Saturday, September 8

A LAWYER Explains How the BoT Failed PSU

Lessons from Happy Valley

Penn State's missteps offer four important lessons for any organization that finds itself involved in a criminal investigation.

The National Law Journal
September 10, 2012

Unfortunately, Penn State lost control of its would-be best advocate. The so-called "Freeh report," produced by lawyers hired by the board of trustees, was protected by the attorney-client and work-product privileges and could not have been disclosed without the board's consent. Nonetheless, the board allowed it to be disclosed publicly without prior review — a serious tactical error. Regardless of any media clamoring, it's entirely appropriate for a client to review materials prepared by its own lawyers to determine if and how they're released. For example, even had the board concluded release was appropriate, it could have limited that release to factual findings and recommendations. Moreover, by removing the usual attorney-client constraints from the Freeh law firm, the board enabled its own attorneys to become its attackers instead of its advocates.


  1. Excellent article -- hits the nail on the head.

  2. Further indictment against the current Board of Trustees* and Penn State Leadership.

    *excluding the three newly elected alumni Trustees

  3. So, a very important piece of information is the name or names of those responsible for the critical decision to release that report without prior review. (I personally think some of the Board Members did review it. I personally think it was written according to their instructions. I just wonder, who, on that Board, was a part of that particular publicly-announced "release without review" decision.....) I do not believe for one second that the members of the PSU Board are as totally incapable of making even one rational leadership decision as the Board's total ineptitude has demonstrated since November of 2011. These are not stupid people. These are calculating intelligent business people whose primary concern is typically centered around two things: MONEY and POWER. No, they are not stupid. They are calculating, deceitful, power-hungry, arrogent, self-absorbed, shameful, wretched SCOUNDRELS!

    1. The co-chairs of the Special Investigations Task Force of the BOT were Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis. Other members of the task force were Eckel, Dambly, and Peetz (among others).

      Frazier, as the co-lead, announced the release without review decision as a means of ensuring transparency. Of course, there is an e-mail that surfaced indicating Frazier knew details of the investigation were leaked.

      Shari, you couldn't be more right. This is about money and power.

  4. There is no question that BoT knew exactly what Freeh would be releasing, and in fact, set him on the course to those conclusions when they hired him in November. If the BoT was truly appalled with the findings contained within, they would have demanded that the NCAA conduct their own independent investigation in order to get to the REAL truth. This is an organization deep in cover up. The title of this article should read "Four Important Lessons to Ensure you Get the Outcome You Desire from Your So-Called Independent Investigation." And, by the way, where are the letter of intent, memo of understanding and scope of work documents we asked the Board of Trustees to produce regarding the Freeh hiring? I want to know under what pretenses he was engaged.