In a scandal reminiscent of the Varsity Blues investigation, a Harvard University fencing coach and the parent of a Harvard student have both been arrested and charged with bribery. As our readers may remember, Harvard’s former fencing coach, Peter Brand, was fired by the university back in 2019 after a Boston Globe article revealed that the coach sold his home for a price well above market — by hundreds of thousands of dollars above market in fact. And why would someone pay hundreds of thousands of dollars above market for a house? It wasn’t because they had such a great indoor lap pool, no. Nor was it because they had stunning quartz countertops. No, in this case, a man, Jie “Jack” Zhao, paid well above the market price to bribe the fencing coach who owned the home to flag his two sons as recruited fencers at Harvard.
As Ema R. Schumer — whom we believe to be the niece of New York Senator Chuck Schumer, which would make for not the least bit of irony — reports for The Harvard Crimson in a piece entitled “Feds. Charge Former Harvard Fencing Coach, Parent With Bribery,” “Brand and Zhao will both make appearances in federal court, in Boston and Greenbelt, Md., respectively. In an emailed statement, Zhao’s attorney Bill Weinreb wrote that Zhao will fight the charges in court. ‘Jack Zhao’s children were academic stars in high school and internationally competitive fencers who obtained admission to Harvard on their own merit,’ he wrote. ‘Both of them fenced for Harvard at the Division One level throughout their college careers. Mr. Zhao adamantly denies these charges and will vigorously contest them in court.'”
Uh huh. Oy vey. We suspect he’ll be vigorously denying these charges until he accepts a plea deal — if indeed he’s offered one. Stay tuned for new developments in the cases against the former Harvard fencing coach and a parent charged with bribery!
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