling." The memo advises, "It
should be expected that members of the Meyer and
Anna Prentis Family Foundation will likely be vigilant
regarding enforcement of this order. "
Campbell also advised the board that the court "has
not ordered any changes which would affect the
prominence of the Karmanos name."
Repeated attempts to reach Marvin Frenkel of
Huntington Woods, a member of both the Prentis
Foundation and Karmanos Institute boards, were
unsuccessful. Frenkel's wife, Barbara Prentis Frenkel,
one of the four daughters of Meyer L. Prentis, died last
April. She had served as president of the family foun-
dation.
The Prentis family made their first donations to the

said. "We have a very dedicated and committed
group of parents. The board, the rabbis — everybody
was committed to keeping this school open.
"It was just a matter of crunching some numbers."

Cutting Costs

In November, Shaarey Zedek president James Safran
of Southfield had estimated that consolidating the
school's two branches would save about $50,000 a
year in salaries and direct expenses. About 150
preschoolers attend the West Bloomfield branch of
the facility, held at the B'nai Israel Center on
Walnut Lake Road.
To save that amount without closing the
Southfield school, the following steps will be taken:
'Cohen will work three days a week rather than five.
'Staff cuts may be made, with some responsibili-
ties picked up by parent volunteers.
'Tuition costs will go up at both facilities.
'Costs for other offerings, such as the optional
lunch and enrichment programs, also will be raised.
"I don't think we were charging what it really cost,"
Safran said.
'Although the school will not be, strictly speaking,

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