Wonder where the money for the Bronfman Science Center came from? Farm subsidies.

Billionaires Edgar Bronfman Sr. and Leonard Lauder are among the New York City-based “farmers” who have received federal farm subsidies in the past several years, according to a new set of data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Between 2003 and 2005, Mr. Bronfman received $17,455 in subsidies for his farm in Virginia’s Albemarle County, and Mr. Lauder received $3,015.58 between 2003 and 2004 through his share of an organic farm in Idaho, the data show. Mr. Lauder no longer owns shares of the farm and has stopped receiving subsidies, aides said. Messages left at Mr. Bronfman’s office were not returned.

Until last year, the names of Messrs. Bronfman and Lauder were concealed behind farming companies and other ownership structures, but on a new set of records the USDA connects each owner of a company to the subsidies they received. Officials at a public interest group, Environmental Working Group, made the records available on its Web site this morning.

“It shows that we have a farm subsidy program that doesn’t have much to do with keeping farmers on the land,” the president of the group, Ken Cook, said. “They’ve gotten the money from you and me in the name of saving family farms and it’s actually being used by big companies to gobble up the farms around them.”

And to endow nice buildings at Williams!

Bronfman was originally class of 1950, but I do not think that he ever graduated. No worries! Once an Eph, always an Eph. Does anyone know why Bronfman didn’t graduate from Williams? Perhaps if he had, more of his fortune would have headed are way.

Of course, the real money for the Science Center comes from the Seagram fortune. Nothing wrong with bootlegging money, of course!

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