Friday, July 22

WALTER UHLER'S PURSUIT OF TRUTH CONTINUES

By Barry Bozeman

Hello again PSU friends - this will be my first post on SMSS since the Summer of 2014 and I have missed the interaction from here in East Tennessee.

Some of you may recall that I started SMSS and the FREEHDOM FIGHTERS beginning in January of 2012 after 2 or 3 months of active participation on the Penn State sports site begun with this post  Outsider's View of PSU and the National Narrative on Nov 20, 2011

For a time this SMSS site joined with Walter Uhler, Mark Rubin of Tom in Paine, and John Ziegler to form the Framing Paterno group combining our efforts in the search for Truth following the addition of Ray Blehar as my partner and co-author of this website. 

Today I learned that Walter Uhler's website was hacked last August and it closed down with all content lost.

Some of that excellent content remains available in the Walter Uhler archive on The Smirking Chimp. Walter's article LYNCHING JOE PATERNO IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION published Nov 9 2011 was just the beginning of a number of excellent informative pieces from this PSU graduate with 2 BAs and a Master's Degree. 

Walter wrote me today regarding his response to New York Daily News, sportswriter, Evan Grossman…

“In response to shamelessly sensationalistic news articles in the mainstream media that virtually indicted Joe Paterno for supposedly ignoring a 14-year old boy in 1976, who claimed to have been molested by Jerry Sandusky, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times which gave reasons why I thought the allegation was false. That letter was published on 14 July 2016. Within days, Evan Grossman, writing for the New York Daily News, wrote a column titled: "Joe Paterno apologists are blind to reality, unwilling to face facts about ex-Penn State coach." In Mr. Grossman's view, Paterno apologists live in a reprehensible fact-free bubble similar to those occupied by "9/11 truthers" and Trump-style  "birthers." Finding that my letter to the Centre Daily Times was cited by Mr. Grossman as a representative example of a  fact-denying Paterno apologist,  I felt compelled to write him the letter included below to show him the errors in his analysis.”  

After his website was hacked and destroyed, Walter retired from writing about the Penn State situation until the latest "testimony" by John Doe 150 alleging sexual assault in 1976 at a Summer Camp while showering with other boys.  That fraudulent story compelled him to write this Letter to the Editor published in the Centre Daily Times:

“A man testified in court in 2014 that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.”

Put simply, this testimony does not ring true.

First, Joe Paterno was the type of man who attended to the smallest of details. He would not have ignored such an allegation, just like he did not ignore the allegation made by Mike McQueary, but reported it up Penn State’s chain of administrative command.

Second, Paterno was an honorable man, a man who once walked out of a restaurant in a huff, leaving his family behind, after they defended the daughter being chastised by Joe for giving part of her all-you-can eat meal to a sibling who didn’t order such an all-you could eat meal. Joe accused his daughter of ripping off the restaurant and couldn’t believe that nobody else in the family took the matter seriously.

Third, Joe Paterno’s highest priority was transforming boys into successful and responsible men, not winning football games. That’s why he turned down offers from the NFL. Thus he would not have dismissed any allegation about Sandusky with the assertion that he had a football season to worry about.

Finally, having studied memory, I know that memories are reconstructed rather than purely retrieved. Thus, a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can’t possibly be completely true.

WALTER C. UHLER, STATE COLLEGE”

A section of  Walter Uhler's letter to the Centre Daily Times letter misused in the New York Daily News by Evan Grossman in a piece titled: 

JOE PATERNO APOLOGISTS ARE BLIND TO REALITY, UNWILLING TO FACE FACTS ABOUT PENN STATE EX-COACH 

“Another Paterno apologist penned a letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times, stating there’s no way the beloved coach could have known about any of Sandusky’s crimes because Paterno was so honorable he once stormed out of a restaurant when his daughter was not charged for a second all-you-can-eat dinner after sharing with another girl.
“Joe accused his daughter of ripping off the restaurant and couldn’t believe that nobody else in the family took the matter seriously,” Walter Uhler, of State College, wrote.
Uhler, who claims that he studies memory, wrote: “I know that memories are reconstructed rather than purely retrieved. Thus, a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can’t possibly be completely true.”


Walter Uhler’s rebuttal follows.

Dear Mr. Grossman:

As a writer whose work has appeared in The Nation, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Defense News, Huffington Post, Journal of Military History, and the Moscow Times -- among many other newspapers, journals and scholarly periodicals -- and who served as a senior executive in the Department of Defense as well as president of a scholarly organization (the Russian-American International Studies Association), I found your article, "Joe Paterno apologists are blind to reality, unwilling to face facts about ex-Penn State coach,"  to be below the level of competence and integrity that one expects from journalists who write about sports. Your article appears to be illuminated more by righteous indignation than rigorous thought based upon facts.
  
Here are two facts. One: John Doe 150 alleges that he was assaulted by Jerry Sandusky in 1976 in a shower, where other boys were showering. He alleges that he shouted out after Sandusky's assault, yet none of the other boys in the shower complained to authorities.
Two: that allegation, weak as it is, has been contradicted by Jay Paterno, who has observed: "At Penn State’s football camps in 1976, campers showered in the dorms in individual stalls and did not shower with coaches and Penn State  players. " Thus, Sandusky could not have been there. Does Jay Paterno's assertion constitute an apology for Joe Paterno? Or the truth?

A question has been raised about how summer camper John Doe 150 gained access to a head coach known for making only cameo appearances at such summer camps. Similarly, a question has been raised about how John Doe's allegation that Sandusky assaulted him in the midst of other showering boys squares with Sandusky's well-known and very consistent practice of grooming and isolating a boy before assaulting him. Do these questions constitute apologies for Joe Paterno?

If anybody should be under suspicion, it is you, Mr. Grossman. Your treatment of my letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times reeks of egregious incompetence, if not dishonesty. 

For example, your readers do not know -- because you conveniently failed to inform them -- about two reasons why I doubted the testimony of John Doe 150. Here's reason number one in my own words: "Joe Paterno was the type of man who attended to the smallest of details. He would not have ignored such an allegation, just like he did not ignore the allegation made by Mike McQueary, but reported it up Penn State's chain of administrative command."

Now, you might not like this piece of potentially exculpatory evidence, but it hardly constitutes an apology for Paterno. And your readers deserved to read it. In fact, the burden is on you to demonstrate that Paterno would have behaved differently in 1976.

The second reason why I questioned the allegation made by John Doe 150 concerns his specific claim that Paterno dismissed the charge of sexual assault by Sandusky because he had "a football season to worry about." This struck me as an obvious fabrication, prompting me to write: "Joe Paterno's highest priority was transforming boys into successful and responsible men, not winning football games. That's why he turned down offers from the NFL. Thus he would not have dismissed any allegation about Sandusky with the assertion that he had "a football season to worry about."

Now, you might not like this piece of potentially exculpatory evidence, but I view it to be a red flag of fabrication by John Doe 150.  And your readers deserved to read it. Your failure to inform your readers about my total argument was compounded by your attempt to disparage and thus dismiss the two other points that I made in my letter to the Centre Daily Times.

First, character matters. So it is no small matter to know that Joe Paterno was an honorable man -- .as evidenced by the big fuss he made over the sharing of an all-you-can-eat meal. People who knew Joe and who have read countless stories and critical biographies of Joe know about many instances in which he proved himself to be an honorable man. Ask any of his football players. Your blithe dismissal Joe Paterno's strong, honorable character, suggests anti-Paterno bias in an attempt to elevate the claims of specific victims you know nothing about. 

Finally, permit me to express my surprise about your astounding ignorance concerning human memory and your dismissive, anti-intellectual attitude about what I know about it. I've read the classic study, The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology  by A. R. Luria, as well as Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer (who was Luce Professor of Collective Memory and Individual Memory at Washington UniversitySt. LouisMissouri)  and the textbook, Neuropsychology of Memory edited by Larry R. Squire and Daniel L. Schacter. I also have read Professor Bart Ehrman's new book, Jesus Before the Gospels, which he wrote after spending the last two years studying precisely how memory works. Based upon these and other books, below is a brief summary (which I've written elsewhere) of what I know:  Humans are capable of sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory. Their long-term memory consists of explicit (or conscious memory) and implicit (or unconscious) memory. Explicit memory also is known as declarative memory, which consists of episodic memory (personal events and experiences) and semantic memory (facts and concepts). Implicit memory is also known as procedural memory (allowing skills and tasks to be performed unconsciously). According to Professor Luria, “patients with massive lesions of the lateral zones of the prefrontal region cannot form a stable and active intention to memorize incoming information even though their general orientation and ability to retain traces of visual impressions remains unimpaired.  Also, they cannot make active attempts to find ways or means of assisting memorizing” (p. 300).

But, even assuming strong, healthy, frontal neocortex, a person never retrieves a complete snapshot, but “bits and pieces” of an experience that are stored in different parts of the brain.  As Professor Bart D. Ehrman puts it, quoting from F. C. Bartlett’s book Remembering, “When we try to retrieve the memory, the bits and pieces are reassembled. The problem is that when we reassemble the pieces, there are some, often lots of them, that are missing. To complete the memory we unconsciously fill in the gaps, for example, with analogous recollections from similar experiences.” (Bart. D. Ehrman, Jesus Before the Gospels, Harper One, 2016, p. 134.)  I suspect this explains John Doe 150's "memory" about "a football season to worry about.“ What Bartlett  consistently found was that if the person was asked to reproduce the object soon after looking at it, and at frequent intervals, then however it was recalled and replicated the first time was usually how it was replicated in later recollections, even if the first recollection was in error. On the other hand, if the subject did not reproduce the object right away, but much later, if the recollections were not in relatively quick and frequent sequence, then the reproductions changed significantly, time after time, with innumerable omissions, simplifications and transformations occurring ‘almost indefinitely’”(Ehrman, p, 136). 

Then, there’s the matter of distorted memories, which one can see in the account by Professor Ehrman about Emory University psychology students and the explosion of the Challenger spacecraft on January 28, 1986. As Ehrman notes: A day after the explosion, psychologists Ulrich Neisser and Nicole Harsch “gave 106 students in a psychology class at Emory University a questionnaire asking about their personal circumstances when they heard the news. A year and a half later, in the fall of 1988, they tracked down forty-four of these students and gave them the same questionnaire.  A half year later, in spring 1989, they interviewed forty of these forty-four about the event.” (Ehrman, p. 141) 

“The findings were startling but very telling.  To begin with, 75 percent of those who took the second questionnaire were certain that they had never taken the first one. That was obviously wrong.  In terms of what was being asked, there were questions about where they were when they heard the news, what time of day it was, what they were doing at the time, whom they learned it from, and so on – seven questions altogether.  Twenty-five percent of the participants got every single answer wrong on the second questionnaire, even though their memories were vivid and they were highly confident in their answers.  Another 50 percent got only two of the seven questions correct. Only three of the forty-four got all the answers right the second times, and even in those cases there were mistakes in some of the details.” (Ehrman, p. 141)

Now, Mr. Grossman, can you still dismiss my assertion that "a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can't possibly be completely true"?

Finally, as a journalist, Mr. Grossman, you should be aware of the   indisputable axiom propagated by Walter Lippmann: 

“One must first establish the true and the false of an issue before pontificating about the moral right or wrong of that issue.”

I urge you to try to do more of the former before recklessly jumping to the latter.

Sincerely,
Walter C. Uhler

I am pleased to have the opportunity to publish Walter Uhler's letter to Mr. Evan Grossman of the New York Daily News since it seems likely the Daily News will not.

There are a number of people who have spent a considerable amount of time seeking the TRUTH concerning the Sandusky Scandal and the part in it suffered by Joe Paterno.

As a liberal Tennessean with no connection to Penn State I am not inclined to apologize for a Conservative football coach and I find Walter Uhler's statements compelling. 

The PSU Board of Trustee's and Louis Freeh have created a situation where there was/is a great deal of money to be made by those who would wrongly accuse Penn State and Joe Paterno for ignoring reports or covering up for Jerry Sandusky's criminal behavior.

Just lodging a complaint with the help of a lawyer could result in a quick settlement when those Board members in control of the purse strings who decided that paying out and moving on was preferred rather than support the honor and integrity of a now deceased Coach who drew the ire of John Surma and his brother, Vic Surma, Sr.


Those decisions may have suited the Surma's and others who put their self-interest above all else, but they don’t (and never will) sit at all well with those who care about the reputations Penn State University and  Joseph V. Paterno.

Addendum: Many of Walter Uhler's excellent articles on the Sandusky situation can be found in this list on OpEd News 

Thursday, July 21

Feckless Exhibit 4: Keith Masser

This is installment four of a multi-part opinion/analysis series that will highlight some interesting information about current and former members of the Penn State University Board of Trustees. Exhibit 4:  Keith Masser, outgoing Chairman of the Board

by BHF23





Inspired by the doggedness of crack CNN reporter Sara Ganim as she chronicles the path and magnitude of the meteorological disaster du jour, I’ve put together a brief timeline of Chairman of the Board Keith Masser’s wide swath of destruction as a Penn State trustee. An estimate of the damage attributable in whole or in part to Masser will be represented by the following scale:




$- “He said what?”
$$- “Ooh…that might cost ‘em!”
$$$- “Oh, yeah…that’s gonna cost ‘em, all right!”
$$$$- “Uh oh.”

2008-Masser joined the BOT as an Ag representative (7/1/08).

2009/2010-Mostly, he just festered.

2011-Keith claims to have learned of Sandusky investigation for the first time (5/13/11). Took no action ($$). Festered some more.

2012-Was elected Vice-President of the BOT (1/20/12), becoming a member of executive committee, thus sharing responsibility with that group for their actions from this point forward ($$$$). Masser made public comments accusing “top administration and athletic officials” of a coverup on 6/16/12 ($). Attorney Rob Tribeck, since elected to the Board, remarked: “…(H)is statements, made as a member of the Board of Trustees, constitute a statement of the Board of Trustees and will undoubtedly be utilized in pending litigation against the university." ($$$) Oops! Masser apologized for his ill-advised comments a few days later (6/20/12). Following the release of the Freeh Report ($$$$) on 7/12/12 and signing of the consent decree ($$$$) on 7/23/12, Masser parroted the “move on” mantra ($$) on the Board’s ensuing teleconference call on 8/2/12.

2013-Masser was elected Chairman of the Board (1/18/13), almost immediately (3/15/13) brushing aside trustee Anthony Lubrano’s request to reconsider the Freeh Report ($$), saying the matter would be referred to the Legal and Compliance Committee. "Whether it comes out of committee is another question." ($) On 7/6/13, he told USA Today that the information disclosed in the Freeh Report was “speculation,” potentially a positive development. Oops, again! He then wrote a letter to the editor to USA Today two days later, charging them with running a “sensational headline” (“Penn State leaders don’t endorse Sandusky coverup findings”) and calling their editorial a “gross misrepresentation.” ($)


2014-Masser was deposed in the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit (11/24/14). Let’s see if we can detect a common theme in his responses:

“ I do know that the Board was interested in not having the NCAA do an investigation.”

“…the NCAA was to be made aware that we’re doing our own investigation to try to prevent the NCAA from doing their own investigation of Penn State.”

“My expectation was that Penn State’s own internal investigation, I was hopeful that it would prevent the NCAA from doing their investigation or from doing another separate independent investigation.”

“We were trying to keep the NCAA and utilizing the information that was being obtained from the Freeh Group to preclude them from doing their own investigation.”

Q: “And then that would – that Freeh Group investigation would hopefully prevent other organizations from doing their own investigations?” A: (Nodding head.)

“As I stated before, we were interested in not having the NCAA doing its independent investigation.”

“I was involved in a briefing that we were trying to keep – that the University was hoping to keep – was trying to keep the NCAA [from] doing their own investigation of this.”

“I just know top line that the – our own independent investigation that the University was doing their own investigation, to preclude another investigation being done.”

Q: “Your expectation was that hopefully the Freeh Group process would forestall action by other bodies including NCAA, and you named some of them before, too?” A: “Right.”

First words I’ve believed out of an Old Guard trustee’s mouth in five years. Is there any remaining doubt that Freeh was hired not to conduct an investigation, but to prevent one? ($$$$) 

On 12/15/14, Masser organized a boycott of a meeting called by Lubrano ($) to take action on a motion to have Penn State join the Corman v. NCAA lawsuit as a plaintiff, effectively killing the idea ($$$$).

2014/2015-Masser continued to stonewall alumni trustee requests to review the Freeh documents, eventually forcing a lawsuit (4/20/15) in which the alumni trustees prevailed (11/19/15; $$$). On 1/10/15, he appointed former trustee Ira Lubert (an officer in Masser’s business, Sterman Masser, Inc.) to fill Karen Peetz’s seat on the board following her resignation ($$$$). As COB, Masser appointed chairs for the University’s seven standing committees each year for three years, a total of 21 appointments. Exactly one was awarded to an alumni-elected trustee: Joel Myers in 2013, as chair of the Outreach, Development and Community Relations committee. Coincidentally, this appointment followed Joel’s 180 degree pivot away from calling for review of the Freeh Report on 8/10/12, shifting to full on “move on” mode in the Board teleconference call of 8/12/12. Quid pro quo, anyone? Among Masser’s other chairperson appointments: Lubert to Legal and Compliance in 2013 ($$$$; see also “settlements with alleged victims” and “What insurance coverage?”), and Mark Dambly to Finance, Business and Capital Planning for three consecutive years, 2013-2015 ($$$$; see also “Ancient Chinese proverb: When a man hires a cat to tend his goldfish pond, he will end up with fewer goldfish…and probably more cats.”) 

And on 6/22/15, with Penn State enmeshed in a commercial disparagement lawsuit with the Paterno family, a feckful chairman of the board might have considered it unwise to display a disparaging newspaper article about Joe Paterno on his Facebook page.



But that’s not how Keith rolls ($$$). On 9/18/15, the alert ChiTownLion saw the posting and reported it on BWI’s McAndrew Message Board. Later the very same day (no doubt completely unrelated to ChiTownLion’s “pantsing”), Masser took the post down. Juvenile stunt. Almost comical…if it weren’t so pathetic.

And this guy is the chairman of the board of a major university. Absolutely stunning.
And by the way, what exactly IS a 
"board of trustee"??

Wednesday, July 20

PS4RS Letter Calls To Disqualify Lubert as BOT Chair

Lubert’s ties to Sandusky’s charity should disqualify him from chairmanship


MEMO To: Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees
From: Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship
c.c: Governor Tom Wolf; Auditor General Eugene
DePasquale; Solicitor General Bruce Castor
Date: July 19, 2016
Re: Chairman Election
The leadership of Penn State has been under intense national scrutiny for nearly five full years. Rumors, accusations and unsupported conclusions — but very few proven facts — have divided our community and unfairly damaged the reputation of our fine university.
While Penn State’s liability remains unclear, one fact is indisputable: Jerry Sandusky used The Second Mile to gain access to every single one of his accusers. Just last week, that fact was reinforced in every claimant’s deposition related to the PMA Insurance case. Furthermore, the PA Solicitor General has undertaken a review of the activities and liability of The Second Mile. And, in a separate filing, Penn State indicated it plans to seek settlement funds from The Second Mile, asserting it was in a position to stop and prevent Sandusky from abusing children and negligently failed to do so.
The noose is tightening around The Second Mile… and with very good reason.
So, then, in evaluating candidates for the next Chairman of the Penn State Board of Trustees, we make this obvious — but emphatic — appeal: Please disqualify Ira Lubert, the candidate with deep, far-reaching and questionable ties to The Second Mile.
• Mr. Lubert previously served as a Director of The Second Mile from 2005 to 2008.
• Mr. Lubert has a track record of significant donations to The Second Mile, including in-kind usage of his own Green Hills Camp facility in Reading, PA.
• Mr. Lubert left the Penn State board after serving from 1997-2000 and returned as a Governor’s appointee in 2007-2014. During that time, he presided over the initial round of settlement claims worth $60 million. He then returned to the board in 2015 as a Business and Industry trustee.
• Despite a clear conflict of interest, Mr. Lubert served as chair of the Legal Subcommittee that oversaw the settlements that Penn State disbursed to claimants against Jerry Sandusky. This committee failed to coordinate with Penn State’s insurer, yet another error that is causing further financial and reputational damage to Penn State. Furthermore, this committee has failed to adequately pursue claims against The Second Mile, the organization that was truly responsible for Sandusky’s interactions with children.
Electing a Penn State Board Chairman so closely connected to The Second Mile will certainly NOT move Penn State forward. Rather, it will severely set us back and only raise more questions that threaten to even further compromise the integrity of Penn State and its leadership.
Instead, we urge you to consider supporting Governor’s Appointee Dr. Robert Capretto as 2016-2017 Chairman. Dr. Capretto is eminently qualified, engaged and poised to lead. Moreover, through his words and actions, he has already demonstrated his ability to unify, not just the Board of Trustees, but the many loyal stakeholders of Penn State. That quality in a Chairman is not only essential; it is long overdue. Thank you for your consideration.

PS4RS Statement on PMA Document Release

PS4RS Statement on PMA Insurance Documents Release


July 12, 2016 — Today, a Philadelphia judge released settlement records relative to Penn State’s ongoing dispute with PMA Insurance. The insurance carrier had previously declined coverage of $93 million in claims that the University had already dispersed to more than 30 Sandusky accusers.
Files released today provide no additional or definitive information with regard to Joe Paterno’s knowledge of accusations that allegedly date back to the 1970s. In fact, they raise even more questions as to the University’s overall liability, given the fact that most of the claimants were not part of the original Sandusky court proceedings, spoke only through depositions represented by their attorneys, and have not had their accusations corroborated nor substantiated in a court of law.
In fact, the most damaging and consistent information provided by the claimants was the initiation of every one of their relationships to Sandusky through The Second Mile, the non-profit organization he founded and funded. Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship has continually called for a state inquiry into the activities and liability of the charity that falls under the purview of the Office of the Attorney General, and served as a gateway to every one of Sandusky’s victims.
“Analysis of the information released today further underscores the Penn State Board of Trustees’ inability to act in the best interest of Penn State at every turn,” said Maribeth Roman Schmidt, spokesperson for Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, the grassroots watchdog group that has been critical of the trustees’ handling of the Sandusky case since 2011. “It is our opinion that the legal subcommittee is criminally negligent for paying out claims without first having the approval of the insurance company, and with seemingly haphazard inconsistency,” she said.
“Furthermore, today’s documents provide stunning insight into the University’s true opinion of the Freeh Report, for which it paid more than $8 million,” continued Schmidt. In its bid to hold PMA Insurance responsible for paying $93 million in claims, Penn State attorneys actually argued AGAINST the validity of the report, even scolding PMA for having a “myopic preoccupation with the Freeh Report.”
“This is the very document the University not only readily accepted without argument or challenge in 2012, but actually relied upon to pay the NCAA $60 million in fines. It is astounding that Penn State is blatantly trying to play both sides,” said Schmidt. “Why would the University accept the Freeh Report for the purposes of the NCAA Consent Decree, yet rebuke it when it comes to settlement claims?”
A final outcome of today’s document release exposes criticism regarding the lack of vetting of the claimants and the amounts of the settlements. An expert who reviewed the settlements characterized the payments as high to “extremely high.”
“This is a clear fiduciary breach on behalf of the Penn State Board of Trustees, and specifically the Legal Subcommittee who negotiated these settlements. We ask that any and all trustees who were privy to this process be summarily dismissed from their roles on the Penn State board.”
Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship (PS4RS), with more than 40,000 members, was formed to promote positive change within the University Board of Trustees, demanding transparent, trustworthy leadership. For further information on PS4RS, please visit www.PS4RS.org, email ps4rsinfo@ps4rs.org, or go to http://www.facebook.com/PS4RS. Follow PS4RS on Twitter at@PS4RS.

Tuesday, July 19

Feckless Exhibit #3: Mark Dambly

This is installment three of a multi-part opinion/analysis series that will highlight some interesting information about current and former members of the Penn State University Board of Trustees. Exhibit 3:  Mark Dambly.

by BHF23


After reviewing the previous installments of the series, I realize that our examination of the November 2011 trustees has suffered from a complete absence of two things: 1. feck; and 2. actual convictions.

Let’s talk about Mark Dambly. 



While a student at Penn State in 1979, Mark Dambly pled guilty to a disorderly conduct charge and spent five days jail following an altercation in downtown State College.  Those close to the story called it a "sweetheart deal."  You can read the details below.



I won’t transcribe WJAC-TV’s interview from November of 2013 with him here, but I will say that Dambly’s comical denial of any recollection of the event lacked only a “Yeah….that’s the ticket” flourish at its conclusion. 

You’d think the interview might also have jogged Dambly’s recall of a more recent arrest on DUI, possession of marijuana and moving violations charges in Chester County on April 22, 1987. Dambly entered a one-year Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition plan on August 18, 1987, paying costs and fees, and having his license suspended for three months. So now we’ve got “convictions” covered.

Maybe the memory thing is a chronic problem. Dambly also wasn’t quite sure when he learned about the Sandusky investigation, first pointing to Cynthia Baldwin’s report to the board in May of 2011, but later telling the New York Times: “We found out about it when the rest of the world found out about it.” Or possibly before or after that. Or maybe last Tuesday.

More disturbing as it relates to his current responsibilities are this paragon of virtue’s business history and associations. His Rewis & Dambly Developments, Inc. real estate partnership defaulted on a $1.3 million loan in 1992. His company’s (Pennrose Properties) preferred general contractor, J. J. DeLuca Co., Inc. was caught urging his subcontractors to submit $1.6 million in false invoices to the developer of a $79 million townhome/condo project in South Philadelphia, eventually resulting in a net $2.3 million award against DeLuca. (J. J. DeLuca Company, Inc., Appellant v. Toll Naval Associates, Toll PA GP Corp., Inc., and Toll Bros., Inc., Appellees, 56 A.3d 402 (2012), 2012 PA Super 222)


Allegations of political palm-greasing surfaced following a fund-raiser Dambly held for Republican U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon in September of 1992 (County Democratic vice chairman Joseph Merlino: “The word is, if you want to do business in Delaware County, you’ve got to do this to get into the club.”). So what’s Dambly been up to lately? Here are a few random facts for you: 1. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has been accused by the U.S. Justice Dept. (4/21/16) of taking bribes and kickbacks, treating campaign contributions “as incentives for past, continued and future official actions, and conspir(ing) and agree(ing) to commit extortion and bribery offenses in violation of federal criminal law”; 2. Since 2003, Dambly’s PAC has been Pawlowski’s largest single contributor at $42,000; 3. Dambly/Pennrose Properties have been awarded several contracts in Allentown, including one in 2013 for $45 million to develop a seven-story apartment and retail complex in the downtown area; and 4. On 1/27/16, Dambly and Pennrose were named in a subpoena related to the federal investigation of Allentown’s contracting practices. Cynics might suggest that two or more of these facts could be related. Me? I think he just forgot how this might look. I’m sure everything is fine.


Senator Dominic Pileggi
Former PA Governor
 Ed Rendell
At any rate, Dambly’s sponsor (mover and shaker Dominic Pileggi)and Governor Ed Rendell don’t need no stinkin’ background checks. Rendell appointed Dambly to the Penn State board effective October 2010. 


Mark, a solid “move on” guy, was elected to the executive committee in March 2012, and was given the combination to the safe on July 1, 2013, when Chairman Keith Masser appointed him to the first of three consecutive terms as chairman of the board’s Finance, Business and Capital Planning Committee.


Three years in a row. Somebody (Masser? Or someone else?) sure wants him in that position. In charge of, among other things, major construction projects. Dambly, Masser, former Second Mile financial guy Cliff Benson and Mary Lee Schneider also comprise the Finance subcommittee. I ran out of fingers and toes trying to add up the dollars in projects Dambly has gotten approved by the board since 2013. It’s a lot. In the board meeting of 11/20/15, he famously stomped his feet, held his breath, took his ball and went home when John Hanger, the non-voting representative to the board appointed by Governor Tom Wolf, dared ask a few questions about $101.7 million in requested expenditures for a residence hall and student union and dining building at Penn State Brandywine, and a student apartment building at Penn State Abington. Unmoved by the whining of the thrice “troubled” Dambly, Hanger responded: “I find it really remarkable - the tone of trustee Dambly’s comments. I will also say that this governor and his representatives on any board are not rubber stamps. And at least I do not apologize for asking tough questions, even if it’s relatively late in the process. Those questions are going to be asked and if people don’t like it, it’s kind of too bad, because we’re going to keep asking the tough questions.”

On 12/15/15, the Board rubber stamped the request. (Sorry…sometimes I can’t help myself.) See, this was seven months after Gov. Wolf had announced that Pennrose Properties had been awarded $11 million in tax credits over 10 years for a senior housing and office space project in…you guessed it…beautiful downtown Allentown! And John Hanger is now asking those tough questions at home in Massachusetts, after resigning to “spend more time with his family.” (Clarification: That is a point of information, not a suggestion that his departure is related to his questions at the board meeting.)

So…this $100+ million project? Sure would be an easy way to siphon buckets of money out of the till. StinkStankStunk has done some great work on this, and concluded that for $100 million, the project could be completed with enough left over to buy a couple small islands and a decent NBA free agent. Budget and cost review? Financing? Appraisal? Construction draw requests? Validity of invoices? Developer’s fees? Delays and cost overruns? “Contingencies”? Disbursements…disbursements…and more disbursements? All that and who knows what else, watched like a hawk by…Mark Dambly! So who’s watching Dambly?

In November of 2011, Mark Dambly knew what had to be done: “I personally thought that Joe did not fully meet his moral obligation and for that reason I felt he could no longer lead the University. I offered the thought, the trustees considered it and the feeling was unanimous.”

Ladies and gentlemen…Penn State’s financial watchdog and moral compass…a man with real conviction(s): Mark Dambly.

Sleep well. I’m sure everything is fine.

Update:  Mark Dambly is up for election as the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees which will occur this Friday when they meet at Penn State Wilkes-Barre. 


Friday, July 15

FRAUD? PSU Paid Freeh $260K for 1st Claim

Recent documents show that not only did PSU fail to properly vet claims, but it also very likely attempted to use their insurance coverage to pay for Freeh's phony investigation

By
Ray Blehar

Penn State University paid $260,626.31 to Louis Freeh for work allegedly done with regard to the first claim made by John Doe A

Exhibit G of the most recent document dump confirms that an October 2013 Penn State University (PSU) letter (at 7) asked that the Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association Insurance Company (PMA) reimburse PSU for the settlement amount, alleged investigative work done by Louis Freeh, and the negotiations conducted by Feinberg Rozen. 






PSU paid the claimant $1.25 million and the Maytag men of Feinberg Rozen picked up $29,788.12 for their "work."

PMA eventually rejected PSU's request for reimbursement based on its 1992 insurance policy's sexual molestation exclusion.  

No Work By Freeh
While PSU alumni and followers were recently appalled to hear that the University  paid around $93 million for unvetted claims, it is even more disturbing to think that PSU tried to fraudulently pay Louis Freeh out of this boondoggle.

According to the timeline of the settlements, John Doe A filed suit on November 30th, 2011 and that PSU submitted its coverage claim to PMA on January 6, 2012.   On January 30th, PMA notified PSU it was not entitled to coverage.

That means Freeh was on the job for about seven weeks -- including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years holidays -- when his firm allegedly racked up $260K of investigative and risk reduction services.

Yeah, right.

According to a detailed analysis of the Freeh Report, the investigative activities in November were mostly interviews and background information provided by then-PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin.

December investigative activities shifted to the football program, discipline related to football through interviews with student affairs, and investigation into possible NCAA violations. 

According to documents in the Corman case, Freeh's team was involved in setting up meetings with the NCAA and Big Ten at this time. 

It appears that investigative activities ceased around December 19th.  It is notable that on December 19th, the Freeh group interviewed officials in charge of football sports camps, who informed the investigators of Joe Paterno's lack of involvement in the football camps (Freeh Report at 36).

In early January, Freeh's team met with the NCAA and then followed up with PSU Athletic Department officials on January 10th.  On January 12th, they began looking at Sandusky's retirement benefits then moved on to investigating the Clery Act.

Finally, Exhibit Z (at 63) of the lawsuit contained a summary of a February 16, 2012 discussion written by PSU's Risk Officer Gary Langsdale. The document noted that PSU had no idea what Louis Freeh's group had gathered that might be available for discovery in the case. 

Conclusion
The available evidence reveals that Freeh's team did no work in conjunction with the John Doe A lawsuit during the time PSU was negotiating with PMA and provided no materials to the University related to the lawsuit (as of February 16, 2012).   As such, it appears PSU attempted to fraudulently bill PMA for Freeh's work that was unrelated to the pending lawsuit.

If this isn't malfeasance, I don't know what is.



Wednesday, July 13

WaPo Chooses Sensationalism Over Facts

The Washington Post's front page story today about the allegations made in claimant settlement depositions is another example of the media choosing to sensationalize a story by ignoring the facts

By
Ray Blehar

Since November 4, 2011, the media coverage of the Sandusky case has ignored the facts in order to provide sensational stories that defy common sense and logic.  Unfortunately, the media knows that the American public is willing to accept almost any story that tears down an icon or an institution.  

Examples include the Duke Lacrosse team, the University of Virginia Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, and the ongoing case of Penn State and Joe Paterno.   The two former cases made headlines and spawned many articles before the media figured out they were false.  

Giving the media the benefit of the doubt, it simply has no desire to consider the facts -- and routinely ignores them -- in Penn State's and Paterno's case.  The evidence of that is overwhelming and could be the subject of a novel, therefore, today's front page story in the WaPo will serve as a brief example.

The following is an annotated reproduction of the front page story.

The left hand column provides the errors/issues with the story and the right column adds information that would make the story more accurate.








Most people won't read past the front page, however, if they did they would have found more of the same shoddy work with a little bit of innuendo thrown in.  

If the readers made it to the very last paragraph, they would have learned that all of the allegations are unproven and uncorroborated.

However, as biased as this story was, how do Will Hobson and Cindy Boren explain the facts they ignored in the first few paragraphs of the story?

First, Hobson and Boren ignored the relatively recent (May 10, 2016) statement by Pennsylvania Solicitor General Bruce Castor that stated reports of the coaches knowing were uncorroborated and based on double and triple hearsay.

Next, there were ONLY THREE not guilty verdicts in the Sandusky case and one of them was Count 7 --the incendiary allegation of a rape (IDSI) -- made by Mike McQueary -- that caused the media firestorm. 




Hobson and Boren ignored that and instead treated McQueary's (uncorroborated/not credible) rape allegation as true because -- to them -- it apparently bolsters his latest (uncorroborated) allegation of coaches being aware of Sandusky's abuse.

Corroboration
One of the troubling aspects of the two latest rounds of media coverage on the PMA insurance case has been the media's failure to corroborate or fact check information in the rush to put out a story quickly.

However, the MOST troubling aspect of the media's coverage is its criticism of those who DO fact-check and/or otherwise look for corroborating evidence of the claimants.

According to retired FBI investigator, Kenneth Lanning, who authored Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis, corroboration of a victim's story is a vital investigative step.  











According to Sandusky's criminal profile, he was an acquaintance offender who slowly groomed his victims to comply with various levels of sexual abuse.  Not all victims would comply to the same levels, therefore there is varying testimony about the actual crimes.

However, what was consistent among Sandusky's victims was the manner in which he operated or his modus operandi.  To summarize, the met his victims through The Second Mile, took about one year to assess them and choose his targets, then began the grooming and victimizing of them.  

Much of the time, Sandusky would surround himself with a gaggle of boys in public settings and at the end of the day would drop the boys off at their homes until he and the eventual victim were alone in a private place.  At that point, the victimization would occur.

Sandusky, according to credible testimony from real victims:

1.  Never victimized a female.

2.  Never victimized a minor male in the presence of a minor female.

3.  Never overtly victimized a minor male in the presence of other minor males.

4.  Never overtly victimized a minor male in the (known) presence of other adults.

5.  Never victimized a stranger.

6.  Never used violence to force himself on a minor male.

7.  Never provided victims with drugs or alcohol in the commission of his crimes.

The recently unsealed claims and previously publicized claims include one or more of these as allegations by claimants who received settlements from Penn State.  

These claims fit Lanning's description of being based on sensationalized media accounts and erroneous public perceptions.  


However, are we really to believe that Hobson, Boren, and the editorial staff of the Washington Post weren't aware of how Sandusky perpetrated his crimes?

Or did they, just like in the Rolling Stone story about UVa, consider the scandalous stories of the claimants as "too good to be double-checked."  

People with at least one ounce of common sense already know the answer.