In little more than 24 hours, Yale went from publicizing a student’s luck in winning a 1965 Thunderbird to quietly distancing itself from the contest.
“This is not a Yale matter,” said Karen Peart, a University spokeswoman.
That comment came after Peart discovered the man who ran the contest and gave away the $20,000 car is a notorious Florida ex-convict whose medical license was revoked after his conviction on federal drug and child pornography charges.
Jeff Seiden MED ’03 won the shiny red convertible after responding months ago to a little-noticed paragraph on the copyright page of a medical textbook.
The paragraph read: “Congratulations for your perseverance. You may win the car on page 46 by writing your name/address on this page and submitting it to the publisher.”
The message had been inserted by Dr. Dale Dubin, who had wanted to have a little bit of fun with the 50th printing of his book, “Rapid Interpretation of EKGs.”
Seiden was one of five people who responded to the message, of the nearly 60,000 people who bought the book. His name was chosen at random to win Dubin’s Thunderbird.
Dubin’s daughter delivered the car Tuesday. Yale officials helped with publicity and allowed the award to be presented on campus. The University allowed Dubin access to the campus, and its public affairs department called local newspapers on Dubin’s behalf.
Dubin had been a wealthy plastic surgeon in Tampa, Fla., until he was accused in the 1980s of giving drugs to a teen-age sexual partner, seducing her into group sex and videotaping the trysts.
Dubin’s medical license was revoked after he pleaded guilty to 22 counts of selling drugs and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison and was released in 1989.
Dubin told The Hartford Courant on Tuesday that he had not planned the Thunderbird giveaway as an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation.
“I’m just trying to live my life,” he said from his home, now in Fort Myers, Fla.
Seiden said he does not yet know if he will keep the car, worth roughly $20,000. “It [Dubin’s past] has nothing to do with me,” he said.
–Associated Press, with additional reporting by Sarah Pearce