The Costs (so far) of a Great Unpleasantness

    Money
    BobLee
    October27/ 2015

    Yesterday, we learned that the legal and PR costs of a Great Unpleasantness can run into the $7.5 + million category…. so far.   That news quickly averted the public’s attention from John Fennebresque’s people skills…. Margaret Spellings‘ views on the designated hitter rule…. and The ATO Two.  At least for a day or so.

    How much something “costs” is always a fun subject for public discussion especially when “the public” is divided about the “something” being purchased…. as is the case here.Money

    Is $7,565,940 “a lot of money”?  If the figure was $4,893,256 or $16,942.552 would the hue and cry be pretty much the same?  I say “yes it would be”.  A “fact” has little / no impact on either a hue or a cry.

    …. The hue AND the cry would be the same as would be the total disbelief that the number is correct regardless of how high or low it is.   Such is the current state of dis-believability between “UNC” and the non-UNC population of the planet.   Never high, the believability is at an all-time low ebb in recent years.

    If “UNC officials” announce Kenan Stadium attendance as 46,000 or 37,000 or 52,473 does ANYONE not of the TruBlue persuasion believe them?  No, they don’t.   “UNC officials” would never announce 52,473 because Kenan Stadium attendance is always a round number.   One of the very few college stadiums that always manage to do that ??   How many pine trees surround Kenan Stadium?  Exactly 500…. not 513, 534, or 492.Fat Cats

    We’ll use $7,565,940 as our base number.   According to those ubiquitous “UNC officials” every one of those dollars came “from a special foundation” funded “according to UNC officials” by deep-pocketed “Fat Cats”.   No one hueing and crying believes THAT either.   I’m not even sure too many employees in South Bldg even believe that one.   Douggie Dibbert probably does.

    Did two Fat Cats chip in $3.7M each…. or 7,000,000 Fat Cats donate $1.25 apiece?  The report released did not specify.   What do you think?

    I suspect there are some who are convinced UNC has hacked into The Wolfpack Club coffers and siphoned that seven million out of Bobby Purcell’s barbecue account in the dark of night.  That being just one likelihood among many being bandied about in West Raleigh bars and bistros.

    Using a $50 ticket cost…. and 40,000 Kenan attendance.  It would take about 3.5 football games gate receipts to pay those legal and PR costs assuming there were no production costs taken out of those gate receipts.   About 7 basketball games would do it what with UNC being “a basketball school”.  OR the equivalent of 12 Gene Chizik annual salaries or about 11.5 Margaret Spellings salaries…. or not quite 3 Dave Doeren salaries. 

    UNC could hire one “Coach K” for a year – give or take a week or so – for that $7.5M.  THAT was likely never an option however.  I’ll ask Chansky to check on that.

    I know what you are thinking…. How many charging stations could be installed in The Murphy Center for $7.5 million?  I don’t know the cost of even one charging stations so I can’t answer that.   Could a retractable dome be installed on The Hindenburg Hangar for $7.5 million?   Again, I haven’t priced retractable domes lately.  Who knows?

    NOTE:  StubHub has a ticket for Thursday night’s Showdown In Pittsburgh at $8.50 in Section 111.   OUCH!  Apparently The Steel City is more pro-oriented than college.  Huh.

    How many cans of Larry Fedora’s Red Bull?  ….of Ol’ Roy’s Diet Coke?  ….. the cost of scrubbing obscenities off of Silent Sam? …. Carol Folt’s annual budget for lapel ribbons? …. the $$$ for votive candles at UNC’s infamous “candlelight vigils” ??? …. how many Kevlar vests?  BK could probably tell us that one.

    A semi-literate 24 y/o NBA 12th man would not dribble across the street for “a measly $7.5M”.  OUCH!

    $7.5M in ones and stacked on top of each other would equal how many Tommy Burleson standing on each others shoulders?   How many Neil Fingletons?  A whole lot MORE Billy Arthurs or Carol Folts of course.

    So, as you can see…. how much something “costs” is always a “compared to what” figure.

    I guess it comes down to “if Deborah & Burgess had never conjured up “the scheme” back in whenever”…. or “if Marvin had never hit SEND”

    ….. how many seersucker suits or pairs of TopSiders could those “Fat Cats” have bought with their $7.5M ???

    IF the Fat Cats shopped at Jos A Bank on the right day – I believe it is Tuesday – their seersucker suits are “Two-fer” not that a for-real deep-pocketed Fat Cat is all that concerned about what anything “costs”.

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    .

    University responds to public records requests for legal, communications firm expenses

    http://carolinacommitment.unc.edu/updates/university-responds-to-public-records-requests-for-legal-communications-firm-expenses/

     

    The University is publishing cost figures and context for outside legal representation and public relations support provided by four firms over more than two years to help address the past academic irregularities.

    The University is posting information on the Carolina Commitment website in conjunction with responding to a public records request from The News & Observer seeking “legal/public relations bills for the UNC scandal.” (http://publicrecords.unc.edu/160046/)

    The University estimates spending approximately $7,565,940 to date for services provided by three law firms and one public relations agency that were directly related to the academic irregularities. Bills for three firms reflected work between mid-2014 and mid-2015. One law firm’s invoices dated back to late 2012.

    No state-appropriated or tuition dollars are being used for these expenses.  (??? Is this coming from the same “UNC officials” who said “it’s all over now… no more to see here…. move along people” when we learned about the parking tickets four years ago ?? … Can Governor Martin confirm this ??)

    It’s common for major universities facing significant challenges to hire outside firms for subject area expertise. That is a more cost-effective approach to conducting complex work than hiring additional permanent staff and enables an institution to scale up or down the necessary level of staffing and extra resources as needed. UNC-Chapel Hill elected to use this approach when retaining outside legal and public relations support. As a state agency, the University is permitted to retain outside counsel or consultants for legal or other issues and must follow state and UNC policies and procedures.

    The University is currently responding to an unprecedented combination of simultaneous issues, including the following:

    READ MORE HERE – LINK

     

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    BobLee
    • Dollar Shark Reply
      4 years ago

      Nevermind the cost. Was it worth it? At this point, I would say a resounding “yes!”. From the time Saint Dean set up AFAM as a platform to guide semi-literate, but athletically gifted young men through UNC-CH, the market value of UNC- Chapel Hill has grown tremendously and is acknowledged as among, if not the most valuable property in college sports. $10 million? Pffffttt. Lunch money as compared to the revenue and market value that has been built from the decades of cheating and corruption.

      So anything short of annihilating that market value with the NCAA death penalty (which no one thinks the NCAA has nearly that much hutzpah), the answer is: Yes, cheating DOES pay.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        I agree…. that the $7.5M or 10M … or 20M wherever it tops out…. was probably “worth it”. After all, it’s not “real money” just a bunch of 00000 in a line. It’s not like orphans starved or cancer wasn’t cured because of how it was spent. Cheating DOES indeed pay.

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      4 years ago

      Researched this before. PayWall DHS article explained it. Lest any of the viewers think that my comments are biased or invalid or “Wuffie LIES”, I shall answer a question that was alluded to in the column and comments. Where did Little Miss Smurfette get the BREAD to pay for the PR efforts? I WISH that it was something as sordid as pimping for the Sweet Carolines….but alas and alack, it comes from a legitimate source…..The UNC Investment Fund, LLC

      https://uncmc.unc.edu/Editor/files/UNCIF%20FY%202014%20Annual%20Report%20FINAL.pdf

      If the above Link is broken, google UNC Investment Fund Report…..the fund is the “Endowment” fund for UNC….aka The Chapel Hill Fund. It currently has over $4 BILLION in assets. Growth rate is right admiral (but not a FLAGSHIP fund for those types)…..you bet on the Market in General. Look at the various pages and graphs and charts about “Growth”.
      NOW, if you go back and continue to GOOGLE, there is a Q&A that explains, in very little detail, HOW Ms. Folt is able to get money from this piggy bank….Here is a quote from “FAQ -Issues Related to the Academic Irregularities” UNC Public Information Website

      “President Ross and Chancellor Folt commissioned the independent, eight-month investigation by Kenneth Wainstein………These costs are being paid from excess unrestricted accumulated earnings from the UNC-Chapel Hill Foundation Inc. No state-appropriated funds or tuition dollars are being used.”
      Note the “ROSS” in the Approval Chain of Command. FYI, there are provisions in the “By-Laws” of the UNC FUND for using $$ for just about anything….Travel, Country Club Dues, Private Real Estate Investment, etc. However, the UNRESTRICTED ACCUMULATED EARNINGS is actually “Excess Earnings” above a certain Level or Rate of Return or Goal. SO, if you set the bar LOW enough…..and you bet the Averages, then you have this UNRESTRICTED cookie jar to play with…and it is quite bountiful….what is a mere $10 Million or so? Paraphrasing Sonny & Cher…..

      Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce
      Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss
      The cars keep going faster all the time
      The mini skirt, without underwear, is the current thing
      The Beat goes on…..The Beat goes on…..The TGU keeps costing more every day……La Da Dottie Dee…..The Beat goes on….

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        As AgentPierce has been telling you’ans… The UNC System was set-up as nothing but a Laundering Mechanism for anything UNC-CH ever wants or needs. Prez Margaret might be changing that… we can only hope. … It’s techniques Tom Ross used as “bag man” for Z. Smith Reynolds. 🙂

        • Doug Reply
          4 years ago

          68 done did some great detective work. The engineering boys from over there in west Raleigh can build some cool stuff. Law school grads at UNC-CH can also engineer some pretty cool laws that might be sleazy and slimy as stagnated pond scum to most of us but also are also legal. What’s illegal ain’t nearly as scary as what IS legal.

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            And those engineers and those lawyers all end up working for those Duke hedge fund moguls on Wall Street. 🙂

    • Bill Reply
      4 years ago

      As a lawyer, I’m well aware of the cost of litigation. Therefore, these numbers don’t shock me. As a citizen, however, I’m shocked at how litigious our society has become because the money spent on litigation and legal advice could be put to so much greater use. I believe that the clients who take my advice just to admit it when they’ve been wrong and reach a reasonable settlement as early as possible are my smartest clients. From what I know of TGU, it sounds like the the lawyers representing UNC-CH either haven’t given that advice (and shame on them if they haven’t, though many lawyers let self interest keep them from giving it in appropriate cases) or UNC-CH is not a very bright client.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        I always figured when Ken Wainstein took that first call and realized who was calling… he put his hand over the phone and told Mr Cadwalleder “Hey boss, I just hooked a doozie. We just hit The Mother Lode.” …. same with Skadden & Arps. … After all, It’s just Monopoly Money.

    • fayettewuf Reply
      4 years ago

      I don’t know much about corporate damage control strategy and the costs. 7 to 10 million is probably peanuts to the Ram’s Club. Hindsight is of course 20/20. But I wonder what led anyone to think that cutting a series of firebreaks instead of putting out the fire would be the best course of action. My guess is that if they had hired Wainstein first, cleaned house, issued a statement that athletics had gotten out of control but it would never ever happen again, UNC would almost regrouped by now.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        What “you people” continually underestimate is the addictive power of Carolina Way Kool-Aid. Taken in daily doses over time it is stronger than Acapulco Gold or black tar heroin. “They” (UNCers) truly believe “they” can do No Wrong… that the non-UNC World is soooo gosh-darn jealous of “them” that they will stop at .othing to discredit UNCCH. The real holocaust deniers “over there” can pass a poly that UNC is as pure as the driven snow. It is quite fascinating.

      • NCSU68Grad Reply
        4 years ago

        FW,

        It AIN’T the Fat Cats in the RAMS CLUB….it is the Benefactors (Money, Stock, Bonds, Real Estate, etc) to the UNC Fund. Please refer to my post above for “The REST (REAL?) of the Story. Based on UNC provided info and factoids…..many of which were printed by reporters who actually do some research….you gotta read a LOT of eye glazing by-laws and procedures and accounting/auditor’s footnotes, etc to ferret (how fitting) that out…..

        • BobLee Reply
          4 years ago

          “Fat Cats” come in many various shapes and forms. A U of Miami FC for instance looks different from a SouCal FC and both are a lot different from Wendell and the others in Purcell’s Little Red Book. The ones down in Texas are my favorites… their bimbos have “bigger hair”.

    • paintcan Reply
      4 years ago

      I understand legal fees. Public relation fees are another matter. For that kind of money we should be able to discern what the PR people have accomplished .
      Has anybody’s opinion – anywhere – been changed by this PR spending ?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        The concept of hiring a $400,000/year Vice Chanc of PR to then go out and contract a $1.5M “big fancy NYC PR firm” is on the HOLY CRAP short list along with “Roy didn’t know nuthin’ about nuthin’…” I see a way to save $400,000/year really quickly.

    • 58 wolf kennel Reply
      4 years ago

      BL, I like the front page N&O story of more than $10 M better (Dan Kane substantiation). That would be 50,000 Kevlar vests or more than enough to cover all students, faculty. staff, and hired lawyers in Chapel Hill. Still a sorry mess :+((

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Maybe those same unnamed “Fat Cats” can cover your upcoming March Bond Vote… sparing the rest of us tax-payers that burden? Maybe add in a few of your Hindenburg Hangars donators oughta do it. No?
        .
        Does the N&O still print “a front page”? WHO KNEW?

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      Pretty sure there is no budget line item listed as TGU collateral damage. The old wink-wink, nod-nod. “It’s in there you find it.” ?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        PPride better send their Forensic Accounting Commandos over yonder ASAP.

        • Myowngrandpaw Reply
          4 years ago

          Don’t count the Wolfies out in finding the accounting indiscretions.

          They were pretty good at finding plagiarism that UNC could not seem to detect!

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            “Finding that plagarism” outranks both NCSU BB NatChamps in degree of WuffNation Pride. Maybe a “banner” denoting IT would be in order in Reynolds, PNC and The Carter ? 🙂

    • Lakepacker Reply
      4 years ago

      No matter which side we are on in “TGU”, the bottom line is that this type of money is “minimal” if it avoids the cost of the potential sanctions and NCAA money involved. Only time will tell if it is money well spent. It is like political campaigns or Congressional hearings. It is money that could have gone to much greater use in dealing with real problems.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        So TGU by your definition is NOT “a real problem”. I think that has been Chansky’s position from Day One.

        • Lakepacker Reply
          4 years ago

          No, I think TGU is a very real problem. I am just saying the amount of money involved makes the amount of money spent on spin or defense to be inconsequential compared to the amount at risk and the cost of the potential consequences such as banners and future competitive issues that may arise.

          • BobLee Reply
            4 years ago

            If UNC gets zapped with a year or so of “No Bowls” they actually SAVE $$$$ as the costs of “going to a bowl” usually exceeds whatever the school “makes” for going. In the case of bottom-tier bowls (Shreveport, Detroit etc) the costs FAR exceed the pay-out.
            .
            Your point is correct, but UNC is far more concerned with it’s “Institutional Image” than anything else. So long as Fat Cats are indeed covering the costs (assuming that is the case) it is like one’s son or daughter being concerned about “tuition costs” so long as Mom/Dad are paying the bill.

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