Scene inside Room 105 of the Penn Stater: 2pm June 29, 2018.
Inner Circle, clockwise from far left: Ted Brown, Jay Paterno, Alice Pope, Barbara Doran, Bob Jubelirer, Ryan McCombie (picture cut off), Bill Oldsey (out of frame), Bob Capretto and Anthony Lubrano (both back to camera). Rob Tribeck and Elliott Weinstein both “phoned in”.
The long-awaited Trustee Review of the Freeh File documents has been completed.
Sadly, as with so many “game-changers” over the last seven years, the results were a weak reflection of the build-up.
June 29, 2018. 2pm in Room 105 of the Penn Stater Conference Center:
A Press Conference was convened by the “A7”
(“A7” referring to the seven PSU alumni-elected Trustees who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that granted access to the Freeh Source Documents… Barbara Doran, Bill Oldsey, Ted Brown, Alice Pope, Bob Jubelirer, and out-going Trustees Anthony Lubrano and Ryan McCombie).
Also in attendance were non-plaintiff Trustees Jay Paterno, Rob Tribeck, Bob Capretto, and Elliott Weinstein:
The A7 announced that their 2 1/2 year long study of the Freeh Investigation source documents was complete, and that their “thorough” report was finished.
But no new information was shared, and no report was distributed.
The “A7” stated that they were choosing to keep their findings confidential.
Instead, rather than presenting any results from their study, Alice Pope’s announcement was limited to a rehash of outdated 3rd Party public statements – primarily critiques of low-hanging-fruit: Louis Freeh and of the NCAA.
Critiques from the likes of:
- John Snedden, Special Agent who conducted Graham Spanier’s security clearance in 2012.
- Bob Costas, sports commentator who, in 2013, was publicly critical of the NCAA’s use of the Freeh Report
- Jay Bilas, sportscaster and frequent NCAA critique – who has issued several critical commentaries regarding the leadership of the NCAA…. even though Bilas himself said: “Given former FBI director Louis Freeh’s scathing report about the failure of Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno, it is time for the NCAA to point the finger at those who were charged with the leadership of one of its member institutions.” (comments that the A7 conveniently left out)
- Historical comments from Penn State President Eric Barron, and former Penn State Trustee Ken Frazier, were also read to the audience.Of course, NONE of these third-party critiques of the NCAA or of Louis Freeh specifically discussed the Freeh Report – or the contents of the Freeh Documents File.
But the A7 presented no findings from their own 2 1/2 year long investigation to support their position, or to refute Freeh’s findings.
Out-going PSU Trustee Anthony Lubrano did call upon the full Board to make a public release of the A7’s report – and to repudiate the original findings of Freeh’s report, and to seek return of the $8 Million paid to Freeh’s group for their investigation.
Twenty-seven of the thirty-eight members of the Board of Trustees – including President Barron and Chairman Mark Dambly – chose to NOT attend the Private Trustee Executive Session, nor to attend the press conference. They previously issued a statement that:
“We can discern no real urgency for this last-minute request…. at no time was the topic raised or discussed in advance with board leadership…. no advance information has been shared. Board leadership, including President Barron, will not be participating.”
If Anthony Lubrano truly believes that his exhortations will move the Board Majority – none of whom so much as showed up for his press conference – he may be mistaken.
More bewildering, is why Lubrano, Pope, and the A7 wouldn’t simply release their “findings” – or at least their most reasonable conclusions and opinions developed as a result of their review. Much like Louis Freeh, a discussion of “what they found”, and “what they can reasonably conclude” would not in any way violate any confidentiality issues.
Since the A7 chose to NOT disclose any of their findings, is there any way to reasonably surmise what they did indeed discover….. And consider why they chose to keep their report under wraps?
Lets start with what we do know:
- The A7 have often stated that they are prevented from discussing their work due to a Court Order. That is simply not true, and the relevant court order is linked below.
The order DOES prevent the public release of specific confidential information from privileged documents – but places no restrictions on the A7 announcing what they found, what they didn’t find, or the most reasonable conclusions they could make.
Louis Freeh himself freely issued his “conclusions” and “opinions” drawn from those same documents – and there is absolutely no reason that the A7 cannot do the same.
One has to at least wonder why the A7 – led by Anthony Lubrano – have hoisted this disingenuous canard on their eagerly-awaiting followers.
- If the A7 HAD found any impactful information, they would have been bound as fiduciaries – not to mention morally and ethically bound – to bring such information forward. Remember, during this time frame the University was involved in criminal actions involving Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, and Gary Schultz – not to mention numerous civil actions.
A) The A7 uncovered no impactful information
B) The A7 uncovered impactful information – and chose to ignore their fiduciary, legal, moral, and ethical obligations to bring it forward.
C) The A7 did indeed share their “findings” – but only with those they chose to confide in.
Based on past history – option “C” may be the most likely.
- Anthony Lubrano drove the process, and the direction, of the review.
Of the work done by the A7 in the conduct of their study, the vast majority of it was undertaken and directed by Anthony Lubrano and Alice Pope.
At least several of the other members of the A7 (which includes Barbara Doran, Bill Oldsey, Ted Brown, Bob Jubelirer, and Ryan McCombie) were largely “along for the ride”.
- For better and worse, Anthony Lubrano is – and always has been – an unabashed advocate and resource for the Paterno Agenda.
Of this, he makes no pretense, as it has single-handedly driven his actions since he first took a seat on the Board (even to the exclusion of other responsibilities of governance).
Much like Louis Freeh when he crafted his “Investigation”, Lubrano went into the “Freeh File Review” with a continuation of his agenda in mind – the rehabilitation of the Paterno Legacy. As such, the Freeh File Review was undertaken as a weapon to support the Paterno Suit and, to a lesser degree, the Curley/Schultz/Spanier defense.
Much like Freeh worked in cahoots with the NCAA and Ken Frazier’s BOT Special Investigative Task Force, Lubrano looked to combine his efforts with those of the Paterno and CSS teams.
The driving force of the Freeh Review was always clearly evident:
The rehabilitation of the Paterno Legacy, and assistance to the Paterno Suit, and assistance to the criminal trials of Spanier, Curley, and Schultz.
To be certain:
Many interested parties – not just Anthony Lubrano and members of the A7 – carried the same objectives. Many (if not most) felt, and continue to feel, that those objectives would also be congruent with “good governance” for the University.
Unfortunately, the myopia of the A7 would prove to be the undoing of the Freeh Review.
Because, when those narrowly-focused efforts fell flat on their face, so to did the energy for the Freeh Review…. and in 2017, those efforts did indeed fall flat.
The first knockout punch came in March of 2017, when Graham Spanier offered “no defense” and was subsequently convicted (after Curley and Schultz had pled guilty). And one of the underpinnings of purpose for the Freeh Review died on the vine:
And then, the Paterno’s dropped their suit against the NCAA in July of 2017:
The second leg of the stool was kicked out from under Lubrano, and the Freeh Review.
In fairness, Lubrano- who was almost certainly sharing information back and forth with both of those camps – may have been as disconcerted as anyone by the actions of the CSS and Paterno camps. Possibly even being taken off-guard by their (in)actions.
In any event, at that point, even Lubrano probably realized the gig was up…. and the Freeh Review – with respect to his motivations – was now an impotent endeavor.
That does NOT mean that there is not important information and insight to be gleaned from a proper review of the Freeh Documents…. in fact, there most certainly is a wealth of information to be taken from those documents (and from what is lacking in those documents) that desperately needs to see the light of day.
It only means that those folks who have had access – and the limited motivations of those folks who have had access – were not congruent with a meaningful, complete review of the material and its implications.
As for the original Freeh Report itself – what can we surmise at this point …. Even without any disclosure from the A7?
Largely through the work of Ray Blehar, Ryan Bagwell, John Ziegler, and others, we have overwhelming evidence that:
- The actions of several members of the PSU administration and Board – Cynthia Baldwin, Rodney Erickson, Ken Frazier, Tom Corbett and others – were unethical, negligent, and possibly criminal.
- Baldwin, in particular, may have been criminally negligent.
- Members of the Freeh investigation team, the NCAA, and the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General engaged in activities that were at best unethical – at worst, criminal.
- Louis Freeh’s investigation was a sham.
It is highly likely that the contents of the Freeh Documents provides even more evidence of these actions.
But none of this – since it didn’t help to accomplish the predetermined objectives (the “smoking gun” to rehabilitate the Paterno Legacy) – was enough to prod the A7 to perform their own fiduciary duty to faithfully review the documents and provide a transparent, public report of their findings.
Some local news stories covering the A7 press conference: