The Providence Journal published a story today about the Robert Felner investigation that provides confirmation for information we have already published and (aside from playing loose with dollar amounts, just like the C-J) makes a couple new revelations.
U.S. Attorney David Huber says the investigation will be over in a couple months, will be a “short one.”
“We typically don’t comment on criminal investigation, but since the University of Louisville already released a statement, we can confirm that there is an investigation,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Huber by phone last week. “It is still ongoing, but we expect the matter will probably come to a head in the next month or so.” Huber said fraud investigations typically take longer, “but this will be a short one,” he said.
Sources at the University of Rhode Island went on-the-record to reveal what the Secret Service was looking for. URI officials also spoke a bit about contracts with UofL and Felner’s past work.
A team of Secret Service agents came to South Kingstown late last month and again earlier this month, Saccoccio said, and asked about contracts URI had with the research foundation at the University of Louisville, specifically with Felner. Saccoccio said the agents did not remove any files or computers.
“There have been two visits by the Secret Service — there may have been one other one, I’m not sure — and they were interested in any contracts we had with the research foundation at the University of Louisville,” Saccoccio said. “We did have two subcontracts for $60,000 each, to collect and prepare data for research, similar to the SALT survey.”
While in Rhode Island, Felner developed the SALT survey, known nationally as the High Performance Learning Communities Assessment, which has been used for several years in the state’s public schools to improve school culture.
And the paper reiterates what we’ve been saying for a while now: the $694,000 figure is being pushed by the Courier-Journal because the University of Louisville wants the paper to push that amount.
University officials in Louisville were concerned about a $694,000 federal grant Felner received that apparently never went toward its intended purpose –– to establish a No Child Left Behind center in collaboration with the Kentucky Education Department, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.
And on a somewhat related note – we filed a records request with the University of Louisville last week to determine whether or not the University is paying for crisis management and public relations to help deal with the Felner scandal. As you can see by checking out the list of personal service contracts (PDF Link), there doesn’t appear to be anything Felner-related. So we don’t have to be up in arms over Jim Ramsey’s performance and commentary about Felner here, here, here and here. Maybe it’s time Ramsey hired some professionals. His email sent to those affiliated with UofL earlier this morning is evidence alone that he needs some serious assistance digging the university out of this hole.