U officials estimate legal fees paid in four years

V. Paul

McKinley Boston, vice president of Student Development and Athletics, said Thursday he hopes the $2.5 million price tag for the men’s athletics investigations and Clem Haskins’ contract settlement will be paid for in at least four years.
However, University officials are hesitant to draw up a specific payment plan until most legal costs are accounted for. They expect that to happen after Jan. 1, when budget negotiations will also occur, said Richard Pfutzenreuter, the University’s chief financial officer.
“Lawyers are notoriously slow about billing,” he joked.
Pfutzenreuter said he advised Boston not to spend anything not already in the men’s athletics budget this year and that any budget surplus should go toward paying the legal fees.
The men’s athletics operating budget for the 1999-2000 school year is $20.5 million.
“We’re pretty certain that any surplus this year will apply to the balance (of payments),” Boston said.
It is unclear how much will be paid, because they are only working with revenue estimates, he said.
To date, the legal bills have been paid by University administration, authorized by Tonya Moten Brown, chief of staff for University President Mark Yudof. Men’s athletics revenue will be allocated for the investigation costs later, Pfutzenreuter said.
Because revenue from all University men’s and women’s sports flows into a single account, other sports teams cannot be insulated from the impact of a repayment plan, Pfutzenreuter said.
This system allows revenue-generating teams to fund nonrevenue teams, Pfutzenreuter said.
“Probably 90 percent of income generated into this pot of money is generated by men’s sports,” Boston said.
In June, Yudof committed the men’s athletics program to repaying Haskins’ $1.5 million contract buyout in addition to investigation legal fees. Combined legal fees for the sexual misconduct and academic fraud investigation exceed $1 million.
After Jan. 1, University officials expect to work to build a payment plan that will not decimate University sports.
“You take money from men’s (athletics), it hurts all athletics at the institution,” Pfutzenreuter said. “But the intent of the president is to not make that a hardship.”
A payment plan involves looking at the balance leftover from the men’s athletics budget for the current school year, and the possible payment allocations that can be made for the department’s 2001 budget, Pfutzenreuter said.
Legal fees breakdown
Outside attorneys heading up the seven-month academic fraud investigation have charged the University more than $700,000 in legal expenses.
Donald Lewis, a Minneapolis attorney, billed the University $396, 937. Michael Glazier, a Kansas City attorney, spent $316,436 in legal costs, said Amy Phenix, a University spokeswoman.
Lewis also handled the University’s six-week investigation into allegations that men’s athletics officials intervened in sexual assault and harassment complaints against athletes. That investigation cost $312,406.
In July, investigators reported 12 instances of intervention by University officials in sexual misconduct cases. University officials are expected to release the academic fraud investigative findings to the public in November.

V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]