Famous businessman-turned-philanthropist Michael G. DeGroote has been identified as part of an investigation by the CBC and the Globe and Mail. In a promo ahead of the airing of an episode of CBC’s the fifth estate, DeGroote is said to have been involved in a casino venture in the Caribbean that led to, among other things, the “involvement of a leading Mafia godfather.”
DeGroote, one of Canada’s wealthiest businessmen, is the most generous donor in McMaster history. In recognition of his donations, he is the namesake of various portions of the university, including the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, the DeGroote School of Business (at two campuses), and the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery. Most recently, he surprised attendees at the 2014 medical school graduation with a $50 million donation. Previously, in 2003 he gave a record-breaking $105 million to the university.
In June 2014, the Hamilton Spectator reported that DeGroote was involved in a lawsuit regarding Ontario-made gambling equipment and its use in casinos in the Caribbean.
In an official statement on Jan. 23, McMaster University affirmed its commitment to the famous donor.
“Michael G. DeGroote is a thoughtful, visionary and very generous man and supporter of McMaster University over the past 30 years. We are fortunate that he shares our mission to grow McMaster’s international distinction as one of the world’s leading medical schools and research universities. He is a self-made man who has achieved tremendous business success and who firmly believes it is his duty to give back and to help people and organizations reach their full potential.”
The Globe and Mail released its version of the story on Jan. 23. The episode of the fifth estate entitled “The Mob and Michael DeGroote” is set to air at 9 p.m. on CBC.