Harvard University has fired longtime fencing coach Peter Brand, who was involved in an admissions scandal with the extremely suspect circumstances of his home to the family of a high school junior who was later admitted to Harvard as a fencing recruit
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that an independent investigation initiated by Harvard determined that violated the university's conflict-of-interest policy when he sold his home to wealthy Maryland businessman Jie "Jack" Zhao for $ 989,500 in 2016, or about $ 440,000 more than its assessed value. Zhao's eldest son, Eric, was then attending Harvard and competing with the Crimson fencing team; Zhao's younger son, Edward, was in high school and interested in Harvard's fencing. Zhao purchased Brand's home at the obscene markup in May 201
“An independent investigation of the matter is now complete, and Mr. Brand has been dismissed from his position for violating Harvard's conflict-of-interest policy, ”Bob Scalise, Harvard’s athletic director, said in a letter statement released Tuesday. "Harvard Athletics is committed to maintaining the integrity of our athletics program, and it is our expectation that every coach and staff member lives unambiguously to our policies."
Rachael Dane, a Harvard spokeswoman, said the The Dane said, "This situation involved the actions of one individual who violated a clear and expressly stated policy that all coaches receive and acknowledgment understanding and agree to comply with. , in writing, on an annual basis. ”
Probably the best part of all this was Zhao's explanation for the purchase of the house. Zhao said he felt about Brand's commute to and from Harvard from Needham, so he asked Brand for an estimate of the home's value and bought it. Of course, Brand's estimate has exceeded the value by more than 44 percent, but at least Zhao's largesse saved Brand from making the  12-mile commute to work.
"From my perspective, I'm just making his life better plus making a good investment," he said.
Zhao said he had eyeballed the house inside and out, and thought it was "pretty cozy" and a good deal, even though he didn't have a formal inspection or get it assessed.
"You can ask me why didn't you check the market value of the house? I didn't because I trust him, ”Zhao said. “He gave me the price. . . . I said, 'fine.' ”
Brand coached fencing at Harvard for 20 years, and according to the Globe " was only the team's fourth coach since 1931. "A federal grand jury is reportedly still investigating Zhao's purchase of Brand's home, led by the same Assistant US Attorney who is serving as lead prosecutor in the college admissions bribery scandal centered on the shady dealings or The Edge College & Career Network.