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.

Two Quick Things This Afternoon

OH NOES! You’re Gonna Die of the Poverty. Because even Wachovia is about to go belly-up or whatever. [Washington Post]

And… we hear that Commonwealth Attorney Dave Stengel in Louisville will be “looking into” the hate mail piece against Ken Herndon. More Here and Here and Here and Here and Here.

It’s not a formal investigation or manhunt, so to speak, but Stengel plans to have his staff do some research.

We’ll bring you more info as soon as we have it.

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]

Monday Evening Update Dept of Crazy is Real

Please accept our apologies for being slow today. Too much business to handle, not enough hours in the day. Also, who is buying a new laptop for us? And who is gifting us a new iPhone?

Lunsford’s second quarter numbers are out and the McConnell camp is huffy. [PolWatchers]

Bill Cox quit as the state’s Revenue Commissioner over an “honest difference of opinion” with Beshear administration officials. Cox told Mark Hebert that he was promised Revenue would be elevated to cabinet status but it never happened. And some other juicy business. [Mark Hebert]

Governor Steve Beshear says Barack Obama has all kinds of work to do in Kentucky. Before any Democrats get all huffy, it’s, you know, the truth. Beshear said he hopes to get Obama to Kentucky several times throughout the general election campaign. [PolitickerKY]

This afternoon Andrew Horne sent an email blast on behalf of Bruce Lunsford that attacked Mitch McConnell’s reprehensible actions re: veterans and health care for vets. In 2008 he voted against the G.I. Bill. Last year he voted against legislation to give soldiers longer breaks between deployment. And he repeatedly votes against veterans’ health care programs like treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. [E-mail Blast]

Ryan Alessi has a Q&A with new Beshear Chief of Staff Adam Edelen. [H-L]

Looks like the mainstream media is now trying to keep up with us. WHAS11 has produced a story about some of the documents (related to the Felner-UofL investigation) we published this morning (we got them way before the media did). It’s mostly a rehashing of what we’ve written about for weeks. But check it out. [WHAS11]

Don’t forget our earlier story about Robert Felner and the University of Louisville. We published all kinds of material that is forcing the university to open up and forcing the mainstream media to finally pay attention. [Page One]

Robert Felner, the University of Louisville, Open Records Requests Galore – an Interesting Look at the Situation

We’re not about to assume anything about Robert Felner, the former Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Felner, of course, is currently under federal investigation. Since we’re not making assumptions, we figure it’s best to make some (some, not all, because not everything is relevant) records and information obtained during open records requests available to our readers.

The easiest way to dig into this information is to share with you exactly what we’ve received from the University of Louisville’s Open Records Officer. In some instances we received summaries of documents and in others we received the actual documents.

Hopefully this information provides a glimpse into life at the CEHD leading up to the infamous vote of no-confidence. It may also give you a loose idea of the dark cloud that is still hanging over the University of Louisville.

Here we go. Grievances summarized:

1. U of L is in possession of records of a sexual harassment grievance filed by a CEHD graduate student against CEHD Dean Robert Felner in 2005. The U of L affirmative action/employee relations office in the human resources department “found insufficient evidence to conclude the university*s policy on sexual harassment was violated.”

2. U of L is in possession of records of a faculty grievance filed by a CEHD faculty member against Karen Karp, chair, CEHD department of teaching & learning, and Dean Felner. On 6/6/05 the U of L faculty grievance committee recommended the provost “affirm the 2003 Merit Review” of the grievant. It found that “the unsatisfactory ratings in service and research in the 2003 Merit Review of [the grievant] were not a result of improper bias which influenced the decision-maker’s judgment.”

Read the other 30 juicy pieces of information after the jump…

Read moreRobert Felner, the University of Louisville, Open Records Requests Galore – an Interesting Look at the Situation