Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory owns the land on which James Watson’s house is built. In Watson’s emailed resignation letter he mentioned that he would be allowed to stay where he lives. Because CSHL can evict Watson from his house, they have additional leverage.
“That the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is now one of the world’s premier sites for biological research and education has long warmed my heart. So I am grateful that its Board now will allow me to remain along my beloved Bungtown Road.
I have been much blessed.
James D. Watson
One Bungtown Road
Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Note that Watson paid for the house, but CSHL owns the land. This adds to the difficulties and dependency of Watson’s position. If CSHL wants Watson to leave, and they don’t have an agreement, then Watson might have to pursue legal action to try to get any payment for the house he built.
Presumably, there is some legal agreement on what happens to Watson’s interest in the house. This might be substantially less than fair market value. Even if that is specified, getting it from an employer that has turned hostile may or may not be difficult. To avoid making that employer become more hostile, Watson feels pressure to keep quiet.
Larry Summers was also living in a house that Harvard owned as President of Harvard when he was forced out. This also weakened his position. He, however, may have had other concerns.
Lawrence Auster (Oct 18 and Oct 29), Steve Sailer (Oct 21 and Oct 28 ), and Pat Buchanan have all pointed out that James Watson and Larry Summers both caved and caved easily. In both cases they were not just employees but also tenants. In both cases, they were employees and received some continuing financial benefit from their employers. In Watson’s case, that includes continued residency for himself, and likely his wife, who is younger than he is.
Larry Summers was made institute professor at Harvard, which has a high salary and no duties. Watson is being allowed to continue to live in his house. During the negotiations, both were living in houses to some extent owned or controlled by their employer. In Watson’s case, he had lived there for a substantial length of time.
Eduardo G. Mestre is head of the board at CSHL. The board quickly issued a statement distancing itself from Watson. Watson’s interview was published Sunday Oct 14, 2007 and the statement from the board condemning him was Oct 17, 2007 and he was suspended Oct 18, 2007.
That may be consistent with the Chairman pushing it. Mestre is an investment banker who knows how to handle employees in dismissals and hostile takeovers. He understands what leverage he has in a negotiation and how to use it. He may know how to undermine the other person’s sense of well being or take advantage of it if he senses it. Whether that happened here is for the investigative journalists to find out.
“While we honor the extraordinary contributions that Dr. Watson has made to science in the past, his comments show that he has lost his way,” Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists, said yesterday in a statement. “He has failed us in the worst possible way. It is a sad and revolting way to end a remarkable career.”
==Discussion Threads on James Watson
Vanishing American discusses the Watson case, and there is a comment thread afterwards. October 18:
Oct 27, 2007
There are comment threads at Steve Sailer’s blog on the Watson case.
==CSHL Press Releases on Watson
Does CSHL stand for Cold Springs Hostage Laboratory? Are they hostage takers? Has liberalism taken our entire society hostage? Or at least LGF? The Watson case is liberal pecking, a process by which all liberals keep all conservatives in a state of fear. (This is a paraphrase from a comment in a Buckley Firing Line debate from decades ago. We are more liberal pecked now than we were then.)
Sailer discusses how East Germany, according to Sailer’s sources, suppressed a scientist, Volkmar Weiss, for similar science as James Watson was. Weiss was definitely a hostage of East Germany. They did control his house, his job, his research, and this extended to his family.
CSHL has all those levers over James Watson. CSHL is led by an experienced investment banker, Eduardo G. Mestre, who has been involved in extensive M and A, which means layoffs and unhappy, departing employees. Is Watson just one more hand laid off in a long line of Americans losing good jobs they will never see again?
This is hypotheses, speculation or opinion. All other disclaimers apply. All statements should be restated as questions.