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2 more Dana Altman recruits sue Gottfredson & Holmes for due process violations

Last updated on 03/16/2016

3/15/2016: Duck Athletics brings still more invaluable publicity and goodwill for UO. Who defines our “national brand”? Brandon Austin. From Google search trends:

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Camilla Mortensen has the latest lawsuit story in the Eugene Weekly. Also see Andrew Greif in the Oregonian and Jack Moran in the RG.

The $20M complaint from Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson’s lawyers Alex Spiro of NYC and Brian Michaels of Eugene is here. Artis and Dotson’s state complaint is basically a cut-and-paste of Austin’s federal complaint here, which was filed by Marianne Duggan of Eugene and preeminent sperm lawyer Alan C. Milstein of Moorestown, New Jersey back in October.

I’m no law professor, but if attorney Alex Spiro (Harvard Law) had passed this in as his final paper, I’d report him to UO’s student conduct office for plagiarism and urge Sandy Weintraub and Robin Holmes to expel him – after a thorough hearing and appeal, of course.

John Canzano has an opinion piece in the Oregonian: Canzano: Lawsuit not fair to Oregon Ducks, but ends up a strong NCAA play:

Did Altman support the dismissals of the players? Did Gottfredson ask for Altman’s resignation somewhere in the process and get push back from key boosters? Were the players a sacrifice that was made to appease the protesters picketing the university president’s office? And why didn’t Oregon just do what every other reputable university might do — suspend the players pending the outcome of the investigation instead of initially standing with them, then after the NCAA Tournament, dismissing them?

Quite the difference from his Jan 8 2015 column: Canzano: Every day Oregon stands with Dana Altman is another step into the muck:

Best case scenario, he turned his back on three innocent players who were under investigation for sex assault. Worst case, he knowingly recruited a player who was under investigation for a sex assault, then lied for months about what he knew and undermined campus safety while trying to save himself.

This is your basketball coach, Oregon. One who should have been fired months ago.

… The lawsuit [he means the one from the survivor Jane Doe, with whom UO settled for $800K], zeroes in on the exact problem. It alleges that the university took steps to protect itself and to guard its coach, while accepting the survivor as collateral damage. Given that federal law mandates that Oregon should have handled this with urgency and alacrity the actions at UO are troubling.

Among the shocking allegations in the lawsuit? UO refused to provide the players with unredacted documents. Say it ain’t so!

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As with Austin’s, this complaint makes many other serious allegations of violations of due process rights by VPSA Robin Holmes and her assistants Sandy Weintraub and Chicora Martin and the feckless Mike Gottfredson.

Where were these people getting their legal advice? From Randy Geller, formerly UO General Counsel, now “of counsel at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, and/or his Assistant GC Doug Park, who is still employed by UO as associate GC for $200k+.

Here’s UO Strategic Communicator Tobin Klinger’s improbable explanation for why Geller “retired” – announced in the midst of the events described in the lawsuit, and the day before sports reporters unexpectedly broke the story of the basketball rape allegations:

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Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson’s prayer:

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1/26/2016: Duck lawyers respond to Brandon Austin’s due process lawsuit. Park gave Austin a clean transcript.

Brandon Austin was recruited by Duck basketball coach and former Eagle Scout Dana Altman, despite allegations of sexual assault while he was at Providence University. Altman says he knew Providence had suspended Austin for an entire year, but didn’t know why and never thought to ask. Scout’s honor. Shortly after Altman brought Austin to UO, Austin allegedly participated in the rape of a UO freshman, along with with two other Altman recruits. Austin was eventually suspended and banned from campus. After a botched legal fight that included countersuing the survivor, UO paid her $800K plus a full-ride four year scholarship. Austin then sued former UO President Mike Gottfredson and others for $7.5M, for damaging his professional basketball prospects and not giving him due process.

UO’s lawyers have now given the judge their response to Austin’s claim, and Jack Moran has the latest in the RG here,

… Austin alleges his constitutional right to due process was wrongly denied by university officials. His suit calls the administrative proceedings that led to the long-term suspension “an unconstitutional ‘kangaroo court’ hearing of the very worst order.”

But the university’s response to the lawsuit appears to tell a somewhat different story. It asserts that Austin, after hiring a lawyer, waived his chance to face his accuser and to contest a sexual misconduct allegation at a hearing conducted by a panel of students, staff and faculty.

Instead, he opted to have UO student conduct director Sandy Weintraub issue a ruling after receiving evidence at an administrative conference. UO officials agreed beforehand that Austin’s only possible sanction would be a suspension.

The university says it removed expulsion as a punishment option in part because, had a panel hearing been held, Austin’s accuser could have faced “grueling” circumstances, such as potentially being required to attend and being subjected to cross-examination.

The docket is here, courtesy of RecapTheLaw. There are live links to the complaint, UO’s response, and some but not all exhibits. One particularly interesting one is this, showing that UO’s Interim GC Doug Park was willing to promise that Austin’s transcript would not include any explanation for suspension. In theory this would have allowed Altman to pass Austin off to yet another university, which would have no information about the allegations – or at least the coach would be able to claim he didn’t. This was a moot point once the sportswriters found out about the allegations and made them public.

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  1. honest Uncle Bernie 03/15/2016

    Hard not to think they have a good case. The UO dysfunction continues. A million here, there, pay off the girl, pay off the players, pay for the Bowl if Dicks, pay off the Pres, it begins to add up, enough to pay for a lot of NTTFs, even some cluster hires. What is wrong with this place? It was unimaginable 25 years ago, 35 years.

    • exduck 03/29/2016

      incompetent administrators that foster conflict rather than work to resolve it. that is what is wrong with your place. until someone has the courage to clean up JH and EOAA, you will be stuck in an ongoing cycle of law suits and disgruntled students and faculty alike.

  2. zach 03/15/2016

    Has uomatters covered this new UO police station boondoggle yet ? The building seems to be 720 east 13th and questions are many. It is already under renovation for the new UO police precinct in West University area. I am not kidding…the project has already begun to set it up in that building.

    • uomatters Post author | 03/15/2016

      Get me some docs Zach, sounds interesting. Maybe President Schill has made the wise decision to turn UO police powers back over to the EPD. At least when they get sued for retaliation it only costs $500K, instead of $2M and tickets to the Civil War game.

      • zach 03/22/2016

        The only place I can think of to find them would be the Eugene Planning Dept. so I will try them tomorrow. If I find anything there I will let you know. I looked a little closer at that renovation today and it seems to be all floors of that building. The local media shlubs have mostly all had this story explained to them last week so it is interesting how the Duck-media industrial complex is effectively maintaining a complete silence now.

        • uomatters Post author | 03/22/2016

          Thanks Zach. A generally reliable source relays this:

          I’m told some UOPD business affairs offices will be located at the 720 13th St location, but not a campus police station or second “cop shop.” Don’t know anything about changes to the EPD substations on 13th and Alder.

          as well as

          I haven’t heard anything at all about renovations to TreeTops soon, so I’ve got nothing for you on that one.

  3. Not a Geller fan 03/16/2016

    but has anyone considered the possibility that Gottfredson fired him because Geller took a principled stand against Gottfredson and Park’s efforts to cut a deal with the basketball players that would let Dana Altman and Rob Mullens quietly pass them off to the next college down the line?

    • uomatters Post author | 03/16/2016

      No dude, I had not considered that possibility. Do you have anything solid you can report?

  4. zach 03/23/2016

    Normally UO contributes 40,000 dollars each year towards having one Eugene Police Dept work in the 13th and Alder station. They are refusing this year. The campus sub-station officer is packing his stuff. I checked on the renovations over at 720 East 13th at the permit office today. The entire building is being renovated and new restrooms and a new break room are being added. One of the main things in the current 13th and Alder station is a large break room. I am pretty certain about this boondoggling by UO. The Eugene City Manager claims to know nothing about it and also says he will look into it. “Business Affairs” eh ? That sounds a little vague.

    • Correct 03/23/2016

      UO used to get a really sweet deal, EPD would respond to calls on campus for next to nothing. A few years ago UO decided it had a few million extra to burn, and told EPD to quit showing up because they were buying their own department, because reasons. Thanks go out to NTTF, the many years of underpaying you helped cover the costs.

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