Saturday, October 31, 2009

Payola. Kickback. Graft.

Call it what you want, but by any name it’s seedy and corrupt.

In 1997/98 when the University of Wisconsin, Madisons’s NIH primate center acting-director Joseph Kemnitz successfully disposed of the Vilas monkeys and destroyed the monkey house, thereby reducing the likelihood of the public remembering the UW primate center’s and NIH’s apparent collusion to get rid of the monkeys the university had promised not to torture, but did, he was rewarded with the Primate Center Directorship. Insiders felt he was incompetent and not up to the job, but his success at sweeping the scandal under the rug and out of sight seems to have been more important to those in power than good science or administrative acumen.

When the university learned that a public education center was going to be installed next door to the primate center, they pressured the property owner, Roger Charly (that's him in front of one of his stores) owner of Budget Bicycle and Machinery Row Bicycles, to break his contract with us. The law firm they turned to for help was Foley & Lardner.

We will probably never know for sure, but it is interesting to wonder just how nervous NIH was over the possibility of its primate experimentation program being nationally showcased. One potential measure of NIH’s gratitude for Foley & Lardner’s services is the recently announced $208 million NIH contract they were just awarded.

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