Open Letter to the Sohn Conference Foundation

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May 1, 2015

The Sohn Conference Foundation
c/o EisnerAmper
750 Third Ave, 22nd floor
New York, NY 10017

Board of Directors: Douglas Hirsch, Daniel Nir and Evan Sohn

RE: Concerns regarding the Sohn Conference Foundation mission and scheduled speakers at the 20th Annual Sohn Investment Conference

To the Board:

We write to raise our serious concerns regarding the mission of the Sohn Conference Foundation and the scheduled speakers at the 20th Anniversary Sohn Investment Conference.

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There are profound conflicts between the admirable and unimpeachable goals of the Foundation and the work and investments of several billionaire hedge fund managers scheduled to speak next week.

We urge you to cancel the presentations of Larry Robbins, David Tepper, William Ackman, Leon Cooperman and David Einhorn at the 2015 Sohn Investment Conference because of their deep involvement in investment and lobbying efforts that have increased public exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, decreased public access to affordable, quality health care and diminished public resources for scientific research.

The Sohn Conference Foundation is dedicated to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer, supporting cutting-edge medical research, state-of-the-art research equipment, and innovative programs to ensure children with cancer survive and thrive.

The work and investments of the following five speakers at next week’s conference are in direct conflict with each aspect of the Foundation’s work:

Larry Robbins and his hedge fund have made large investments in for-profit hospital chains, insurance companies and related HMOs, pushing for more profit which will likely lead to less resources for patient care from front-line pediatric cancer care providers

David Tepper and his hedge fund have made large investments in the for-profit hospital chain HCA, which has a track record of fraud and mismanagement that can damage health care access and quality for cancer patients

William Ackman and his hedge fund are leaders of the Managed Funds Association lobbying group, which has successfully blocked legislation in Congress that would have expanded access to health care for working and low-income Americans and increased and funding for basic and advanced scientific research

William Ackman and Larry Robbins and their hedge funds have made large-scale investments in fast food and agricultural chemical businesses that experts say contribute to the incidence of cancer in youth and adults 

Leon Cooperman and his hedge fund have made large investments in a company engaged in large-scale hydrofracking that has exposed Pennsylvania youth and adults to dangerous carcinogenic chemicals through the improper injection of fracking waste into local watersheds

David Einhorn and his hedge fund own millions of shares in an energy firm repeatedly cited for polluting West Virginia waters with carcinogenic chemicals, while lobbying successfully against laws and regulations that would have increased protections for the public against exposure to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. 

We expect that you will take these concerns seriously, and we are available to meet with you to discuss the details of these conflicts directly.  

Thank you for your consideration, and thank you for your dedication and leadership in the field of pediatric cancer treatment, care and research.

Yours very truly, 

Zakiyah Ansari
Alliance for Quality Education

Jennifer Flynn
VOCAL-New York

Michael Kink
Strong Economy For All Coalition

Karen Scharff
Citizen Action of New York

Jonathan Westin
New York Communities for Change

On behalf of the Hedge Clippers

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