The Courier-Journal and the Felner Investigation

The entire Courier-Journal editorial board is now spreading the myth that the federal investigation into Robert Felner’s activities is only about a $694,000 federal grant. Myth/lie/whatever. It’s not the truth. Law enforcement tells us otherwise. The mainstream media in other states tell us otherwise. This investigation is huge and federal agents have been on multiple college campuses in several states. It’s not only $694K that they’re after. Just yesterday The Journal Times reported that the investigation involved millions.  So it’s not a stretch to expect our local paper of record to get the facts correct.

But the C-J seems content piling on the dishonesty or being ill-informed. This needs to stop. Immediately.

Then the board goes on to attack University of Louisville President Jim Ramsey for attempting to white wash the Felner scandal. The paper obviously pussyfoots around the whole shebang, but at least it’s doing what should have been done WEEKS ago.  We’re proud to finally read it:

But problems were not just financial. A striking number of grievances and complaints from faculty and students were filed against Dr. Felner, who lost a faculty confidence vote, 27-24. While saying the university took all of this seriously, Dr. Ramsey interprets it as evidence that Dr. Felner “was bringing about change that needed to be made.” But there’s a difference between changing menus and breaking plates.

Dr. Ramsey’s evidence that Dr. Felner was getting things done includes the college’s rise in national rankings over the last two years. But then U.S. News & World Report’s lists are taken with a grain of salt by academic experts.

He also cites an increase in grants and a stronger relationship with local public schools. But an independent campus group — maybe an American Association of University Professors committee, including tenured faculty who can’t be easily dismissed or marginalized — should take its own look, not only at the rankings issue but at the other complaints that have been lodged, formally and informally, and into the U of L administration’s response.

These are serious issues, and must not be dismissed as the backwash of change.

Thanks to the C-J for finally waking up. Maybe now the paper can work on getting Nancy Rodriguez to stop repeatedly writing that a $694,000 grant is the only reason for the Felner investigation, as she did again today.

We admire her for finally reporting that grant dollars went to a defunct non-profit organization– something this site, WHAS11 and the Kenosha News reported weeks ago. Now the public in Kentucky who don’t watch television or use the internet can finally learn about a little of what’s gone down.

But we find it highly suspicious that Rodriguez and the C-J published this glowing review of the University of Louisville and its President for being a “leader in preserving our environment” with the headline “U of L begins audit to boost energy savings.”

More On Ramsey’s Comments About Robert Felner

Sure, you thought what Nancy Rodriguez published in the Courier-Journal yesterday about UofL President Jim Ramsey’s comments was a big deal. But what will you think when you discover the C-J didn’t report everything Ramsey said about former education Dean Robert Felner?

Let’s find out. Mark Hebert caught up with Ramsey at the same press conference Rodriguez did and had a few questions for the President.

Check out these clips from last evening’s newscast:




Nice body language, eh?

Totally dismisses 33 grievances, calling them “anonymous crap.” (Not all were anonymous) Said it’s “cheap” if people don’t have the courage to put their name on a complaint, never mind the fears of faculty, staff and students over possible reprisal. He said having 33 grievances filed against Felner meant he was “bringing about change that needed to be made.” We can only assume “sexual harassment” and “intimidation” mean the same thing as “change.”

Oh– and he said he hadn’t seen the internal Felner investigation.

Yeah, wow. Our favorite part is when Ramsey suggests that “getting a little weak” and “violating the law now and then” is a-okay.

We’ll let you know when we find out how much UofL is paying for public relations and crisis management. If it’s anything more than $0.00, it’s a total waste of taxpayer money.

And on a related note, Rodriguez has a new story in today’s C-J where she again leads readers to believe the Felner investigation is only about a $694,000 grant. Which is not remotely true. We have spoken with individuals interviewed by federal investigators at the University of Louisville, University of Rhode Island, University of Wisconsin, University of Illinois and other schools and within minutes of speaking with them were aware that the investigation is massive. The $694K grant is, like we said, the tip of an iceberg.

Nancy finally brings up the number of grievances and complaints filed against Felner (there are 33, not 31) and focuses on an email Felner sent to grants management officials at the University of Louisville. In the message, Felner stated that, “We really need to show good faith for the feds.” Boy, did he ever.

Wow! UofL President Praises Robert Felner Again

The University of Louisville is in for quite a ride. UofL’s President Jim Ramsey is once again singing the praises of former Dean of the College of Education and Human Development Robert Felner.

Felner, you couldn’t forget, is the focus of a massive federal investigation involving both the United States Postal Service and the Secret Service.

Get a load of what Ramsey piled on for the Courier-Journal:

Ramsey also reiterated that Felner “advanced” the university’s College of Education and Human Development since his arrival in 2003.

Specifically, he noted the college’s rise in national rankings, an increase in grants and a stronger relationship with Jefferson County Public Schools. “The list of accomplishments are there,” Ramsey said.

During the same period, the university saw a marked increase in grievances filed by employees in the college of education. All of the grievances were against Felner, some alleging sexual harassment and intimidation.

Ramsey said the number of grievances against Felner “tells me he was bringing about change that needed to be made.”

Still, Ramsey said, the university “took all of them (grievances) seriously.”

“Management style is one thing, and a lot of the things that came in were anonymous,” he said. “Violation of university policy is another thing.”

All right. Who wants to be first to claim that Jim Ramsey is the most out-of-touch person at UofL? And who believes the university took all of the grievances against Robert Felner seriously? I mean, I just published 32 instances of problems that should have garnered more than a yawn from the university’s administration. And nothing ever happened. Nothing was ever resolved.

Who on earth is handling public relations for UofL? Somebody’s contract needs to get cut. Immediately. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars if I’ve ever seen one.

Also, Nancy Rodriguez again peddles misinformation that the federal investigation into Robert Felner and the University of Louisville is only about a $694,000 grant. So not true. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in the investigation. But she did finally report that the investigation began after Provost Shirley Willihnganz turned a complaint over to campus police to investigate. So kudos for that.

We’re so blown away by both the University of Louisville’s handling of the Felner situation and the Courier-Journal’s. Blown away.

Faux Family Foundation Repudiated – Again

Albert Pennybacker wrote an op-ed that was published in Monday’s Herald-Leader that takes The Family Foundation to task for perverting religion and higher education.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I am appalled that the foundation has attacked respected professors at the very best of our Kentucky universities and sought to manipulate state funding against them.

And this action, note, is taken on the basis of the foundation’s ideological agenda. Has The Family Foundation been appointed guardian of what is intellectually appropriate and morally acceptable?

Second, the foundation is an integral part of a larger network of exclusivist religion — ”my way or the highway“ — which is always suspect.

Why else would legitimate areas of study be attacked as offensive or inappropriate? Good religion affirms an open mind, advocates honest inquiry and applauds sound intellectual contributions to understanding the complexities in the life we share. These foster our living better together.

RUH RO: LEO Kills Anne Northup’s Campaign

It’s official. Anne Northup’s congressional bid is going to be her third massive failure in as many years. And Northup has allowed the LEO’s Stephen George to cut the last leg out from under her.

From Northup’s delusions of grandeur to her ridiculous public offering of praise for Robert Felner, Stephen lays it on thick. I think it’s safe to say that being 17 points behind John Yarmuth is the least of her worries.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines delusion as “a belief or impression that is not in accordance with a generally accepted reality.” It defines megalomania as “1. obsession with the exercise of power. 2. the delusion that one has great power or importance.” And it defines pander as a verb meaning to “gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire or habit).”

As a member of the minority party of the House, Northup would have a tall order convincing so many of her colleagues and maybe a Democratic president that drilling is the plan for now. The vile subtext of this in the campaign is that she would somehow lower the price of fuel through the sheer force of her own personality, and that this is the paramount reason to vote for her.

-SNIP-

She is making grave mistakes this time around, which is uncharacteristic: Last week, she told WHAS-TV that a $694,000 grant she secured for the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development was at the center of a federal investigation into possible malfeasance by former Dean Robert Felner, who oversaw $47 million in grants.

“Dean Felner did a good job at U of L,” Northup said. “He really worked hard in the Department of Education, and obviously it’s very upsetting that this investigation is going on.”

While she may have been proud to tie herself to the grant money during campaign season, there was no obvious need for her to weigh in on Felner — especially with such flattery. I fully expect Yarmuth’s campaign — if not my own — to use this soon.

Click here to read the rest of the Northup Campaign’s eulogy…

But if that’s not enough, today the Jefferson County GOP released a statement praising Republicans for lowering gas prices. Yeah, $4.20 is SO much lower than what I paid last week!

Take a peek:

Fortunately, Jefferson County has several candidates and officeholders with the understanding necessary to lead us towards the most fiscally and environmentally responsible solutions for our energy future.

“Senator Mitch McConnell and Anne Northup have been on the forefront of this issue since their campaigns began, understanding how to bridge the gap towards our eventual energy independence,” Cummings said.

For the record: We like the local Republican Party Chair Brad Cummings quite a lot. But we can’t for the life of us figure out how he could think Anne Northup has been on the forefront of lowering fuel prices. Standing in front of a gas station owned by one of her biggest contributors hardly shows leadership when you own millions in big oil stocks.

And if Anne Northup offered real leadership– ever– don’t you think she would have won her race in 2006? And don’t you think she would have beaten the most hated governor in Kentucky political history (at the time) during the 2007 gubernatorial primary?

Yeah. She’s done.

Wednesday Morning Update Dept of Broken Puters

Looking for a job? U.S. Customs and Border Protections is hiring in Kentucky! They’re in Hopkinsville, Louisville, Lexington and Owensboro through the end of the week accepting applications. Big money. [Business First]

Read the first paragraph of this story. A former Champaign school official is accused of hitting the mother of her grandson with a hammer in a child custody dispute Friday. OMG. Grandmothers are the end of the world or whatever. [News-Gazette]

Just how large of a bullet did the University of Wisconsin-Parkside dodge? The Badger Herald wonders in their recap of the latest bit about Robert Felner. [Badger Herald Muckrakers]

Gannett shares fell 6.5 percent yesterday to their lowest level since 1990. No wonder there’s such a terrible mood at the Courier-Journal these days. We’re all gonna die of the awful news starvation! [Washington Business Journal]

Larry Dale chimes in on Bruce Lunsford’s fundraising results for the second quarter. Sure, $600,000 is chump change compared to McConnell’s $3 million in special interest money. But it’s disingenuous to suggest that Lunsford is having difficulty raising money. Primarily because he doesn’t have a large finance staff. [KY Kurmudgeon]

John McCain thinks rape is funny. No wonder so many Clintonites and women who think it’s cool to stay bitter forever are supporting him! [Barefoot & Progressive]

History for dummies? Yeah, if you like to have the bejeezus scared out of you by some puppets and shiz! We want the King Kong figure. Someone buy it for us. Or else. [C-J]

Tuesday Dept of Less Humid Updates

Richie Farmer spent about $26,000 on registrations and hotel rooms for his little SASDA conference we told you about weeks and weeks ago. Some employees actually had hotel rooms when they lived less than 30 miles away. Hebert didn’t mention that taxpayers had to pay for a police escort to and from Churchill Downs. [WHAS11]

Some lady from the Cook Report says Bruce Lunsford’s $600K take from donors isn’t impressive. I guess she’s never tried to raise money for Bruce Lunsford. But it really doesn’t matter because he can write a check. [C-J]

Turns out the Herald-Leader was the first to report that Kelly Flood will run for Kathy Stein’s house seat. No worries, Republican haters. This one’s from the Unitarian Universalist Church– you’ll still have someone to scare you. [PolWatchers]

Did you miss the 32 points we published about Robert Felner and the University of Louisville? All sorts of complaints, grievances, emails, anonymous letters. All kinds of juicy juicy! [Page One]

Mileage-based car insurance? What? Could we actually be on the verge of something sensible in the high stakes game of insurance extortion? [LA Times]

“In God We Trust” License plates for no additional cost. Now the wingers can’t collect all kinds of cash just for you to have a license plate you enjoy. Steve Beshear’s all over it. [C-J]

Deputy Director of the Fayette County Detention Center Don Leach has resigned under a cloud of suspicion. That Lexington jail scandal is spiraling out of control. [KY Progress]