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Pope family feuds

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh’s wealthy Pope family, known for its support of conservative causes, finds itself embroiled in internal and external controversy.

Following the death of John W. Pope Jr., his siblings Art and Amanda transferred about $100 million in stock from his personal trust to the family’s foundation, a move they say was dictated by the terms of the trust and their role as their brother’s trustees, The News & Observer reported Nov. 15.

The move prohibited John Pope’s widow, Jane Pope, a Democrat and financial supporter of Democratic candidates, from inheriting about $50 million in stock from the estate.

She has since appealed to the courts for a ruling, which has not yet been made.

The family also is the focus of a campus protest at UNC-Chapel Hill arising from the school’s proposal that the Pope Foundation fund the development and possible endowment of a Western Cultures minor at the school, The News & Observer reported Nov. 16.

The proposal, in response to overtures from the Pope Foundation, calls for it to provide start-up funds of $500,000 to $600,000 a year for five years, after which it could choose to fund an endowment with another $12 million or more.

Students and faculty opposing the plan say accepting money from the conservative foundation, which has criticized the university openly in the past, would “compromise its academic integrity.”

The foundation has not yet accepted or declined the university’s proposal.

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