Report: Gang figures gave $200K to UCLA after getting transplants
Published: Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 8:56 p.m.
LOS ANGELES - A Japanese gang boss and another alleged gangster who had liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center each donated $100,000 to the hospital soon after their surgeries, according to a published report.
The donations came from two of four Japanese gang figures who received liver transplants at a time when several hundred Los Angeles-area patients died while awaiting transplants, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper published a story Thursday about the liver transplants and posted a separate story on its Web site late Friday discussing the donations.
According to the Times, a donation of $100,000 came from Tadamasa Goto, 65, who leads a gang called the Goto-gumi.
A plaque on an entryway to a surgery office in the hospital reads, "In grateful recognition of the Goto Research Fund established through the generosity of Mr. Tadamasa Goto,'' the Times reported.
UCLA confirmed the amount of the donation and also acknowledged it received a separate $100,000 donation from another man who the Times said had suspected gang affiliations. He donated in 2002, the year of his transplant. The Times did not name that man because it was unable to reach him or his attorney.
The Times' original story cited several people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Goto had been barred from entering the United States because of his criminal history but with help from the FBI, he obtained a visa in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI's Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington, told the Times. The FBI did not help Goto arrange his surgery with UCLA.
The surgeries were performed between 2000 and 2004, and in each of those years more than 100 patients died awaiting liver transplants in the greater Los Angeles region, according to the Times.
In the year of Goto's transplant, 186 patients who needed new livers died while waiting for the operation in the greater Los Angeles region, according to the Times.
UCLA spokeswoman Dale Tate said the university had "no reason to question'' the source of the donations.
Both sums went to the surgery department's discretionary fund and were used to support research and education for the liver transplant program.
When asked if the donations influenced the men's transplants, Tate said: "Absolutely not.''
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