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Ex-contractors donate big to SCCC despite county dispute

Captree Commons on the Selden campus of Suffolk

Captree Commons on the Selden campus of Suffolk County Community College on July 30, 2015. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Richard and Mary Morrison, winners of a $162 million Mega-Millions lottery in 2010, may still be embroiled in a nearly $1 million legal battle with Suffolk County over shelters they once ran for the county, but it has not stopped the couple from becoming significant benefactors at Suffolk County Community College.

The Morrisons late last year created an ongoing matching fund to help students with hardships, according to college foundation executive director Sylvia Diaz. The couple's largesse only came to light when Diaz  reported to the college trustees on the foundation's fundraising.

The Morrisons provide a match to any donations the college community itself makes, to help struggling students pay tuition, fees and book expenses, up to $1,000 each. The fund has raise $28,000 to date with the Morrisons supplying $14,000. What is significant about the Morrisons assistance, she said, is that their help is ongoing with no time limit.

A 2005 audit found that Love'M Sheltering Inc., a group of shelter run by the Morrisons owed the county $612,700 in improper charges such as retroactive raises and unfunded pension charges in 2000.

The Morrisons, however, challenged the findings and sued the county. Suffolk won in State Supreme Court in 2008 where interest costs raised the finding to $809,000, but the case is still pending on appeal.

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