Felner Investigation Forces UWP to Wake Up

The University of Wisconson-Parkside has identified areas where they believe problems may have occurred during their alleged “transparent” and “open” search for Robert Felner.

1. References – In the UW-Parkside search, much information obtained about Felner through professional references painted a very positive picture of his performance at both the University of Louisville and the University of Rhode Island. However, the number and type of references interviewed may have been insufficient, affecting the quality and breadth of information obtained. Information about a 2006 vote of no confidence by Louisville faculty was not shared with everyone involved in the Parkside hiring process.

2. Roles and Relationships – Based on current information about the UW-Parkside search process, UW System will work to clarify roles, responsibilities, relationships and expectations for everyone involved in the search process. This will include clear guidelines and checklists for individuals, committee chairs, external search consultants, UW System Administration staff and others. These written guidelines will provide clear procedures and mechanisms for gathering, verifying, analyzing and sharing all available information about candidates in a manner that ensures an unfettered, unbiased examination of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

3. Timelines – The timeline for the UW-Parkside search allowed roughly three months to recruit a pool of qualified candidates, evaluate applications, conduct preliminary interviews, check references, name finalists, schedule public presentations, interview finalists and appoint the new Chancellor. Compared to most Chancellor searches, this was a more compressed timeline – about two weeks shorter than the successful search for a new UW-Madison Chancellor. UW System officials will examine the impact of this shorter timeline on the search committee’s ability to fulfill its charge.

Let’s just go ahead and say it: That “transparent” and “open” process is probably the most broken and inadequate search process on the planet.

Meanwhile, dead silence from the University of Louisville. The public university (it’s not a private institution, contrary to popular belief among those who have a fear of rocking the boat) is now saying through spokespeople that it is declining comment because law enforcement asked UofL officials not to make statements that might affect the ongoing federal investigation. Of course, UofL doesn’t address that fact that comments can be made that don’t impact said federal investigation. But that would require too much work for somebody and more transparency than most can handle.

Read all about that in Jennifer Oladipo’s story in LEO this week. And more about the review of the search process in the Kenosha News and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Felner Retaliated Against Critics While at UIUC

Literally, there’s something new in this Felner story every day. Now, thanks to the magic of court records on the internets, we discover that Robert Felner potentially retaliated against colleagues who wrote stories critical of one of Felner’s projects.

See the court records for yourself:

In September 1991, Mitchell published several articles in Ground Level Critique critical of another community-based research project at the University, the “New North Project,” headed by psychology Professor Robert Felner. Five months later, Rappaport decided to terminate the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts. Rappaport cited severe budgetary constraints, the deteriorating physical facility, and the program’s failure as a training ground for graduate students as reasons for terminating the program’s funding. Donchin approved the termination. Mitchell was informed that the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts was being terminated on March 2, 1992. The funding was actually terminated, and Mitchell’s position eliminated, in mid-1993.

On February 22, 1994, Mitchell filed a four-count complaint against several University of Illinois administrators and professors, not including Donchin and Rappaport. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Mitchell alleged that the defendants violated his First Amendment rights by terminating the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts in retaliation for publishing articles in the Ground Level Critique critical of the New North Project and Felner. Mitchell supported his complaint with statements allegedly made to him by Rappaport that indicated that the named defendants were behind the decision to terminate the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts. Specifically, Mitchell alleged that Rappaport stated that he had strongly opposed terminating the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts, but that he had been overruled by the defendants. Mitchell further alleged that Rappaport told him that “it was that f….. Felner that’s behind this. I know it is Bob Felner that caused this to happen.”


Rappaport told Mitchell that other people had made the decision to terminate the funding for Oasis Graphics Arts and that he thought that Felner was the motivating force behind the decision.

See that, mainstream media? That’s the kind of material you dig up when you try. Material that, when compiled with hundreds of other pieces of information, paint a complete picture.

Felner’s Troubles Began in the 1980s

During what has now turned into literally hundreds of hours of research and investigation, Page One has uncovered information that suggests former UofL Dean Robert Felner’s troubles go back as far as the 1980s during his days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

Multiple sources at UIUC who worked with Felner during his time at the school have revealed some interesting information. It should be noted, however, that no one we spoke with held any personal grudges against Felner, never offered personal opinions and made it very clear that they only want to deal with facts. So that’s what we’re going to do.

Felner was a member of the Clinical/Community PhD program in the Department of Psychology at UIUC from roughly 1986 to 1990 and was the program’s director (Director of Clinical Training) from 1987 to 1989. Sometime during the late fall of 1989 that program’s faculty (who selects the DCT) asked Felner to step down. According to our sources and our own research, no other DCT has ever been asked to step down.

Read the rest including details about why Felner was forced to step down after the jump…

Read moreFelner’s Troubles Began in the 1980s

Landlord in Louisville Breaks Fairness Law

Some asshat who owns rental property at 1068 Cherokee Road in Louisville has certainly violated the Fairness Ordinance, which protects against discrimination against sexual orientation in the workplace, government and housing.

So we thought we’d publish some photos of the property, along with a sign that reads “NO GAYS” and a handbill with the asshat’s telephone number.

We called the number, 502.644.7000 only to be told that the apartment is on Craigslist and to be given another number to call, 502.452.6000. The Craigslist listing has been deleted but we figured it’d be worth our time to Google the second number.

The same person has a 1980 Mercedes 450 SL for sale and interestingly enough, left a comment using the name Billie Dixon on CMT’s Trick My Truck website begging the show to come trick her poor son’s truck out because he’ll be living in it. WTF?

He’s a good kid, earned a scholarship to Duke University when he was 12 but never wanted to go. Now he wants to go but can’t afford it. He applied to Florida Tech but couldn’t get the loan.

Austin keeps the truck about 10 miles out in the country where he is staying in an old camper about 12 feet long and has to cook outside. He works when he can with the guy that has the farm. He comes from a good family and I hate to admit it but he can’t park the truck in my driveway without the neighbors complaining. He was riding a motorcycle until a car hit him so now he rides a moped out to the truck. He values his moped very highly and encourages any and all young moped riders to take out moped insurance for 16 year olds to protect their possessions. His dog, a big black one, rides in a large milk crate on the back. His dog Flash is well trained and goes everywhere with him. Sometimes people take pictures of them. Maybe the wreck on the motorcycle, an old Harley, didn’t help. He just can’t seem to focus on anything but going to Nc.

We have no idea if “NO GAYS” was written by the property owner (Billie J. Conley, according to the PVA website) or if they’re also responsible for the language on the handbill, but that’s not important. The property owner is responsible for their own signage and advertisement and if they allow something like this to go on for more than a few days, then, something’s wrong.

Basically, somebody in Metro Governent needs to step up and, you know, fine somebody and pretend they’re standing up for equality. Right now. So, Mayor Jer? His gay staffers? Metro Council? Why aren’t you screaming from the rafters at this very moment?

Oh, happy Monday!

And for anyone not familiar: Cherokee is the gayest area in Louisville. Gay, gay, gay. The hub of all activity, power and money. So this is really effing weird.

UPDATE: Check out what Rick is uncovering at The ‘Ville Voice:

Certainly there’s no proof that the gay-bashing written on the signs isn’t simple vandalism, but our sources tell us that the landlord in question has been accused of violating tenant rights by entering apartments without proper notice. She’s been accused of violations from the City’s Inspections department, and lost a lawsuit with neighbors over fencing.

The crazy is so thick it’s palpable!

Video of State Vehicle Abuse? Let’s See

What happens when you live 2.5 miles from your state office where you work as a Utility Regulatory & Safety Investigator? Why, you get a fancy take-home SUV. Not a terrible abuse of state vehicles, but still needless.

We have no idea why this person cannot drive 2.5 miles (roughly 4 or 5 minutes) before visiting a job site. Basically, we have no idea why anyone who works for the state and lives and works in Frankfort should have a take-home car.

But back to the story. A safety inspector who goes out before or after an accident occurs, not during, drives a gas hog SUV back and forth between home from work every day. He sometimes drives the vehicle home during the day, as the video below shows.

Some would argue (as someone in his office did) that the individual needs to have a take-homer because they could be called out at any hour and occasionally has to work in other areas of the state. But he lives 2.5 miles from the office. And like we said above, never goes out during an accident. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay mileage for the might-maybe-possibly-be-called-out once a year scenario than to pay for them to drive a gas hog SUV (we know– we drive a similar Jeep) home every night?

Rumor also has it this guy has been on the receiving end of a number of citizen complaints so he backs his car into his drive way. We’re not sure of that, really, and can’t verify it just yet. (If you’re in Frankfort and want to do so for us, have at it.)

Long story short: we’ve gotta stop throwing away millions of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs for ‘might be’ scenarios. It’s people like this who should have to pay a monthly fee (at minimum) for the privelige of taking a state vehicle home. The city of Louisville does it so surely to jeebus the Commonwealth of Kentucky can do it.

Video after the jump…

Read moreVideo of State Vehicle Abuse? Let’s See

Felner Investigation Rocks Kenosha, WI

We broke the story on Monday and since then it’s gone worldwide. You’ve read all about it and by now are probably tired of hearing about Robert Felner. The situation surrounding the criminal fraud investigation against him at the University of Louisville has literally rocked the world of higher education. No where is that more true than in Kenosha, Wisconsin where journalist Gary Kunich of the Kenosha News who has done more work on the story than anyone in Louisville could imagine.

As it turns out, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the school Felner was leaving UofL to preside over, knew all about Felner’s controversial past and were a-okay with it. Which has rightfully upset quite a few people.  But that’s not all…

Take a look at some highlights of Gary’s latest story:

University of Wisconsin-Parkside officials knew as early as last Friday that there was a federal investigation into Robert Felner when agents showed up at the chancellor’s office to take away boxes of paperwork he already sent here.
A joint investigation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Secret Service and the Postal Service is investigating a fraud case against Felner that involves at least $500,000 in money, potentially from $17 million in different grants. The Kenosha News learned the investigation is also looking into the purchase of illegal items.
“Dr. Felner had shipped up here a considerable number of papers and agents took six boxes of papers with them,” he said. “They returned Wednesday afternoon and returned some of those but took one more back with them. Our staff was not involved in looking through those boxes, so we don’t know what they took and what they left.”
Not everyone was as impressed with Felner’s credentials.

A Parkside university official said the search committee should have been concerned that he moved around too quickly from many colleges with little upward mobility.

NOTE: If you’re visiting the site for the first time or need a quick guide to the Felner/UofL story, hit the jump link for a round-up of everything so far.

Read moreFelner Investigation Rocks Kenosha, WI

Page One & ‘Ville Voice Scandalizing The TeeVee – With an Update on the Felner-UofL Story

Did you notice the elephant in the room during Rick’s appearance this morning on the CW? When Rick arrived at the studio, Dan Spangler told him the Robert Felner-UofL story was too hot for the morning show to handle. The station’s general manager, Carol LaFever, said the morning show wasn’t the place for such hard news. She mentioned a rumor she’d heard that the attorney involved was upset with Page One’s coverage. So we asked her for a statement, and here’s what she said:

“Baldly put, this story is fascinating and lurid and terrible all at the same time – it deserves investigation and it’s getting that, in part thanks to you guys – but our show is a format for you to tell people about what you are doing, not to disseminate the story – I have some discomfort about what we might have heard this morning, as some of it lives in the realm of speculation – at least until the story rolls out further. I will continue to be a daily visitor to your website to see how it develops.”

If that’s not an indication that the story has become a monster, we’re not sure what is.

For the record: we spoke with journalists, news directors and managers from WLKY, WHAS, WDRB/Fox41 and the Courier-Journal and confirmed that Felner’s attorney has not attempted to silence coverage of this story.

So watch us be all scandalous on the teevee. Again. And every week.

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