Penn State picked Sandusky investigator from Corbett administration’s list

May 21, 2015

Leaders of the Penn State task force that oversaw the university’s Sandusky investigation chose their investigative firm exclusively from a list compiled by the Corbett administration, according to an e-mail released by the education department. Despite offers of help from numerous law firms, trustees Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis only considered three former prosecutors that … […]

Education Dept. won’t release 54,000 pages of Penn State, Freeh records

April 23, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education today refused to release thousands of pages of records it received as it investigated allegations that Penn State failed to publicly report criminal activity on its campuses. Citing an “ongoing law enforcement investigation” into the university’s compliance with the Clery Act, the government said it would withhold 54,000 pages of … […]

Frazier: Freeh report’s conclusions aren’t “irrefreutable”

January 29, 2015

The chairman of Penn State’s task force that oversaw Louis Freeh’s investigation last month has doubts that top Penn State officials decided not to report child abuse allegations to protect the reputation of the school’s football program. In a deposition given to lawyers as part of a lawsuit with Pennsylvania last month,  Trustee Ken Frazier … […]

Court orders review of e-mails between Attorney General, Freeh investigators

November 20, 2014

The Commonwealth Court today said it would review a cache of e-mails between the Attorney General’s office and investigators for Louis J. Freeh that the agency claims doesn’t have to release in response to a Right-to-Know Law request. In a 3-0 opinion, the court said an internal review of the records conducted by the OAG’s … […]

Court says e-mails with Freeh may be withheld

October 31, 2014

The Commonwealth Court today ruled that Penn State’s communications with Louis J. Freeh may be withheld due to the attorney-client and attorney-work product privileges. In a unanimous opinion, the judges said the work-product privilege isn’t limited to materials prepared in anticipation of litigation, and that we failed to prove Penn State waived the attorney-client privilege … […]

A big loss for desperate Frank Fina, but no e-mails in sight

September 21, 2014

Frank Fina had a very bad day. On Friday, a grand jury judge denied his request to keep hundreds of sexually explicit e-mails from four newspapers who sought the records under the Right-to-Know Law. Now the decision about whether to release the e-mails resides with Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Fina’s arch nemesis. Fina, a former prosecutor … […]

Corbett administration files second suit to conceal e-mails between Ron Tomalis, Penn State and governor’s aides

September 15, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Corbett administration on Friday asked a state appellate court to halt the release of hundreds of pages of e-mails sent between former secretary of education Ron Tomalis, Penn State officials and top aides to the governor. The 644 pages of public records in the hands of the Department of Education were … […]

Emails show discussions between Freeh, prosecutors were routine

May 28, 2014

The Pennsylvania Attorney General yesterday refused to release a series of e-mails between state prosecutors and investigators working for Louis J. Freeh. Discussions about investigative reports, seized evidence, and even “timesheets” won’t be disclosed because they’re exempt from access under the Right-to-Know Law,  wrote Senior Executive Deputy Attorney General Linda Dale Hoffa, in a six-page opinion. … […]

Thank you

May 12, 2014

As it turns out, sometimes the third time isn’t the charm. For the second straight year, Penn State alumni elected all three PS4RS-endorsed candidates. My eighth-place finish was respectable. The only candidates who garnered more than my 3,420 votes were supported by influential endorsements, backed by established advocacy groups or helped by their incumbency. I, … […]

E-mail: Corbett aide was warned about possible Sandusky subpoena

May 4, 2014

Former secretary of education Ron Tomalis warned a member of Gov. Tom Corbett’s staff that a subpoena to testify in a Sandusky investigation was on its way, according to a newly released e-mail. The April 25, 2012 note to Jennifer Branstetter, the governor’s director of planning an policy, appears to have been sent after Tomalis … […]

E-mail: Freeh investigator hoped prosecutors would win Penn State case

April 27, 2014

Less than a month after Louis J. Freeh began his probe into how Penn State administrators handled reports of child abuse, a senior member of his team hoped state prosecutors would win their case against officials charged with protecting Jerry Sandusky, according to a newly released e-mail. The comment by Freeh investigator Greg Paw was made … […]

“A natural leader who will hit the ground running”

April 19, 2014

The following is a message from well-known columnist Holly Swanson to the Penn State community. Dear Penn Staters, We are fortunate this year to have an exceptionally strong group of candidates running for the open seats on the Penn State Board of Trustees. One candidate, however, stands out to me as a natural leader who … […]

Tomorrow, reject the failed policies of the past

April 9, 2014

Ballots in the annual Penn State trustee election will be sent at midnight tonight. It’s a pivotal race that will mark a three-year effort to oust those who presided over the Sandusky scandal. But throwing the incumbent out of office isn’t enough. It’s critical to elect new leaders who’ve demonstrated they have the skill and … […]

On Thursday, vote for honesty and experience

April 6, 2014

On Thursday, voting will begin in a pivotal alumni trustee election that will mark the ouster of all alumni-elected trustees who presided over the Sandusky scandal. It will be a proud moment in Penn State’s 159-year history. But throwing them out of office isn’t enough. We need new leaders who’ve demonstrated they have the skill … […]

On verge of being hired, Freeh denied ties to Penn State, Second Mile

March 24, 2014

As Penn State was on the verge of hiring Louis J. Freeh to lead its internal probe of the Sandusky scandal, trustee Ken Frazier asked the former FBI director one last question. Even after a personal interview and a week of vetting by university and state officials, Frazier wanted to hear it from Freeh himself: … […]

Disclosure forms from two trustees won’t be made public

March 10, 2014

Last week, a Penn State attorney provided additional details about how it intends to make trustee conflict of interest disclosure forms available to the public. As I suspected, it won’t be as simple as putting them on a web site. The forms “will be available upon written request and during normal business hours,” wrote Penn State … […]

Attorney: Penn State will sort of release trustee disclosure forms

March 6, 2014

Another Penn State trustee has released his conflict of interest disclosure form after the Erickson administration refused to provide it to him for two months. Trustee Ryan McCombie became the second board member to provide a copy of his filing. He didn’t keep a copy himself, and was forced to ask for one from Penn State’s … […]

Some trustees skirt Pa. ethics rules

February 20, 2014

Longtime supporters know that since 2011, I’ve called for new rules that would require trustees to file annual financial disclosure statements. It’s the same thing that Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act requires public officials to do, and it would lead to a more transparent and accountable board. But recently I was surprised to find out that the Ethics … […]

One trustee discloses his disclosure form; most others refuse

February 15, 2014

Recall that in December, when I asked for copies of trustee conflict of interest disclosure forms, the administration refused to hand them over. Instead, it stood by its decision to provide a tidy, sanitized summary, despite the fact that board bylaws say they must be released. So I resorted to an old reporter’s tactic to … […]

No, I won’t back down

February 2, 2014

Since I announced my campaign for the Board of Trustees last month, one question has repeatedly cropped up: will I be able to continue my pursuit of public records if I’m elected to the board? The answer is, yes, I absolutely will. And nothing will change that. Since 2012, I have sought records in the … […]

You put me on the ballot. For that, I thank you.

January 28, 2014

Today I’m very honored to announce that I’ve secured a position on the 2014 Board of Trustees ballot. The response to my request for nominations was overwhelming. My inbox flooded with people who let me know they sent in my name. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have so much support. The … […]

Announcing my candidacy for the Board of Trustees

January 14, 2014

More than two years ago, the world tried to destroy the Penn State family. And our own leaders turned their backs on us when we needed them the most. Today Penn State is in a better place, but more work lies ahead. And as the university community marches forward, we have to remain committed to … […]

‘After Further Review’ heads to San Diego

January 4, 2014

Franco Harris’s “After Further Review” program will hit the road next weekend in advance of the NCAA’s annual convention in San Diego, California. I’m honored to be invited to participate. Date: Jan. 11, 2014 Time: 10:30 a.m. Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront Read the official press release. The event is free and open to the public. I’ll be … […]

Trustees won’t disclose their disclosures

December 27, 2013

It’s a rare to see Penn State’s trustees take any action to improve transparency. So we cheered in August when they adopted a stronger conflict of interest policy, which included the filing of annual disclosures that are supposed to be made public. But last week, they let us down again. Instead of simply releasing the disclosure … […]

PSU told Freeh to give updates to NCAA

December 15, 2013

There’s been a lot of speculation followed by a little evidence that Freeh was in cahoots with the NCAA. The Paternos et. al. have alleged as much in their lawsuit. I wrote about how the Big Ten and NCAA wanted to collaborate with Freeh, and a statement confirming some sort of relationship by a Penn … […]

DA’s office: records request was “zealous attack” against sex abuse prosecution

December 9, 2013

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’s office spent four months fighting the release of records that it says it doesn’t even have. Now we get to find out why. In July, I asked his office for e-mails and other documents sent to Sandusky prosecutor Frank Fina from former supervising grand jury judge Barry Feudale and a bunch … […]

Corbett struggled to wield influence with Penn State board

December 2, 2013

In late November 2011, Penn State’s trustees faced a leadership crisis as they began to deal with the fallout from the Sandusky scandal. Already weakened by having to delegate his duties in the first few days of the crisis, Chairman Steve Garban was preparing to leave his position as soon as the trustees elected a new chairman … […]

Announcing the Penn State Sunshine Fund

November 11, 2013

On Saturday night I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion about the events of November 2011. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed and we’re still seeking answers about what happened in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. As you may know, I spent the last year fighting for your … […]

State orders Phila. DA to release correspondence with Freeh, others

November 6, 2013

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records on Monday ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney to turn over correspondence with people involved in the Sandusky investigation. Email and other documents between  former state prosecutor Frank Fina to former supervising judge of the grand jury Barry Feudale,  Louis Freeh and other members Freeh’s team must be released within … […]

NCAA got regular updates from Freeh

November 4, 2013

I’ve previously written about how the NCAA and Big Ten requested to participate in Penn State’s investigation into how it handled allegations of child sexual abuse. However, none of the letters indicated whether their request was granted or not. Yesterday I came across a statement by a university attorney who said Freeh provided regular updates … […]

In sanctions’ wake, three trustees fought, then fell in line

November 2, 2013

When Rodney Erickson accepted the unprecedented sanctions that were forced by the NCAA last year, it’s well known that Joel Myers criticized what he said was an unauthorized signing of the consent decree. But behind the scenes, one other trustee also railed against the agreement to fellow board members, and another questioned whether the university … […]

Email shows Frazier, Tomails had direct tie to NCAA, Big Ten

October 18, 2013

The leaders of Penn State’s committee that oversaw Louis J. Freeh’s investigation personally dealt with inquiries from the NCAA and the Big Ten conference, according to an e-mail recently released from the Department of Education. As the university’s internal investigation got under way, trustees Ken Frazier and Ron Tomalis had personal conversations with both athletic … […]

Feds cleared Spanier after information from Freeh

October 7, 2013

Federal investigators cleared former Penn State President Graham Spanier for secret government work last year after Louis J. Freeh turned over information he said should have disqualified him for the post. Commenting on Spanier’s involvement with a project for an undisclosed government agency, Freeh expressed surprise in an April 12 e-mail that his national security clearance … […]

Penn State files to keep records under wraps

October 2, 2013

Madison, Wis. – Penn State University filed papers this week to keep records related to its Sandusky investigation from becoming public. Writing that the release of some emails sent to trustees would cause “substantial harm,” univeristy lawyers intervened in an appeal that challenged a decision by the Department of Education to withhold some records under … […]

The curious case of Keith Eckel

September 22, 2013

Rolling your eyes at trustees’ antics has become the norm at Penn State board meetings. But Trustee Keith Eckel, who heads the trustees’ Governance and Long-Range Planning Committee, took inanity to a new level with two anti-transparency comments that left his mouth over the last few months. First, there was his Sept. 12 comment about … […]

Big Ten sought “collaboration” with Freeh, NCAA

August 28, 2013

As Penn State began its investigation into the Sandusky scandal, the Big Ten Conference didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and wait for an invitation to jump into the game. Alongside the NCAA, the conference sought to immerse itself in Penn State’s internal investigation led by Louis J. Freeh, according to a document recently … […]

Police say they lost Freeh document, can’t look for e-mails

August 8, 2013

Apparently, following simple directions isn’t as easy as it seems. After the Pennsylvania State Police was ordered to turn over correspondence with Louis J. Freeh last month, officials say they’ve lost one letter and can’t search for e-mails without knowing what they say. The letter was sent to state Police Commissioner Frank Noonan shortly after Penn State … […]

The secret story of Schultz’s so-called “secret” file

August 2, 2013

Dauphin County court officials yesterday posted transcripts of this week’s preliminary hearing. In the event you didn’t immediately read the more than 300 pages of testimony, they reveal many details not previously known, including some that poke even more holes into the sieve that’s commonly known as the Freeh report. The testimony of Kim Belcher, … […]

Freeh helped Pa. prosecutors after Penn State work

July 8, 2013

Investigators for Louis J. Freeh continued to help state prosecutors for more than three months after they ended their work for Penn State, according to records from the state Attorney General’s office. Instead of cutting ties with law enforcement when he issued his report in July last year, Freeh’s firm continued to assist the attorney … […]

Corbett concedes key issue on release of Penn State trustee records

April 9, 2013

The Corbett administration announced yesterday that state records of Penn State trustees should be subject to Pennsylvania’s open records law. Conceding a key issue in a dispute over whether trustee records of Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis are public, an administration spokesman told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a ruling by the Office of Open Records improperly … […]

In reversal, Corbett wants to conceal Penn State records

April 8, 2013

The Corbett administration is fighting to conceal state documents that show what a handful of public officials did while serving on Penn State’s Board of Trustees. Calling it “ridiculous” to have to release records of so-called “ex-officio” board members, Corbett attorneys last month asked the Commonwealth Court to let it keep records of the governor … […]

The values of the corporate executive candidate

March 19, 2013

PS4RS is out with their top-six picks. Anthony Lubrano has endorsed his favorite three. The 2013 trustee race is getting some clarity. After last year’s election, my wife, who’s a statistics wizard, plugged some number into her computer and came up with the following observations: the alumni preferred candidates who were older than me (I’m … […]

Emails draw new, more reasonable conclusions

March 11, 2013

The 12 emails between state prosecutors and Freeh investigators I released today don’t prove a thing. They don’t indicate that Paterno, Spanier, Curley or Schultz are innocent, and they won’t convince the world that anybody that has anything to do with Penn State isn’t scum. What they do suggest, if not confirm, is that the … […]

Why I’m running for the Board of Trustees … again

January 14, 2013

It’s been more than a year since Penn State found itself facing a crisis of historic proportions. We watched for a week as the university’s leaders failed us over and over again. Many expected that the Board of Trustees would quickly change its practices to end the culture of secrecy and cronyism that has prevailed … […]

State orders release of Freeh contracts

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has ordered  the Department of Education to release copies of contracts that involve Louis Freeh’s law firm. The Dec. 28 order by Appeals Officer Audrey Buglione also said the department can’t claim that it’s allowed to withhold the records under other exceptions listed in the state’s Right-to-Know Law. “The … […]

Corbett dodges responsibility, fights to keep Penn State records secret

January 2, 2013

Tom Corbett became Pennsylvania’s favorite politician for a day. In a bizarre move that many are still struggling to completely understand, the embattled governor and Penn State trustee suddenly decided to fight the university’s unfair and unprecedented sanctions by filing an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA. It came six months after the sanctions were imposed, and went forward without … […]

Stonewalled: State official dodges questions about Freeh contract

December 4, 2012

Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis has one thing to say about whether he has a copy of Penn State’s contract with Louis Freeh: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” That was essentially his department’s response to my latest request for a copy of the contract – the third time my request was deemed so unclear that … […]

Trustee scoffs at ethics reform, transparency

November 19, 2012

Ever hear of a guy named Carl Schaffer? Neither have I. Until yesterday, that is, when the Centre Daily Times said the trustee “scoffed” at recommendations to raise transparency and accountability at Penn State. In response to a plan for reform released by state Auditor General Jack Wagner on Wednesday, Shaffer, who’s also the president … […]

Did Trustee Tomalis commit perjury?

November 18, 2012

For the last few months, I’ve been trying to get a copy of Penn State’s agreement with Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan that governed the conduct of its investigation. Ron Tomalis, the Penn State trustee and Secretary of Education, was also second in command of the board committee that hired Freeh. So you’d think he, of … […]

Documents reveal secret June retreat, e-mail to Freeh

August 23, 2012

Penn State trustees held a secret “retreat” earlier this year, and had at least casual contact with consultants who were investigating the Sandusky scandal, according recently released state documents. The idea of a June gathering was talked about during the trustee’s public meeting in May, according to an e-mail from Paula R.  Ammerman, the board’s … […]

Alumni group’s membership explodes, but can it lead?

July 30, 2012

After Penn State leaders agreed to a fierce beating from the NCAA last week, alumni, angered by the sanctions’ depth, looked for somebody – anybody – to stop the State College train that keeps wrecking itself. For many, their search ended at Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, the grass-roots, Facebook-centered group whose membership rose by … […]

Steve Garban quietly falls on his sword, and takes an opportunity with him

July 19, 2012

Hey. Did you hear that? Steve Garban, the embattled Penn State trustee, finally resigned tonight. He knew about the Sandusky charges a week before they were announced, but apparently did nothing to stop the train wreck from unfolding. What? You didn’t hear anything? Oh, right. That’s because his resignation barely made a whisper. There was … […]