Wednesday, February 9, 2011

AUBurgeddon: Newton investigation’s costly price tag and media fail

BeanWaitWhut In a story from the Birmingham News’ Jon Solomon today, we learn that Auburn University has shelled out a hefty $170,000 or so in legal fees in connection with the NCAA investigation of allegations surrounding former Auburn Quarterback, Cam Newton.

That’s not pocket change, and it looks like there’s a lot more moolah to be spent in the months ahead.  The fact that there’s to be a lot more legal expenses going forward might be news to some people, as is explained in a little better detail later on.

Solomon says:

Auburn University says it has spent approximately $170,000 in attorney fees on the Cam Newton case during the past 4 months.

Auburn Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Carr said Tuesday the fees started in mid-October and have all gone to Lightfoot, Franklin, White LLC, the university's Birmingham-based legal counsel.

Auburn provided the information in response to an open-records request by The Birmingham News.

By way of comparison, Solomon notes that the University of Alabama spent a total of $188,443 on the textbook case. He does not note that the textbook matter is altogether closed.

Which leads us to another little nugget of gold provided to the state media cartel’s readers, courtesy of a quote from Mike Slive. Slive was interviewed yesterday by ESPN’s SEC Beat Writer, Chris Low.

The following exchange takes place, and the topmost is repeated in Solomon’s story:

Does the NCAA’s investigation of Cam Newton and his father, Cecil, remain open?

MS: You’re going to have to ask them, but nobody has written me a letter that says it’s over.

How did you feel about Cecil being there at the end of BCS National Championship Game after telling Auburn officials he would not attend?

MS: If it was up to me, I would have preferred that he not be in the stadium.

OMG! WTF! You mean the NCAA isn’t through investigating Cam Newton and Auburn?!? Hasn’t fellow cartel writer Charles Goldberg of the venerable Auburn Bureau told us over and over and over again that the NCAA has already investigated the matter and “found nothing wrong?”

Has the fambly called in the dogs and pissed on the fire too soon, Nelly?

This is a dark, dark day for denizens of the 334 area code, folks. Especially those who don’t surf the net or read reputable national sportswriters such as Thayer Evans of Fox Sports or Pete Thamel of the New York Times. These and other notable journalists have reported on the very active, very much ongoing nature of the NCAA investigation. Conversely, the state media cartel has cheerfully kept up the fambly meme that the NCAA already finished it’s looky-see and declared them all clean and innocent.

It looks like that $170,000 is a mere down payment. A retainer fee, if you will. Because the ongoing nature of the NCAA investigation of the Newtons and Auburn isn’t all the state media cartel fails to report on.

They fail to note that Lightfoot Franklin & White is the same firm representing Auburn Trustee, booster and puppeteer Bobby Lowder in the Colonial Bank Employees’ class action lawsuit against him, in which the former employees allege that he mismanaged, swindled and otherwise ruined their financial interests in running his bank into the ground.

They fail to note that the sitting Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs, once ran the athletic department’s fundraising colossus, Tigers Unlimited Foundation, which paid out millions to the lobbying firm of Robert Geddie. You know… the Auburn graduate who is one of the 11 people indicted and charged in the BingoGate case. For the slower folks in the 334 Fambly, let me spell that out for you in clear, fifth grade language: Your AD has a documented business relationship with a man who will stand trial as part of a conspiracy to commit fraud, bribery, extortion and money laundering. That is, unless he flips. After all, he’s being represented by the same firm who represents Auburn in the Cam Newton case and Lowder in the Colonial class action case. Franklin’s skills as a negotiator are legendary in the legal community. He represents his clients professionally and thoroughly.

All of’em.

I can’t be too harsh on the state media cartel. In truth, the Birmingham News went all rogue and stuff when they filed the open records request. Solomon often sometimes controls his homerism, plays it straight down the middle and reports the news. Press-Register Sports Editor Randy Kennedy is about as professional as they come. But our state media cartel is clearly dropping the ball on this story and potentially missing out on the opportunity to win Pulitzers.

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