Wednesday, September 30

Old Main's Leaks & Confidentiality Smokescreen

In June 2012, Ken Frazier was cheerleading for the expected "leaks" to be featured on the Today Show and when they occurred, Old Main said little.

Ray Blehar

In the most recent round of filings over access to the Freeh Source materials, Penn State's legal team, led by William Odea, argued (at 44) hypothetically that confidentiality must be maintained because if a person applied to be President of the University, and the alumni trustees  "leak the information that that person has applied and it undermines them and that's it."

So, they're afraid "leaks" might undermine someone?  Really?

Let's flash back to June 11, 2011....

Frazier: Cheerleader For Leaks
Former Board of Trustee (BOT) member, Ken Frazier, who was the co-chair of the Special Investigations Task Force (SITF) that oversaw the Freeh investigation, was cheerleading for the leaking of grand jury information to the media.   

The email below, obtained by PSU alumnus Ryan Bagwell, shows Frazier's June 11, 2012 communique to SITF co-chair Ron Tomalis the Freeh group alerting them that the emails (gathered in response to a 2011 grand jury subpoena) might be featured on the Today Show.  

How did Frazier know that grand jury information was going to be leaked?  And who was in on the leak?  

The short list includes Old Main, the PA OAG, the Freeh group, and the NCAA.      

Old Main Stays Silent, Masser Condemns 

At the bottom of the email, it's clear that the University did not decry the leaked information, but instead stated "it cannot comment."   Ironically, it went on to state it would "cooperate" to "determine what happened and ensure personal accountability."

So, did Old Main attempt to find out who leaked the information and hold them accountable?

Of course not -- and the reason was that "elephant in the room."

Old Main and the Board needed Freeh's investigation to justify the firings of Spanier and Paterno.  The leaks helped advance their cause.

The next day, Old Main and the Board got the rest of what they were looking for when Tomalis mentioned that an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer "had the Paterno hook."  In other words, it mentioned that Paterno was referenced in the 2001 email.

At the time the emails were leaked, neither former President Graham Spanier nor the late Joe Paterno had been accused criminal conduct.  After the leaks, papers reported that Spanier (and Paterno had he been alive) could be facing criminal charges.  But there were no sentiments from Old Main about either man being "undermined" by the leaks.

Masser: Begged forgiveness for
his unauthorized statement  
Instead, then BOT vice-chair Keith Masser took the opportunity - based on excerpts of emails - to sway the court of public opinion and convict Spanier, among others, of not informing the proper authorities.

"It now appears like top administrative officials and top athletic officials were involved in making the decision to not inform the proper authorities."

 "From a board standpoint it was Judge Freeh's investigation that found these emails that relate Spanier, Curley and Schultz to the suspected cover-up."

Masser faced calls for his resignation over his statement.  PS4RS opined that Masser's  statement could be interpreted as an official position and used against Penn State in a court of law.  In another email, Frazier apparently echoed that sentiment, opining Masser's statement was "unhelpful." 

Masser later retracted his statement and apologized to the Board

Selective Undermining 

The engagement letter between the SITF and Freeh stated that the Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan (FSS) group would: "immediately report any evidence of criminality to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and provide notice to the Task Force" and  "communicate regarding its independent investigation performed hereunder with media, police agencies, governmental authorities and agencies, and any other parties as directed by the Task Force."

On April 12, 2012, SITF Co-chair Ron Tomalis sent an email to Freeh and Frazier regarding a recent media report that Graham Spanier was to begin employment in a national security position.  Tomalis sarcastically noted that "someone might not have done their homework."

Freeh responded that "we have done our job in notifying federal prosecutors."

Spanier's clearance was revoked as a result of the information passed to the federal government by Freeh.  

Rewind the clock to December 2011 and you'll see that Freeh didn't abide by the engagement letter when it was determined that Cynthia Baldwin was facing charges of contempt.

Lead Sandusky prosecutor, Frank Fina, sent a letter to then-PSU General Counsel Cynthia Baldwin castigating her for failing to comply with a subpoena concerning Sandusky's retirement information, as well as for a "lengthy history of noncompliance."   

Fina stated that the Sandusky retirement information had just been received on December 19, 2011, nearly a full year after it was originally subpoenaed. 

The December 19th letter from Fina set off a chain of emails between Frazier, Tomalis, Omar McNeil of FSS, and PSU hired attorney, Frank Guadagnino regarding what to do about Baldwin.

Frazier, Freeh and Tomalis: Torched
Spanier, but let Baldwin walk away
Frazier: "I just finished speaking with Frank. I explained why I think there are issues with the incumbent [Baldwin].  He agrees.  I believe he will be providing that advice to Surma when they meet tomorrow.

McNeil:  "any further need for Louie to follow up? I trust that Frank got a clear message from you."

Frazier:  "I think I was very direct. After hearing my position he said he was already thinking in a similar direction. No need for Louie to call." 

Frazier's coded language -- "issues with the incumbent" --  was a reference to the OAG's  "intent to pursue contempt" charges against Baldwin.

On January 16th, 2012, the board held a briefing call about "Strategic Issues Moving Forward."  

The next day, Baldwin announced her retirement.  The media reported her retirement was unrelated to the Sandusky scandal.

It's very likely that FSS asked if they needed to intervene or follow-up because Baldwin was not one of the "targets" of their investigation.  When they asked, the SITF told them to stand down. 


As stated in my last post and as above, the elephant in the room regarding the position of Old Main not to allow review of the Freeh Source materials is that it is all about self-interest.

The Board majority voted, without making a single statement to support their position,  to pay out untold millions of dollars to prevent the legal team of Victim 9 from accessing those documents.  

Undoubtedly, the source materials would prove what most people already know -- the Freeh Report's pre-determined conclusions weren't based on any real evidence.  Tampered evidence, maybe, but not real evidence.

Two lawsuits involving the Freeh documents pit the Board majority and Old Main against opponents who won't and can't be bought.

The smokescreen is lifting.

1 comment:

  1. If those emails leaked to the Today Show in 2012 were grand jury evidence, might that leak be a criminal violation of grand jury secrecy rules?

    You make a strong case that the Trustees are hypocritical in multiple ways. They argue in court they want to maintain confidentiality but didn't seem to care about the Spanier-Curley-Schultz emails being leaked to the Today Show in 2012. They would be outraged if the Freeh Report source materials were similarly leaked.

    They didn't criticize Baldwin for her poor job performance, and possible obstruction of justice, but praised her as she retire. Yet they abruptly fired Paterno and forced Spanier out, then badmouthed Spanier in violation of the non disparagement clause in his contract.

    The handling of Baldwin's retirement seemed the same kind of thing Freeh accused Spanier of when Penn State lauded Sandusky as he retired in 1999. Baldwin was lauded as she retired despite her poor job performance and possible criminal activity.