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Harvard Coach Fired Over Selling His Home — for Twice Its Value — to Prospective Student’s Father

Students pass in front of Harvard's Widener Library in a file photo. (Credit: William B. Plowman/Getty Images)

Students pass in front of Harvard's Widener Library in a file photo. (Credit: William B. Plowman/Getty Images)

Harvard University has fired a fencing coach over the sale of his home for nearly double its assessed value to a wealthy businessman whose teenage son was later admitted to the school and joined the team.

Athletic Director Bob Scalise said in an emailed statement Tuesday that head fencing coach Peter Brand has been fired for violating Harvard’s conflict-of-interest policy.

The Boston Globe reported in April that Brand received nearly $1 million in 2016 for his suburban Boston three-bedroom house, which was assessed at the time at about $550,000.

The buyer, Jie Zhao, never lived in the home and sold it at a steep loss 17 months later. Both men deny wrongdoing.

Brand’s lawyer, Douglas Brooks, called Brand’s termination “unfair, unwarranted, and an egregious disservice to a loyal employee.” Brooks says Brand is considering his legal options.

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