Thursday, July 16, 2020

"The true story of the heartthrob prince of Qatar and his time at USC"

Excerpts from a long salacious article by the LA Times:

His college years in L.A. were a closed chapter in a colorful life, and they probably would have stayed that way were it not for a series of indictments last year by federal prosecutors in Boston. The charges in the college admissions scandal did not involve [the prince] or his family, but the high-profile prosecution, with its allegations of wealthy parents scheming to get underqualified offspring into USC and other universities prompted some who knew the prince to reconsider the circumstances of his education. Shortly thereafter, The Times received a tip to look into his college degree.

...

The longer the prince stayed in L.A., the more money the grande dame hotel at the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo took in.

One way to keep [him] and his entourage under the Beverly Wilshire’s roof was to make sure he remained a student.

When [the prince] was in his second year of community college, . . . a hotel executive in charge of international business, reached out to UCLA.

...

Around the same time, USC began pursuing a significant grant from the Qatar Foundation for the university’s marine research center on Catalina Island.

...

When the final paper was due, [the prince] asked for an extension and the adjunct granted it, as he said he often did for students. A chauffeur later delivered the paper in a bag that also contained a Rolex.

Stunned, the adjunct said he went to the Beverly Wilshire and returned the watch[]

The next year, the same driver delivered the Rolex again; this time, the prince refused to take it back.

The adjunct researched selling the watch to benefit USC, but found that it was already registered in his name with Rolex. Instead, he wrote a check to the university for its estimated value, $12,500. USC confirmed his account.

The adjunct has never worn the watch, he said. It remains in a drawer in his home.

...

The summer before [the prince]’s senior year at USC, a member of his entourage took to Instagram to praise the prince as “the one who saved my life.”[]

[The member of the entourage] was a competitive bodybuilder from Lebanon nicknamed “the Puma.”[]

By 2014, [the bodybuilder] needed a kidney transplant[]

In the U.S., transplants are heavily regulated and patients can spend years on waiting lists[]

A man from Egypt came to L.A. and moved into the Beverly Wilshire. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of his kidneys was transplanted into the bodybuilder.

...

The four years [the prince] spent in L.A. were a payday for many. But not USC. []

The grant that USC sought for the Catalina Island marine center never materialized.

Still, [the prince's parents] were expected to honor the campus with their presence at their son’s 2015 commencement, according to faculty members and employees of the prince.

A section of Shrine Auditorium had been reserved for the royals, and a golf cart designated to squire them across campus.

None of the[m] showed, not even the prince. The professors on the Shrine stage were left staring out at empty seats.