Harvard said Tuesday that it is firing its longtime fencing coach, finding that he violated the university’s conflict-of-interest policy by selling his home to a wealthy businessman whose teenage son was looking to apply to the university and fence on the team.
The university retained a private law firm to review the deal in April, when the Globe first reported that the coach, Peter Brand, and his wife, Jacqueline Phillips, had sold their home in May 2016 to Jie “Jack” Zhao, whose son, then a high school junior, was interested in fencing for Harvard.
The property, a modest three-bedroom Colonial in Needham, was assessed at $549,300, and sold for $989,500. Zhao’s son later gained admission and joined the team. And Zhao, who never lived in the house, sold it 17 months after he bought it for a $324,500 loss.