October 10, 2006

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Badger Update

This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger, Sept. 14, 2006
Costs for presidential scandal surpass $600,000
Independent review costs time, money, patience
by Miguel M. Morales

Badger & Levings bill for the yet to be delivered report on the “the public allegation involving Dr. Carlsen” exceeds $342,880.
The Board of Trustees hired Betsy Badger’s law firm May 4.
The bill for Corporate Communications Group, a Kansas public relations firm hired by the board, grew to $54,554 and Carlsen’s voluntary retirement cost the college $234,430.
As of press time, The Ledger could not obtain fees from the law firms of Lathrop & Gage and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

The Money

So far the grand total for the presidential scandal comes to $631,864.
How much is that?
According to the newly lowered mill levy, 2,697 Johnson County homeowners must pay in taxes on their homes (valued at $229,934, paying $234.29).
It could also provide 836 tuition-only scholarships for fulltime students (12 hours @ $63 per credit hour = $756).
During the Board of Trustees meeting May 4, Lynn Mitchelson, trustee, questioned Badger about the potential cost of the investigation.
Badger said at that point the final cost is unknown.
“Mr. Ferguson [the board’s attorney] emphasized when we talked to him that you were stewards of this money,” Badger said. “We certainly have no problem with that -- all of our clients feel that way.”
Theresa Levings, also an attorney of Badger & Levings, has assisted Badger in the investigation.
According to Badger’s acceptance and confirmation of terms letter, both lawyers bill the college at $250 per hour each. The letter also states the firm's other lawyers and staff may assist at rates ranging from $85 - $160 per hour.
"I don’t know anything about it."

Elaine Perilla, trustee
The Report
Badger told the Board of Trustees the investigation would take approximately 30 – 45 days placing the final report submission date in mid June 2006.
Despite being present when Badger presented monthly updates to the board in Executive Sessions, Elaine Perilla, trustee, denied knowledge of the report.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Perilla said.
Jon Stewart, trustee, said he did not know the exact date trustees will receive and subsequently release the report to the public.
“The target we thought we would have was the end of August,” Stewart said. “I think we should get it at anytime.”
Stewart said it may be presented at the next board of trustees meeting slated for Sept. 21.
“I don’t have any inside information on that,” he said.” I’m just hopeful we can hit it by then.”
Vincent Clark, professor of History and president of the Faculty Association, agrees with Stewart. “We basically hope the report is complete,” Clark said.
Stewart confirmed part of the delay in presenting the final report to the board came in response to a death in Badger’s family.
“I don’t know if there were other delays but that was certainly one,” he said. “I’d like to make sure that whatever we get is something that can help us put processes and procedures in place in the future that will make it a lot easier for people to come forward.”
The Timeline
April 17
Trustee meeting
– Perilla, as board chair, charges Ferguson with presenting candidates to serve as independent review.
April 26

Trustee meeting
– after an Executive Session, trustees release a document with two recommendations. The first calls for the immediate hiring of an independent reviewer to conduct a review of “the public allegation involving Dr. Carlsen.” The recommendation also calls for the independent reviewer to report results to the full Board of Trustees in Executive Session.
“The findings and recommendations will not be disclosed publicly in order to protect the confidentiality of personnel,” the document reads.
The second recommendation calls for hiring Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC.
April 28
– nine past presidents of the Faculty Association submit an e-mail letter to the Board of Trustees and the media. It calls for Perilla to “resign her chairmanship and excuse herself from any decision-making role in the Carlsen case.”
It also calls for the independent review findings to be made public.
Later that day Perilla and Mitchelson issue a joint media statement in response to the Faculty Association’s letter. The letter reaffirms the board’s intention to keep the results private.
“I believe this process is fair to the staff and responsive to the taxpayers,” the statement reads.

The Campus Ledger
reports Susan Lindahl, vice president College Relations and Strategic Initiatives, and Badger attend the same Overland Park church.
May 4

Trustee meeting
– Badger addresses conflicts of interest.
“I do attend Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church,” Badger said. “I am not a member of that church. I do sing in the choir. That was accurately reported.”
Badger also discloses that Brian Badger, associate professor of Information Technology, is her brother-in-law.
Trustees vote to sign Badger’s letter of acceptance and confirmation of terms. The letter states that communications between Badger, the firm and the board will fall under attorney-client privilege.
May 11
– the Faculty Association votes 208 - 20 to send a statement to the Board of Trustees. The statement calls on trustees to conduct a complete investigation, eliminate any possible appearance of conflict of interest and issue a complete public report.
July 13

Trustee meeting
– trustees hear an interim report from Badger.
Mitchelson reads the following statement: "The board received an update tonight about the progress of the review from our attorneys. Their work is nearing an end but is not yet complete. We hope to receive their report soon and learn from it and move the college forward. With assurances from legal counsel that the identities of persons interviewed during the investigation will be protected, it is the intention of the board to release the report of the review when it is received by the board."
Aug. 8

Trustee meeting
– trustees hear an interim report from Badger.

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