Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Potshots at Former Texas Dean Larry Sager...Yawn

Will they ever lay off Larry Sager and the University of Texas?

If you'll recall, there were some silly allegations thrown about against Larry Sager, former Dean of the University of Texas' Top 17ish law school.  Well, even though the UT thoroughly investigated the matter and the state legislature tried to impeach the muckraker for his "unreasonable and burdensome requests for records and information from UT Austin", the Texas attorney general got in on the fun and issued a "damning" report.

This is infuriating.  Sager and the University of Texas had a good thing going: scurrilous behavior, a well-done cover-up, and politicians and media who think investigation and transparency is a form of harassment, if not treason.  Then a god-damned UVA grad attorney general and his cabal of mischievous underling investigators have to play spoilsport.

I mean, look at this scandalous nonsense:
The report concludes that former law school Dean Lawrence Sager "supported a lack of transparency."
Like a prestigious law school would lack transparency!
[Investigators] found that the UT Law School maintained a set of double books for its so-called "forgivable loan" program...
Who wouldn't keep double books?  What if one gets lost?  Or this non-story:
The squirreliest chapter of the report deals with a lawsuit brought by law school Professor Linda S. Mullenix accusing Sager of running a secret good-old-boy pay scheme in violation of university bylaws and of state and federal law....

Sager denied to investigators that he was worried about the suit's potential for taking the off-the-books compensation scheme public, but the investigators found Sager's own notes in which he said just that...

Instead of reporting the lawsuit first to the university's general counsel, Sager took the matter to the law firm Vinson & Elkins. Out of that process came a lucrative settlement with Mullenix including "a forgivable loan from the foundation, a state-funded permanent pay increase and reimbursement of attorney's fees," all tossed together without proper signatures and in a way the investigators said "did not follow required internal approval processes for settlements."  
"Squirreliest" can't be a real word.  Besides, how is he a bad guy for paying a fair settlement to an injured party?  Remember, it can't be hush money (particularly to a law professor steeped in the highest virtues of social justice) unless it's a really good deal!

My favorite part of this "journalism" about an "attorney general report" (seriously, it must be a political ploy, right?) is this:
The investigators say they found records showing that within two months of being denied a raise from the university [for frozen salaries and such] Sager was using Vinson & Elkins again to put together the half million dollar forgivable loan for himself from the private foundation. The report, again with Sager's name redacted but obviously describing him, says Sager, "denies that the loan was sought after President Powers rejected (Sager) for a pay increase."

But the report says Sager's recollection of the facts is "not consistent with the emails and other evidence obtained during the course of this office's investigation."
Again, why is Sager a bad guy for seeking alternative funding for his swank lifestyle?  He was already sacrificing a lucrative private sector salary, just as everyone in legal academia does.  If the university stupidly wants to put a salary freeze in place, he's got to make an even greater killing somehow.  Now, years later, you're going to ask him questions about this stuff and expect him to tell the truth?  Give me a break.  UT is still highly ranked by all reputable publications, so I don't see what the problem is with his tenure.

The point of all of this, prospective law students, is that you can still trust your law schools.  Their leaders may cover up questionable payment schemes, watch their truth-telling enemies get witch-hunted, and slightly fudge the truth when speaking with official investigators...

But damn it, when they tell you you're going to make a great decision going to law school, or reporting unaudited jobs outcomes, they're telling the God's honest truth.  

That's the straight dope, yo. 


  1. What the hell? The Texas Attorney General graduated from a VIRGINIA law school, and he has the audacity to investigate UT? Is the guy even FROM Texas...? I bet not. He should take his socialist, carpet-bagger a$$ back on to Virginia, the turn-coat, and let Sager and these guys get back to running a REAL law school! That's what I say...!!!

  2. Sager looks like Ron Jeremy trying to pose as Cornel West...