Brown University is not happy that the college application of John F. Kennedy Jr. is up for sale online for $85,000, saying it was stolen and the school wants it back.
"We were surprised and concerned to see a student's confidential records not only being made public, but being auctioned for sale. Student records contain confidential information and are the property of the university," Brown spokesman Brian Clark said. "We are taking every step possible to recover the documents. Legal counsel has reached out to the auction site to make clear that these records were stolen from Brown and remain the property of the university."
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The website MomentsInTime.com is selling a collection of documents related to Kennedy's time at Brown, including his application and letters from his mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to a Brown staffer discussing her son's time at the school.
Website operator Gary Zimet told media outlets that the documents originally came from a Brown administrator, whose name he didn't know, and that they had been headed for the dump when they were discovered.
He told The Providence Journal a person hired to clean out a home in East Hampton, New York, found them, and Zimet got them through an intermediary about a week ago. He said he heard from Brown and referred the university to his lawyer, adding that the item will be sold to anyone who meets his price.
"It would be nice if Brown ended up buying" the documents, Zimet told Brown's student newspaper, The Brown Daily Herald .
Kennedy graduated from Brown in 1983. He died in a plane crash in 1999 at the age of 38.
Clark said Friday that the school would not cede ownership of such documents unless a court order orders it to or a student directs it. He said they are investigating the circumstances of how and when the documents were taken.
"We are working to identify a specific timeline," Clark said. "Early indications are that the files were stolen years ago."