UofL/Felner Federal Investigation Update

Yeah, it’s a big deal. Now the media is all up on this story. And it only took a newspaper in Kenosha, Wisconsin of all places to recognize just how big of a deal it is.

Reporter Gary Kunich of the Kenosha News has the skinny on everything surrounding Robert Felner. The news of his role in the investigation (which we broke), him resigning from his new job and everything in between.

Take a look:

According to a report on Page One Kentucky, an online news blog, Felner was packing up his office in Louisville Friday when federal investigators swarmed in to cart away computers and paperwork from his office and other areas of the College of Education. The blog said federal agents escorted Felner to the bathroom and out of the building.

Page One reported that sources at the school said the investigation surrounds up to $17 million total in grant money, and many on the Louisville faculty had tried to get Felner fired.

How fancy is that? Local media blinks when we throw a story in its lap. Media from another state gives credit where credit is due.

And check this choice quote:

“I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome,” said Christine Evans, head of the Parkside search committee, at the time. “It really was a case that Felner is so superb that no one was going to look better than him. He’s very energetic; he’s very idealistic, and he really has a genuine hunger to make a difference, or he is able to present himself that way.”

Long story short, this is now out there for public consumption and open for discussion. And we’re only scratching the surface.

Mainstream Media Dead Silent on UofL Investigation

Our sources on the University of Louisville scandal tell us today that the amount of funds in question has climbed to $17 million. In our story on Page One yesterday, we were able to identify the individual at the center of the investigation, describe the tense situation within the College of Education on Friday, and even give some details about Mr. Felner’s past and future plans.

We published our story at about 3:00 P.M., giving TV news staffs time to put together updated stories on the crisis, and identifying the U of L professor who was being questioned. But the TV stations instead chose to run brief updates of the story, citing a Wisconsin paper as its only source. With even more time to get an accurate and informative story, newspapers did even less.

By now, we’ve accepted the mainstream media paranoia about mentioning us as a source. We don’t understand it, but suppose that since we don’t carry the weight of the Associated Press, whom they cite incessantly for doing their research for them. But in this case, there’s a story of major impact on the University of Louisville, and the mainstream media forces seem content to pick up an AP article from Wisconsin as a way to advance the story. All when they could cite us for a bunch more info on the whole situation.

Read the rest of the juicy, juicy after the jump…

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Federal Investigation at UofL – What’s Going On?

Remember that mysterious investigation at the University of Louisville that popped up last week? The one where TV crews flooded UofL’s campus only to report that they didn’t know anything? The investigation that the U.S. Attorney’s office admits is taking place?

Who could forget? Some dudes with guns loading dozens of boxes into black SUVs aren’t easily overlooked. Since UofL isn’t talking and everyone is batshiz nervous, we figured we’d raise some questions about what we’ve heard.

We know the offices that investigators were in were those of College of Education officials. Specifically, the office of Robert Felner, Dean of the school. (view Felner’s massive curriculum vitae here.) Felner, whose last day coincided with the arrival of investigators (conveniently after all of his boxes were packed and he was ready to jet), controls a massive No Child Left Behind grant worth about $12.5 million.

Now for the juicy rumor portion of the story. After the jump.

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Thursday Update Dept of Fancy Ostrich Racing

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine is launching a program at Morehead State University as part of its mission to train and retain physicians in rural Kentucky. Ten students will be selected for the program and will work in partnershiph with St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead for hands-on training. [Business First]

OMG. The right wing gay-haters are foaming at the mouth over Steve Beshear’s decision to prevent gay hate from persisting throughout state government. They’re screaming, “SPECIAL RIGHTS! SPECIAL RIGHTS!” instead of, you know, equality. Equal isn’t special, closet cases. We’re especially excited by the fact that these nutbags think “Christians” are being persecuted by the gays. Love it. [Nut Cases]

Louisville’s Metro Government has failed to spend about $20 million in federal grants that could have been used to aid people who are seriously suffering during this budget crunch and economic crisis. Everybody and their mom is outraged and metro gubmint is doing jack to reassure that they have any clue how to sail the ship. Gags all around. [C-J]

An Eastern Kentucky veterans cemetery has been announced. It’ll be located in Greenup County near I-64 on property owned by Addington Land Company. The first phase of development is set to include 25,000 grave sites for veterans and their eligible family members. [Heber]

Mitch McConnell suggests that Bruce Lunsford should race ostriches instead of horses in more retarded and hypocritical campaign material. The McConnell camp continues to pretend that Lunsford is already an elected U.S. Senator by claiming he should have to answer for the damages for which Mitch McConnell is responsible. We aren’t sure where the campaign gets that Bruce Lunsford refuses to support expanded oil production in the U.S. but we’re pretty sure they’re making shit up as they go along, pretending to be the savior of Kentuckians. [Team Mitch]

The American Family Fauxsociation says the gays are coming to get you! This time they’re so serious that they’ve produced a DVD to scare the bejeezus out of every yokel with a DVD player. Ho-mo-sexual-controlled city councils all over the country are going to ruin your lives by allowing homo gift registries and by offering up ways to hate Jesus. Our former homophobic Foods Editor at ‘Ville Voice Eats is probably cowering in fear as we speak. Someone PLEASE give us a copy. [AFA Online]

Oh Snap Monday! Gas Ruins Everything Edition

Bruce Lunsford will be the featured speaker at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on June 30 in Murray. And likely every other Democratic dinner on earth. [Ledger & Times]

Is Senate President David Williams an obstructionist like Mitch McConnell or is he just doing his job by making sure everything in Kentucky stays screwed up and backwater? Mark Hebert wants to know. [Hebert]

Are all Republicans like Mitch McConnell running the same campaign this year? The one about bringing home the bacon and avoiding a connection to George W. Bush 24/7? Because this story really leaves us to believe nothing else. Oh, and the WaPo seems to think Tom Daschle will be Obama’s VP. [Washington Post]

Kentucky’s fancy state budget has forced 100 students to be cut from the Governor’s Scholar program. Trey Grayson says it’s the first cut in 25 years. And even Billy Harper is complaining. Yay, the economy! We love how there’s no recession and everything is perfect. [H-L ]

Don’t forget to watch Kentucky Tonight tonight. Guests on the program will discuss ethanol. [Page One]

Kentucky Retirement Systems and Kentucky Teachers Retirement Systems have underperformed by $2.9 billion. And it turns out the folks managing those funds are totally incompetent liars. First, lying about being unable to invest internationally. Second, lying about cash flows influencing pension investment return. [Ralph Long]

Jon Draud & the Arrogance of Mr. Hot Wheels

“Hot Wheels” is the nickname radio host Francene has assigned to arrogant Board of Education chief Jon Draud.

While Draud got plenty of media attention yesterday at the state Board of Education meeting, today he granted a one-on-one to WHAS Radio’s Al Mayo.

We asked Mayo about Draud’s general mood — which you’d think might be contrite or even remorseful given the publicity given Draud’s decision to try to charge the state for a bunch of extras on his car. Draud told him that he didn’t do anything wrong, but that he was going to pay the difference in costs anyway.

What’s more, Draud said there “was no way anyone could force him to do it under state law,” and that his only regret was the way the story “blew up” in the media.

This wasn’t some ambush interview. Draud agreed to it, and had time to think about what he was going to say.

Let’s remind Mr. Hot Wheels that he’s a public servant, and let’s keep after him until we actually see him write a check for the $13,000 or so he says he’s going to pay for the GPS system and phone. Let’s remind him that regular folks, even public officials, found their way to their destinations before GPS systems were commonplace, and that they’re not a “safety” device.Mayo told us that when he asked Draud if the personal expenses were a bit extreme given the state’s budget deficit, arrogant Mr. Draud replied that the state’s budget problem wasn’t relevant to him.

Draud represents the worst example of conduct by a public official. Every time he opens his mouth, he digs a deeper ditch.

Draud Controversy Update & Other Outrage

Kentucky Education Comissioner Jon Draud let public scrutiny get the better of him and he has decided to reimburse the Commonwealth for the $13,000 in extras he willingly ordered for his fancy new Chrysler 300:

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Education Commissioner Jon Draud promised today to reimburse the state for $13,000 in extras he requested for his new state car.

After apologizing to the state board of education members this morning for the “rather controversial” situation involving his 2008 Chrysler 300, Draud approached them after noon and said he would work with officials to figure out how he could pay back the state.

Now for the outrage.

The interim president of the Council on Postsecondary Education – Dr. Richard Crofts – will make $25,416 per month.

$25,000 PER MONTH!