Newport Beach charity at center of admissions scandal donated $325,000 to Chapman

Chapman is among multiple private universities that have received donations from the Key Worldwide Foundation, a purported charity at the center of the nationwide college admissions scandal that involves parents paying for admission slots at prestigious universities and to falsify SAT scores.

Among those indicted is David Sidoo, the parent of a former Chapman student, who paid $100,000 for an individual whose name is redacted in court documents to take his older son’s SAT for him in 2011. A copy of the score was sent to a Chapman administrator via email, according to a March 5 indictment. Colleges typically require an official report to be sent directly from The College Board, which administers the SAT, according to The Princeton Review.

Sidoo’s son transferred from Chapman in 2014, according to the Chapman Registrar’s Office.

Chapman received $175,000 from Key Worldwide in 2015 and $150,000 in 2016, according to tax documents reviewed by The Panther.

The charity was established by William “Rick” Singer, a Newport Beach resident who managed and profited from the nationwide college admissions scheme. He owned college counseling business Edge College and Career Network, also known as “The Key.”

Key Worldwide was used to funnel bribes from parents to coaches, athletic officials and other key figures at universities like the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California (USC), according to federal prosecutors. The bribes were typically disguised as donations to the charity.

Singer has been cooperating with federal investigators since September 2018, according to the New York Times, helping bring down his own criminal venture by wearing a wire for the F.B.I. He pleaded guilty to four charges, which included money laundering and obstruction of justice, in federal court in Boston March 12.

In a statement provided to The Panther March 13, Chapman President Daniele Struppa said that Chapman intends to conduct an “in depth” review of its relationship with Key Worldwide.

“Chapman University, like all great institutions, routinely receives funds from foundations and any irregularities in the gifts from the Key Worldwide Foundation, should they exist, were and are totally unknown to us,” the statement said.

Yesterday, more than 50 people were charged in an expansive federal indictment that accused wealthy parents of paying – and college coaches and officials of accepting – bribes in the hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to guarantee children spots at prestigious universities. The admission slots were often ones reserved for athletic recruits.

Some of the most well-known names in the indictment, actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 for their two daughters to be accepted as members of USC’s crew team – despite the fact that neither woman participated in the sport, according to prosecutors.

Loughlin surrendered to F.B.I. agents at 8:30 a.m. today in Los Angeles, according to The New York Times, and Giannulli was released on $1 million bail after his arrest March 12.

Felicity Huffman, another prominent name in the indictment who is accused of paying $15,000 to get her daughter extra time to take the SAT, toured Chapman in December 2017 and tweeted about her visit.

“Like the standards these young people are keeping,” she wrote, referring to a sign about “The Office” character Michael Scott.

A March 12 statement Struppa provided to The Panther said that Chapman is cooperating with the Department of Justice, but that the university has not been informed of any wrongdoing on its part.

“Chapman prides itself on an open and fair admission process,” the statement said.