Oh Snap Monday! Everyone Is Uptight Today

Which state lawmakers are the most greedy and decide to switch jobs so they can rape the state over and over again? Glad you asked. Jon Draud, Steve Nunn, Dan Mongiardo, J.R. Gray, Greg Stumbo, Frank Rasche, Carolyn Belcher, Tim Feeley, Fred Cowan, Kelsey Friend, Jr., Martin Sheehan. [H-L]

The Courier-Journal did its best to rehash the Robert Felner story but doesn’t bother mentioning its information is from a paper in Wisconsin. Nor did the C-J bother to mention that its story only scratches the surface in the juicy details we already know department. [C-J]

Haha, so, funny story. Racist hack Sonny Landham is in trouble for his sickening comments about Arabs last week. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Libtard Party chairman Ken Moellman is afraid to axe Landham from the Libertarian ballot. If they’re not ready to take action now, when will they be? We’re basically going to assume their all racist bigots for the rest of time. End of story. Yay. Also, remember when Ken Moellman said on this very website that Landham would be on the ballot? Ha. [H-L]

Democrats in Allen County nominated Wilson Stone to run for Rob Wilkey’s seat. Stone is apparenly a farmer (what does that even mean anymore?) who lives in the 22nd District. He lost an election for judge-executive in 2006. [PolWatchers]

Joe Gerth quoted Harry Johnson, a West End Louisville Clarence Yancy wannabe, in a story about the U.S. Senate race. Johnson campaigned against Lunsford in the primary because Greg Fischer bought him out. He’s the kind of guy who can “sell” you the black vote. Asking that dude for his political opinion is like asking Jake about sex with women. [C-J]

Lexington weatherman Brad James is retiring from television. If you’re from central or eastern Kentucky, James has been a part of your life for decades and decades. And he’s probaby the guy you most remember for pulling all kinds of hilarious pranks. He’ll definitely be missed. [H-L]

If you missed it yesterday, David Hawpe chapped Jim Ramsey’s rear end over his mishandling of the Robert Felner scandal. We watched Ramsey’s remarks again and can see the giant globs of egg dripping off his face. [C-J]

Huge Robert Felner Update – Holy Crap

We all know that Tom Schroeder in Rock Island, IL got a visit from the feds to talk about Robert Felner. And by now we all know that Robert Felner probably isn’t innocent of wrongdoing. But we’ve just scratched the surface.

Til now.

This is getting juicy:

Mr. Schroeder said that in 2007 the center received a contract for the project, which he signed and returned to Mr. Felner. It later received two payments, one for $200,000 and another for $50,000. Both checks were returned uncashed, he said, at Mr. Felner’s direction.

He said he is unaware of any other payments, specifically $200,000, made to the center.

His organization performed no work in connection with the project, and that was the last he heard about the project until two Secret Service agents knocked on his door last month, he said.

“I found out this was being investigated when two federal agents came to my home. There were some forged addendum to this contract and forged signatures of mine. This had been going on all along. Where the money is and what was done with the money we had nothing to do with,” Mr. Schroeder said.
Mr. Felner even named the nonprofit, Mr. Schroeder said. “It all sounds a little funny now, but he didn’t want his name as a member of the board or staff member,” he said.
Mr. Schroeder became the executive director and fiscal manager. His job was to sign contracts, receive checks, take care of legal issues, get paid and send the rest of the money to Mr. Felner.
In late 2006 or early 2007, Mr. Felner told Mr. Schroeder about a contract with the University of Louisville to do work with Louisville schools on a No Child Left Behind project.

Mr. Schroeder signed the contract and returned it to Mr. Felner.

“Shortly after that, a check arrived in Rock Island for $200,000. I called Dr. Felner at the university and asked, ‘What is this? What are we to do with this? He said the check was a mistake, it shouldn’t have been written and to send it back,” Mr. Schroeder said.

Mr. Schroeder said Mr. Felner seemed livid that the check had been sent. It was sent back to Mr. Felner.

Then about Christmas 2007, a $50,000 check arrived in Rock Island. Mr. Schroeder said he called Mr. Felner, who again said to send the check back. It was a mistake.

To recap, Robert Felner is alleged to have used Schroeder and the now-dissolved organization in IL as a front to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maybe this sort of behavior explains why Robert Felner owns so many expensive homes around the country?

Wonder when Jim Ramsey will eat crow?

Stay tuned.

It’s a Slow News Day, Right?

So we’re gonna waste some time with another update. We’re also stuck in meetings, preventing us from paying attention to what’s going on.

The Felner story? Yeah, the C-J’s put a new guy on it. And, despite what we saw as promising last week, are wholly disappointed. Come on, C-J. Get it together. Stop printing crap just because UofL freaks its shiz out over a story. [C-J]

It’s not about John McCain being old. It’s about him being senile. [Politico]

Bruce Lunsford appeared on Leland Conway’s show in Lexington today. [Leland Conway]

That dern librul media is lyin’ to you again! The libruls will lie to you about Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy! Don’t believe it! [EITB]

75% of Americans say known homosexuals should be allowed to serve in the military, up from 62% in 2001 and 44% in 1993. Somebody should ask Anne Northup how she feels about it. Basically, it’s the end of the world and the institution of marriage will crumble. Also, we lost Eye-rack because of the gays. I saw it on HBO. I know. [WaPo]

Another Week, Another Robert Felner Update

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.

UofL President & Provost Respond to Public Outcry from Faculty, Staff, Students, Colleagues

Finally, the President and Provost of the University of Louisville, Jim Ramsey and Shirley Willihnganz, have addressed the Robert Felner scandal and ongoing federal investigation. In a letter to students, faculty and staff today, the two officials spin absolutely out of control. It is becoming more and more clear that UofL has something to hide or has no clue how to handle public relations.

This multi-million dollar scandal is not something that should be brushed off and explained away with spin. It is not a matter that can be addressed with a simple email. This is a matter that needs to be taken extremely seriously. Reading comments left on Page One should more than reveal that there are painfully deep wounds at UofL and the administration needs to recognize this. And fast.

Before you read the message, we need to address a couple points made by both the Provost and President.

Money isn’t everything when it comes to education. Remember it. Having $47 million in grants and getting on a list in a magazine shouldn’t be the goal you’re publicly shooting for. That’s embarrassing and laughable coming from one of the country’s most prestigious state schools.

The media have not “second-guessed” early warning signs about Robert Felner. We have published on this website that more than four grievances were filed against Felner during his time at the University of Louisville. And we published more than 30 complaints against the man. There is absolutely NO evidence that grievances were taken seriously. And there were multiple occasions (on annual Faculty Grievance Officer reports) during which the FGO recommended UofL address concerns within the College of Education and Human Development. To say otherwise is a total lie.

Information was not “leaked” to the media. The media, including this website, have published documents obtained through open records requests and interviews with faculty, staff and students at the University of Louisville and other schools. No information was “leaked.” That’s a fabrication on the part of Ramsey and Willihnganz.

Jim Ramsey himself admitted that there were no controls in place to prevent massive fraud on the scale of which we’re dealing with here. There’s no way on earth an internal review of control structures could not reveal weaknesses, because there’s obviously a huge weakness at UofL that allowed potentially millions of dollars to be squandered.

Further, there are no legal constraints preventing the President and the Provost from informing and communicating with faculty, staff and students about the Felner investigation. It is solely up to UofL whether or not the school releases information. There’s no law preventing disclosure of information.

Read the interesting email after the jump…

Read moreUofL President & Provost Respond to Public Outcry from Faculty, Staff, Students, Colleagues

C-J Recaps Felner Investigation, More on Tom Schroeder, Perpetuation of $694,000 Myth

Now other players in the years-long Robert Felner may-be-squandering-grant-money saga are admitting that they’re working with federal investigators.

We learn from the Courier-Journal’s Chris Kenning that Tom Schroeder, the guy who served as the head of Felner’s “non-profit” National Center on Education and Prevention in Rock Island, Illinois is cooperating with investigators.

But the bit Chris Kenning is missing is that the organization wasn’t Schroeder’s– but Robert Felner’s. Felner always told people it was his organization and UofL thought it was his organization. And Felner’s other National Center at the University of Rhode Island also listed copyright information indicating that the Illinois org was Felner’s.

Something you won’t believe we’re about to say: the C-J is beginning to ‘get it.’ We hear the paper is dedicating more time and effort to the story. Based on what we’ve personally seen, it looks like criticism finally woke the C-J up. It’s put experienced, skilled staff on the job as a result and we’re already seeing improvements in reporting. Here’s hoping.

More about Tom, Felner’s man in IL: Sources at the University of Louisville and the University of Rhode Island tell us that Tom was involved in transferring data from URI to a new server that was purchased at UofL. But very little data was ever transferred. Meaning there was no data to begin with or it was erased– which is what investigators we’ve spoken with seem to believe. We’re not sure, since we can’t figure out what Felner ever did in the first place other than bring in money. This investigation is going to get very interesting as new details leak out.

Finally, it wouldn’t be the C-J if someone wasn’t saying this investigation only involves a $694,000 grant. This weekend it’s Bob Hill perpetuating that myth. Note to the C-J: This is bigger than a $694,000 grant!  Just dig a little bit on this very website and you’ll see what we mean.

Friday Afternoon Dept of It’s The Weekend!

It’s Friday. We’re ready to blow this you-know-what. So enjoy your weekend! Don’t do anything we would do.

First Lady Jane Beshear today announced ‘Horses and Hope’ – a program to fight breast cancer. Along with the Kentucky Cancer Program, the project will work with the horse industry to provide breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referrals and will raise funds to keep the program alive. [Press Release]

According to computer genius and lord of all things FEAR!, John McCain is now calling Barack Obama a socialist. PINKO COMMIE HOMO ELITIST ARUGULA FEEEEAR! [Barefoot & Progressive]

Even the heavily Republican Wall Street Journal says Mitch McConnell is facing a tough reelection bid. Thanks to his super-tight ties to Dubya, of course. [WSJ]

Interested in reading a super-fancy fluff fest of a butt licking given to UofL president Jim Ramsey by a major business publication? All because he refused to accept a $113,000 (!!) bonus on top of his already half-million dollar salary. Never mind that millions of dollars in grant dollars were squandered on his watch. [Business First]

Thankfully a judge killed a subpoena that would have killed the freedoms members of the press currently enjoy when it comes to protecting sources. Demanding a journalist to hand over sources. Riiight. The attorney on that case really must not enjoy his own personal freedoms. [C-J]

Dirty liberal and former sneaky political operative Robert Kahne has an interesting take on Bluegrass Report’s rebirth (?) and the Kentucky blogosphere in general. Seems to be the consensus among media types everywhere. [Documenting My Audacity]

And since it’s the weekend… INVISIBL OLIMPIKS!!! [I Can Has Cheezburger?]