Robert Felner a Change Agent? Clown? Criminal?

In this week’s LEO, Christopher Hall questions whether or not Robert Felner was a change agent, class clown or criminal. And he tells the story of the now-ironic University of Louisville search that brought Felner to the river city.

Did the University of Louisville vet Robert Felner? Did anyone within the administration bother to check his references or speak with former employers? Obviously not. And the record shows that Jim Ramsey never bothered to dig into his past.

It is becoming more and more clear by the day that the legislature and other state officials will need to step in at UofL in order to clean this mess up.

Former U of L dean accused of throwing spitballs and belittling colleagues, not to mention mishandling federal grants

The University of Louisville posted a nationwide job search in 2003, looking to find a new dean to oversee the College of Education and Human Development. The man they found for the job: Robert Felner.

Given Felner would eventually become the subject of dozens of grievances during his tenure at Louisville — not to mention the target of a federal investigation — a few requirements listed in the job ad now seem more than a little ironic: a record of successful interaction with faculty, staff and students; strong interpersonal, organizational and communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with internal and external constituents; a high standard of professional integrity and a strong sense of professional ethics.


Even before arriving at U of L, Felner’s record of academic administration was spotty at best, having been removed outright from one leadership position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and having had his departure from another leadership position at Auburn University met with relief.

Yet Ramsey and other administrators continue to defend their actions. In a recent letter to faculty and university trustees, Ramsey asserts that Felner’s “references were very good” (never mind the fact that Felner’s former boss in Illinois, Emanuel Donchin, says U of L never contacted him regarding their prospective new hire).

Click here to read the rest…

Happy Wednesday Morning! Palin Speaks Tonight

Corruption in Corbin? Turns out the folks put in charge of Corbin’s first Native American Pow Wow may have blown the event and squandered $15,000. Those folks recently lost a suit in circuit court for more than $50,000. All kinds of drama. You’ve gotta check it out. [The Rural Democrat]

Mitch McConnell, the Jesus of everything, joined his peeps in Minneapolis for a fancy lunch yesterday. We hear, but have not confirmed, that our lady friends who love the KitKats were there. No word on whether or not the Senator provided attendees with KitKats or other forms of lady treats. [Trey Pollard]

100% of foreigners think Grampa John McCain selected GILF Sarah Palin too quickly. 100%. You read that correctly. The foreigners. [Guardian]

From the land of fancy Democratic deals, economic development secretary John Hindman resigned. He’ll still make his $250,000 salary for a year as a consultant. And Larry Hays, a man in the governor’s office whom is as hated as Jim Cauley and Joe Meyer, will serve as acting secretary. [H-L]

Mark Hebert wants to know if John Hindman was pressured to quit his job as Secretary of the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet. Because ousting a Fletcher appointee only to install a Beshear political hand makes so much sense, you know. [Mark Hebert]

Two University of Kentucky student journalists and their advisor were arrested at the RNC. For taking pictures and documenting protesters. Check the images of them being blasted with pepper spray by police. [Kentucky Kernel]

21 Former Faculty Send Letter to Board of Trustees

In what could only be considered an explosive development, twenty-one former University of Louisville faculty members who served under infamous Dean Robert Felner have penned a letter to the UofL Board of Trustees. The letter, which is in response to perceived inaction and mismanagement by President Jim Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz, addresses a number of issues that have not been appropriately addressed by the University.

If anyone had any doubt at all about the validity of claims made by commentators on this website, read the letter. Your eyes will be opened and you’ll quickly come to recognize the severity of complaints raised within.

For your convenience, we’re providing the text of the letter in its entirety below.

August 22, 2008

To: University of Louisville Board of Trustees

From: Twenty-one former UofL faculty members who served under Robert Felner

Re: “The Felner Affair” in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)

We write this letter to the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville in response to what is being referred to in newspaper, TV, and blogosphere reports in Kentucky and elsewhere as “The Felner Affair.” We are former UofL CEHD faculty members who served under Dean Robert Felner. Some of us left UofL in part because of Dean Felner’s abusive and unethical behavior.

We take issue with President Ramsey’s assertion in news reports about the “Felner Affair” that input from faculty to the higher administration was nothing more than “anonymous crap.” We would like to set the record straight by presenting the facts.

Setting aside alleged misconduct currently under federal investigation, Robert Felner’s actions included the following: He –-

  • brushed aside repeated queries by faculty about his excessive and questionable expenditures;
  • created a hostile workplace, which included influencing voting;
  • publicly humiliated people, screamed at them, spread falsehoods about them;
  • professionally undermined those who dared to oppose him;
  • made inappropriate personal advances;
  • made a mockery of accepted collegial governance policies;
  • violated principles governing the hiring of new faculty and the promotion of other faculty;
  • showered resources on those who supported him;
  • denied resources to those who stood up and questioned him, and threatened them with dire consequences;
  • hired an excessively large number of administrators, many of whom inflicted cruel and unfair sanctions on faculty not in Felner’s favor; and
  • cultivated inappropriate relationships with female employees, giving some questionably qualified persons extreme salaries.

Read the rest of the letter after the jump…

Read more21 Former Faculty Send Letter to Board of Trustees

Oh Snap Tuesday – Because We Had A Holiday

Haha, so, Kentucky Democrats are afraid of Barack Obama and don’t want him to come to the Bluegrass. David Boswell is a total loser. Leave it to the state party to support that nutbag. Heather Ryan came off sounding more intelligent than the rest of the bunch. [H-L]

John McCain attacked Barack Obama by comparing him to Britney Spears. So it should be noted that while he was busy with that mess, his crew was haphazardly throwing together a ticket with Sarah Palin to bring some Jamie Lynn action to the ticket. [Observation]

Speaking of Spears, get a load of Perez Hilton’s handling of the Palin story. Mean, gutter-level, sickening and terrible. We admit we laughed a little. And Dlisted is even worse. So awful. Hahahahaha. [Perez Hilton, Dlisted]

Mitch McConnell needs this convention like woah. So he’s going to take full advantage of it. [National Journal]

What was that about the RNC not being politicized so as not to appear insensitive to the hurricane evacuees? Yeah, so, Orrin Hatch yammered on about how great and wonderful Jim Bunning is. How he’ll run for senate again in 2010 and lose to any Democrat, no matter what. [Trey Pollard]

From the Department of Did You Know? Did you know that the surge in Iraq totally worked and that everything is peachy and perfect? The war is so over!  Mission accomplished! True story! We heard it from some Republicans who live in McMansions in the east end of Louisville. [EITB]

Everyone– including Trey Grayson– is spinning for Sarah Palin. Did you know she is the new Jesus of energy and lower gas prices? She is also the future of the Republican Party with her faux right-wing moralism and pregnant 17-year-old daughter. [Mark Hebert]

HAHAHA! Even the Wall Street Journal is bringing up the Britney Spears ad. Even we are beginning to feel embarrassed for John McCain. [WSJ]

A story of student reaction to the Robert Felner scandal in UofL’s student paper is less than impressive. We’d expect the paper to go hog wild with the juicy details. [Louisville Cardinal]

Oh, and John David Dyche? It’s not a “lie” that Mitch McConnell got rich from public service. That’s something we call a “truth” in the reality-based community, which you are apparently not a part of. But you’re loosely correct about what Bruce Lunsford should be doing at the moment. [C-J]

According to Marty Cothran, chief homo-hating bigot of Lexington, Sarah Palin’s underage daughter’s pregnancy has no relevance. Guess that’s why it’s a part of every single newscase on earth and is on the front page of every paper the world over.  Oh, and Marty, that “evidence” is provided in several stories I linked to. Read the site before providing your inane commentary that people only read because I link to it. [Mind-blowing Ignorance]

More Stuff For Your Saturday Morning

It’s like Anna Nicole and her elderly husband [Wonkette]

Sarah Palin Facts []

GILF graduates to VPILF [VPILF]

Sarah Palin once rode a diney-sore [Barefoot & Progressive]

No, Republicans, Sarah Palin is not “gay-friendly” or whatever it is you’re calling her. [DailyKos]

Paul Begala has it right about John McCain and Sarah Palin [CNN]

Sorry, but, uh… Jennifer Moore and the KDP had jack shit to do with Heather Ryan winning the endorsement of the Progressive Patriot Fund. It’s a flat out fraud and lie to suggest that Jennifer or the KDP had anything to do with it. Heather won it on her own accord, thanks to her own promotion and her own dedication. [How Embarrassing]

Whattya know… Nancy Rodriguez does a story about the various emails exchanged between Robert Felner, Shirley Willihnganz and Jim Ramsey. Interesting. We hope she really filed open records requests for those emails and didn’t just yank them from this site without attribution. [C-J]

A Look at the Mainstream Behind the Scenes

Many have written in to ask us what goes on behind the scenes with the Courier-Journal and other news outlets in the open records request process. And even more want to know what exactly the former paper of record has done so far in the research process/what they plan to do in the future with the Robert Felner story.

So we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at a few of the ORRs filed by the C-J in the recent past. It sheds light on previous coverage and may give you a glimpse of what the paper plans to do in the future on the Felner story.

07/23/2008 – Chris Kenning requested a copy of the federal search warrant –

“I am seeking a copy of the original search warrant used by the feds to search the CEHD.”

07/29/2008 – Andrew Wolfson requests copies of the Felner emails –

“I was trying to see if you could send me copies of the most recent emails released in the Felner matter. (WHAS last night mentioned there were 15 of them, but only put eight on it’s Web site.)

Never mind that we published them minutes after the WHAS story aired.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreA Look at the Mainstream Behind the Scenes