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Attorney general sues UCLA professor for alleged misuse of charity money

September 9, 2009 | 12:55 pm

A UCLA professor and heart surgeon is being sued by the state attorney general for allegedly using money from a research charity he founded to fund his business ventures and medical research activities.

California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown filed the lawsuit today against Gerald Buckberg and five officers of the nonprofit L.B. Research Foundation, citing California law that bars a director, officer or member from benefiting from the income or assets of a charity.

The charity’s officers used its funds to finance their own medical research, research by companies they had a financial interest in and to manufacture medical devices they sold, according to the attorney general’s office.

Buckberg founded the foundation in 1997. He primarily funded it himself, although he did receive some donations, according to a statement released by Brown's office.

Brown is seeking to recover more than $500,000, dissolve the charity and prevent the defendants from running a charity until they provide accounting statements to the attorney general’s office.

-- Raja Abdulrahim