BOOK REVIEW –
April 8, 2021 – In a 2017 email, Mortimer Sackler, son and namesake of one of the three brothers who co-founded Purdue Pharma, requested a $10 million loan—and “a possible additional $10 million…MAX”—from the family trust to fund his lavish lifestyle, with instructions to keep the cash infusion secret from his relatives.
“Start off with saying I am not happy,” he wrote to a psychiatrist and “leadership confidant” named Kerry Sulkowicz. “I am falling significantly behind financially.”
The heir was prepared to sell off “artworks, jewelry, stock positions,” but it would not be enough to get him into the black. “I have been working for years on Purdue at what I consider to be a considerably discounted value relative to what MY TIME IS WORTH,” Mortimer wrote. “I am LOSING money by working in the pharma business.” As for the secrecy, he conceded, the money could be “reported in the trust accounts as loan/cash flow assistance to family members but not be specific… I don’t want to hear my siblings’ opinion on this and I don’t need more stress for this. I need to have this resolved… This needs to happen, the only question is how much DRAMA will be needed for this to happen.”
“Historically,” he added, his father, Mortimer Sr., who died in 2010, had been “more than willing to help me.”
Feelings of aggrieved entitlement were not exclusive to Mortimer. When David Sackler, grandson of co-founder Raymond, got married, the book reveals, he wanted to buy a bigger apartment but was snubbed by his father and boss, Richard—the man who oversaw and pushed the development of OxyContin more than anyone.