BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Admitted college admissions fraudster William “Rick” Singer bragged on social media about having helped get Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist John Doerr’s daughter into an Ivy League school. A Hillsborough real estate investor who was indicted for allegedly hiring Singer to bribe his own kids’ way into college said in a wiretapped call that he worried that the scheme would “be the front-page story with everyone from Kleiner Perkins.”
Doerr said through a spokeswoman yesterday (March 21) that he did hire Singer, but that the scammer didn’t help his daughters bribe their way into school as he did for at least 33 other wealthy clients.
“The scope of services provided to John’s children was limited to test tutoring and help with college applications — typical of services provided by thousands of private college counselors across the country — and nothing further,” Kleiner Perkins spokeswoman Katie Hutchison told the Post in an email. “He is not part of the fed’s probe into William Singer.”
Hutchison told Fortune Magazine on March 14 that Kleiner Perkins general partner Ted Schlein had also hired Singer for nothing more than typical college counseling. She declined to answer the Post on the record when asked whether anyone at the firm other than Doerr and Schlein had hired Singer.
“William Singer used high-profile client names to market his services,” Hutchison said. “John Doerr was a client of William Singer’s firm together with a long list of Valley luminaries.”
Singer’s social media posts mention the Doerr family more than once.
Singer helped with a student project
A video that Singer posted to YouTube to promote his business in August 2013 reveals that in 2007, he helped Doerr’s daughter, Mary Doerr, launch a youth training program on climate change when she was a high school student at Castilleja School.
John Doerr used to serve on Castilleja’s board and gave the private Palo Alto girls school $1 million, Gawker reported in May 2008.
Without naming her, Singer says in the video “Rick Singer / Personal Best” that in order to make Mary Doerr a more competitive college applicant, he helped her launch “Inconvenient Youth,” inspired by the 2006 Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“That young lady was totally engaged in the environment. She loved the environment and wanted to do something really special,” Singer says in the video. “Because she was involved in global warming, we wanted to create an organization that would focus on global warming for youth, and get youth educated about global warming.”
Mary Doerr’s LinkedIn profile states that the program trained 80 or so teenagers and young adults at Stanford and partnered with Disney and the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team on a national tour to encourage teens and young adults to take action against climate change.
Now 27, Mary Doerr is a veterinary student at North Carolina State University, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University in 2015 and went on to study animal welfare at Michigan State University.
Her sister Esther Doerr, 22, graduated from Palo Alto High School in 2015 and is a junior at Georgetown University, where tennis coach Gordie Ernst was indicted for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for athletic recruitment.
The Doerrs are among a quarter-million or more people who have hired Singer over the years, according to Singer.
Singer claimed in an August 2014 Facebook post promoting his self-published book that he had worked with 250,000 clients over the last 26 years.
Among those were Doerr, the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, former 49er Joe Montana, Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy and former Facebook ad sales head Mike Murphy.
Montana said last week that Singer’s company had provided “nothing more than minimal consulting services to our family, like so many other families, with the college application process.”
“Fortunately our kids were able to pick from a number of schools to attend due to their hard work and their merit,” Montana tweeted on March 14.
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson, whose daughter goes to Brown, tweeted a similar statement the same day.
“Our family, along with thousands of others, used Rick Singer’s company to guide us through the college admission process,” Mickelson wrote. “We are shocked by the revelations of these events. Obviously, we were not part of this fraud, our kids would disown us if we ever tried to interfere.”
Jobs’ widow, Palo Alto resident Laurene Powell Jobs, hasn’t responded to the claim that her family hired Singer.
Among those indicted on March 12 were an Atherton hedge fund CEO and his wife, a Hillsborough real estate investor and his wife, a Menlo Park food entrepreneur, a Palo Alto radiation oncologist and his wife, a Menlo Park jeweler whose husband owns Dialink Corp. and the wife of former 49er Lou Palatella, who lives in Hillsborough.
Kleiner Perkins mentioned on wiretap
The real estate investor, Bruce Isackson, allegedly told Singer in a wiretapped phone call on Dec. 3 that he was paranoid that the scheme would come out.
“Is this gonna be this — be the front-page story with everyone from Kleiner Perkins do whatever, getting these kids into school?” Isackson asked. “It’s so hard for these kids to get into college, and here’s — look what — look what’s going on behind the schemes, and then, you know, the embarrassment to everyone in the communities.”
Isackson’s name and photo have been removed from the website for the investment company he cofounded in Woodside in 1991, WP Investments.