For Worcester Polytechnic Institute, it was a singular embarrassment when it emerged last month that a post-divorce lawsuit featuring the school’s top benefactor contained claims by his ex-wife that his charitable gifts included money he illegally hid from her.
But that ugly story has taken a turn toward the bizarre.
A review of court cases in three states reveals significantly more: a dysfunctional wealthy family engaged in a venomous fight in which retired businessman and WPI donor Robert Foisie is accused by family members of having tried to hire a hit man to kill one of his adult children.
Foisie, 82, offered a former East Boston man a $20,000 down payment to murder his son or find someone else to do the job, according to allegations in a legal petition by his children that reached Nevada’s highest court. Foisie did so, legal filings allege, because he was angry that his son and daughter removed him as manager of a family investment company.
The children and their mother have made other dramatic allegations about Foisie, a West Hartford native, in multiple lawsuits in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Nevada. Among them: He’s being investigated by the FBI for wire fraud, he’s negotiating with the IRS over tax evasion, and he stashed tens of millions of dollars abroad to prevent his ex-wife from getting the money.