Frohnmayer loses one ethics case, two others still open

It’s a long story. And some might say Frohnmayer won in the economic sense, having successfully billed the Deschutes County taxpayers for $550 an hour for his work pursuing this failed, politically motivated complaint, while simultaneously collecting a UO paycheck as “President Emeritus” and the 5th highest PERS payout in Oregon history – not that I’m an economist.

But two weeks ago the Oregon Bar’s ethics board rejected the complaint Frohnmayer had been pursuing against Deschutes County DA Patrick Flaherty. Meanwhile the countervailing ethics complaint against Frohnmayer et al. is still open. Last I heard he and Bill Gary of Harrang Long et al had just ignored the Bar’s request for a response to this letter accusing them of a variety of violations of legal ethics rules.

What does all this have to do with Randy Geller’s efforts to help Frohnmayer and his firm get UO contracts plus a double payment on their billing of $432,000 for a public records case involving former AG John Kroger? Or Frohnmayer’s ethics complaint against former AAG Sean Riddell? Nothing, apparently. Interesting way to make a living though. 8/6/2012.

Frohnmayer’s latest ethics problem

6/15/2012 update: I’m no legal ethics professor, but this doesn’t look good for Frohnmayer:

The full letter is here. The Bar’s disciplinary counsel has given Frohnmayer and Gary until 6/21 to respond. The Bend Bulletin reports that the county has spent about $100,000 on the matter so far, presumably much of it to Frohnmayer and Gary’s firm. Meanwhile Flaherty has filed a bar complaint against Pilliod.

5/21/2012: The latest Oregon Bar complaint docs are here. Keeping up with Frohnmayer’s ethics issues is a full-time job, I’ve only glanced at these, I think the meat is in the last few pages.

4/21/2012: I’m pretty sure this will only interest my law school readers, at best, but I thought I’d post this Oregon State Bar ethics complaint, filed in March by Valerie Wright against Frohnmayer, Bill Gary, and Deschutes County Counsel Mark Pilliod for the record. It’s a twisted story. The Bend Bulletin has a helpful timeline.

Wright is a lawyer and the wife of Deschutes County DA Patrick Flaherty. From what I can tell Deschutes county hired our former Pres at $550 an hour last year to help Pilliod and the county commissioners with a Bar ethics complaint they were supporting against Flaherty, who had opened a grand jury investigation against Pilliod involving a relatively trivial sounding violation of public records law – or maybe I’m jaded. Or maybe this all goes back to Flaherty defeating the commissioner’s favorite longtime DA in an election.

Wright alleges that in the course of pursuing the ethics complaint against her husband Frohnmayer and Gary and Pilliod made some false statements to the bar, so she’s filing this ethics complaint against them:

Frohnmayer seems to have become a specialist in making ethics complaints against his fellow lawyers – he’s got another one going against Oregon AAG Sean Riddell, apparently payback for Riddell looking too closely at the consulting deals of Kitzhaber’s girlfriend Cylvia Hayes.

And now, after billing the county $550 an hour for pursuing an apparently politically inspired bar complaint against Flaherty, Frohnmayer gets a bit bitchy when OPB asked about the complaint against him:

Frohnmayer calls the complaint “a political use of the bar process.”

I’m sure Dave’s shocked. (Thanks to a reader for the link.)

Berdahl takes UO back to the past, starring Frohnmayer and Bean

5/24/2012: From an email sent out today by Bob Berdahl:

… As you know, my term as interim president ends September 15. I am optimistic about our search for the University of Oregon’s 17th president. I have begun preparing for the transition by convening a campus readiness team that is considering issues related to institutional boards, and by charging key members of the president’s office and Executive Leadership Team with laying groundwork for the next president. As part of the transition, I reached out to UO President Emeritus Dave Frohnmayer to ask him to serve as a part-time special assistant to the president for the summer. In this role, he will assist me with specific external relations and stewardship assignments, continuity of communications with key stakeholders and with institutional readiness issues involving the possible establishment of an institutional board. President Frohnmayer informed me that he will donate any increase in net pay for this period to fund student scholarships at the University of Oregon.

Provost Jim Bean is set to return July 1 and will transition back during June. The addition of Yvette Marie Alex-Assensoh as VP for Institutional Equity and Inclusion will occur Aug. 7. As you know, the coming school year will require us to begin the searches for new leadership at the School of Journalism & Communication and the Clark Honors College. Tim Gleason, our longest-serving dean, will step down after 16 years and return to teaching and scholarship after a sabbatical. David Frank, the first dean of the Clark Honors College, will also return to scholarship and the classroom.

We expect the campus enrollment to be approximately 25,000 for Fall 2012, reflecting an uptick in international students, stronger retention and higher overall yield rates. We still have work to do to increase our yield rate for Oregon’s best and brightest, as there is strong competition for these students in today’s market.

I will continue to apprise you of developments related to the presidential transition. As always, thank you for your efforts in advancing the university’s mission to serve students and the people of Oregon and beyond, through education and research.

Warm regards,

Bob Berdahl

Previous Frohnmayer contracts are here. The state Audits Division report on them from 7/14/2011 is here. Frohnmayer had to write UO a personal check repaying some money. Then there’s this excerpt:

After this audit the UO law school wrote him a considerably tougher TRP contract, spelling out his academic responsibilities in some detail and cutting off his summer pay. Apparently he will donate this new summer pay to scholarships. Great.

I remember back in 2009, when Frohnmayer tried to convince already underpaid faculty to accept a voluntary 5% furlough cut. He didn’t mention he wouldn’t be taking it on the half of his pay that came through the UO Foundation. And it turned out that while he was pushing faculty to go along with the OUS furlough plan, he was also negotiating his own lucrative retirement deal with Pernsteiner. Conflict of interest?

As for Provost Jim Bean: welcome back from what we hope was a productive sabbatical, the docs are here.

AG John Kroger to head Reed College, broke PR law

4/24/2012 Updated 4/25/2012: Bill Graves story here. Kroger talked the talk on public records, but didn’t deliver. He threatened me for putting the PR manual online, then wrote a series of retrograde public records opinions that set Oregon back 20 years. To cap it off, Jeff Manning’s Oregonian piece today reports that a judge has just ruled Kroger’s DOJ illegally withheld public records in a criminal investigation:

A Marion County Circuit judge has ruled that the Oregon Justice Department deliberately withheld pertinent documents from a state employee embroiled in the 2010 criminal investigation despite the employee’s public records request.

Ironically one of the lawyers on the opposite side was Dave Frohnmayer, who helped draft the PR law in the 1970’s, did a good job enforcing it as AG, then shamelessly and repeatedly broke it as UO President, most famously by having his lawyer Melinda Grier hide the contracts that led to the $2.3 million Bellotti deal.

Kitzhaber will appoint a replacement for Kroger. The permanent AG will be determined by the May primary between Dwight Holton and Ellen Rosenblum, but won’t take office until January. At the moment it looks like the election will be decided by whichever candidate makes the most credible promises not to prosecute the increasingly powerful marijuana growers. Maybe Kitzhaber will wait til the primary is over and then appoint the winner? The DAs and the newspapers are endorsing Holton, Frohnmayer and Phil Knight are making donations to Rosenblum.

UO hires Frohnmayer’s firm to deal with union election

4/2/2012: That’s the word from the union website update, in a post that also criticizes the petitions, here:

We sincerely hope that the university administration will recognize the will of the majority of the faculty and maintain its previously public statement of neutrality. It now appears that the UO administration retained the law firm of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C., with former University President Dave Frohnmayer a firm member. It is our hope that the lawyers whom they have hired to advise them will not prevail upon them to delay or obstruct the will of the faculty vote or the certification process with unnecessary or unfounded challenges. 

It didn’t take an economist to correctly forecast this one, given our general counsel Randy Geller’s longtime ties to Frohnmayer. Frohnmayer joined the Harrang Long et al. firm while he was ostensibly on a research sabbatical after retiring as UO president. The Secretary of State’s Audits Division looked into this unusual arrangement and found a few irregularities. The report is here. Among other things, Russ Tomlin had written a few retroactive contracts for summer pay, which Frohnmayer filled with “sick leave” days. When this came to light Tomlin got slapped for going along with the scam, Frohnmayer had to repay a little money to UO, and then Michael Moffitt at the Law school wrote him a new contract spelling out his research and teaching obligations very, very clearly. I’m thinking we can thank Richard Lariviere for insisting on this, and ending the lucrative golden parachute deal Frohnmayer had signed with hs pal Pernsteiner. Frohnmayer now teaches a 1 credit course in the law school, allowing him to keep claiming he is a law school professor on his Harrang Long et al. bio page.

Last fall UO sent out an RFP for proposals for law firms to provide legal advice for matters that Geller’s office lacked expertise or competence in. (Yes, it must be a long list.) It took a petition to the Attorney General, but eventually Geller provided the proposals. In theirs, Harrang et al. was quite happy to brag about Frohnmayer’s political connections:

and they note their expertise in dealing with union elections:

I’ve got a request in for the contracts and invoices – which will show who at the firm is doing the work – but so far Geller is sitting on them. I’m shocked. Isn’t that a violation of Oregon’s public records law Randy? Maybe you should ask Frohnmayer for some advice on how to keep stalling. He’ll only charge UO $550 an hour.

Why Dave Frohnmayer is not an acceptable interim President

Update: Frohnmayer is now out and I’m not going to waste my time finishing this post. If you still care, links to all the documents mentioned below are available on this site, just click on the labels below. Email me if you want a copy of his email threatening me with a “defamation per se” lawsuit over the state audit of his contracts.

12/4/2011: Rumor is that Jim Bean has withdrawn his candidacy or will as soon as he checks his email. That leaves Frohnmayer as the Board’s leading potential insider alternative to Berdahl.

Here is Frohnmayer’s 2009 golden parachute sabbatical contract, negotiated with his pal George Pernsteiner. It took me three months and two petitions to the DOJ to force OUS lawyer Ryan Hagemann to produce this contract. It’s not hard to see why. Here’s a video clip of Frohnmayer trying to convince the UO faculty to go along with Pernsteiner’s plan for “voluntary furloughs.”

This was right after Pernsteiner had given Frohnmayer a $150,000 bonus, and taken a raise for himself – which OUS spokesperson Di Saunders then tried to hide from the Oregonian, just as they’d tried to hide Frohnmayer’s previous raises, and who paid for them.

Frohnmayer spent his sabbatical restarting his legal career, not doing the research he claimed he would do. Here’s the state audits division investigation report. He had to write a check refunding UO money.

He was paid for retroactive summer contracts Russ Tomlin set up for him, after the lack of written contracts had been reported. Shades of Mike Bellotti.

Frohnmayer never accepted responsibility for Bellotti, but blamed it all on his scapegoat, Melinda Grier. That’s leadership for you.

He appointed Pat Kilkenny AD, after Kilkenny started making large donations to his Fanconi Foundation. Two weeks before stepping down as President he signed a secret deal with Kilkenny, giving the athletic department half off on overhead and requiring the academic side to pay them $375,000 for using the Autzen skybox.

Here’s his current 600 hours contract with the Law School. Michael Moffitt is now keeping him on a short leash, spelling out what research he (or more likely his former special assistant, Jungian psychologist, and current “leadership” co-teacher Barbara West) must accomplish this year:
Dave’s first 5 years at UO were pretty good for UO. Then came the WRC, Pat Kilkenny, the post-heart-surgery personality changes, the anger, the contempt for the faculty, the sell-outs, and the special deals for his friends in the central administration: John Moseley, Lorraine Davis, Dan Williams.

Rumor is that Frohnmayer’s former secretary Carol Rydbom spent a year combing through his presidential papers (while on the UO payroll, of course) before transferring them to the UO archives. I wonder what was in the parts that didn’t make the cut? I wonder what she missed, and what is in those letters and emails that did make it into the archives.

No more of Frohnmayer’s old guard. No more Frohnmayer. Unacceptable.

Top PERS include Bellotti and Frohnmayer

From the SJ. More in this Oregonian story. The searchable list of all with annual payout > $100,000 is here. Many familiar UO names.

Top 10 (based on 10-1-11 Gross Monthly Allowance)

1. Robert Bellotti: $41,341.67
2. Frederick Keller: $31,459.45
3. Lesley Hallick: $23,917.22
4. Steven Goldschmidt: $21,517.24
5. David Frohnmayer: $21,027.21
6. Peter Kohler: $20,252.33
7. Frank Anderson: $20,209.13
8. William Korach: $20,068.81
9. Peter Vonhippel: $19,677.95
10. Anthony Montanaro: $19,477.82

Here’s a copy of Frohnmayer’s golden parachute contract.  Here’s the State Audits Division report on his contract – which notes a few irregularities with it and the retroactive no work summer contracts VP Russ Tomlin wrote Frohnmayer:

Word down at the faculty club is that Frohnmayer will be picking up another $100,000 or so for teaching 3 classes this spring. Two of them are “Leadership” courses in Political Science and the Honors College, co-taught with his former special assistant and Jungian psychologist Barbara West.  The other is a 1 credit, week long course in the law school.

Secret Frohnmayer deal on athletics subsidies

11/5/2011: Details in this Steve Duin column in the Oregonian, coming out in print Sunday:

The memo sets out the hoops the university jumps through to maintain the illusion (that athletics is self-supporting). The administration, for example, generously “allows” athletics to bank revenue from above-ground, off-street parking in designated lots during sporting events.

Yet the administration is required to pay athletics each year “for exclusive use of the presidential suite and 80 Club Level seats at Autzen Stadium for each home football event.” In the last three fiscal years, that cost the administration $375,000 annually.

The 3 percent assessment cap is buried at the bottom of the memo, and flies in the face of UO’s 2008 restructuring of assessment rates. As Laura Hubbard, associate VP for Budget & Finance, noted at the time, those changes were necessary to meet Oregon University System “guiding principles” in allowing indirect costs that are “reasonable, properly allocable, auditable and applied consistently across campus.”

The new rate schedule required auxiliaries — which include university housing and the health center (and athletics) — to pay overhead rates that escalate from 3 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2013. Less than a year later, however, Kilkenny and Frohnmayer signed off on a deal to cut athletics a break through 2012.

The secret agreement between then President Frohnmayer and Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny, signed two weeks before Frohnmayer retired, is here and is full of unusual things, amounting to several million dollars in subsidies for athletics. It was so secret even UO’s VP for Finance never saw it – or so she claims. And what did Kilkenny give Frohnmayer? About $500,000 for the Fanconi Foundation. It’s a very sad story on many dimensions.

Melinda Grier or Dave Frohnmayer?

10/20/2011: It really didn’t end well last time, but one of them could easily end up advising UO on legal matters again – a side effect of SB 242, which puts part of UO’s legal services up for bid.

The RFP closed September 11. On 8/25 UO’s former General Counsel Melinda Grier set up a Higher Ed consulting firm. The office address, 440 E Broadway Ste 300 Eugene OR  97401, is the same as that for the Gaydos, Churnside, and Balthrop law firm. They even share a fax machine number, (541) 343-1599. And in September Gaydos et al submitted a proposal to handle UO’s legal work. I’ve been trying to get a copy of this proposal from UO’s public records Officer Liz Denecke for 6 weeks now. I wonder what could be taking so long.

Gaydos’s competition for the UO job includes a proposal from Dave Frohnmayer’s firm Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick, which Ms Denecke did provide – but only after a petition to Attorney General Kroger. They are quite happy to brag about Frohnmayer’s connections:

Dave Frohnmayer, Part-Time Of Counsel (15 years of government practice/Admitted
in Oregon 1971, OSB #710015). While Dave is not a full-time attorney with the firm, he is available for consultation on matters as UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS deems fit (and at your discretion). As you are well aware, Dave is not only a former Attorney General for the State of Oregon, but he also has extensive experience in higher education and with the UO in particular as a former President. As such, Dave has deep connections both in Oregon and internationally (particularly in Germany and the Pacific Rim). He also maintains connections with the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus (SAGE) and other groups within the legal community, which may be of benefit to UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS. Alternatively, UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS may request that Dave recuse himself from some or all matters, or that the firm create a firewall between him and some, or all, firm activities related to UO-PSU-OSU-CO/OUS

I wonder if the Gaydos firm’s proposal mentions Ms Grier? Meanwhile, who is running UO’s search for a firm? None other than Grier and Frohnmayer’s old assistant Randy Geller, appointed UO General Counsel by President Lariviere after the Belotti debacle concluded his boss, Melinda Grier, had provided UO with “deficient legal representation”.

Global Education Leadership Institute

8/9/2011: I’ve never heard of it, they don’t show up on google or the UO website. But UO has a job posting for instructors for it:

Global Education Leadership Institute

Posting: 081106
Location: Eugene
Closes: 2012-08-31

Global Education Leadership Institute invites applications for adjunct
faculty to provide instruction and program coordination for Global
Education Leadership Institute conferences and workshops.  Adjunct
appointments are expected to begin in September and continue for varying
lengths of time, depending on each individual workshop or conference. 
Appointments are limited duration, with the possibility of renewal for
up to 3 years based on program needs, funding and job performance. 

And lo and behold they do have a facebook page, and appear to have already made at least one hire.

Frohnmayer repays salary to UO

7/20/2011: When UO President Dave Frohnmayer retired he negotiated a very sweet retirement deal with OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner. Too sweet. A week after someone raised questions about the unusual salary Frohnmayer received last summer – no work expectations and 3 retroactive contracts – Frohnmayer had to write UO out a personal check, reimbursing us for a chunk of it. The SOS Audits division looked into this and wrote a report identifying some other issues as well.

He’s no longer on the UO payroll. I don’t think I’ll post the report. I suppose the photocopy of his check is a public record, but whatever. He is still listed as a law professor – helps get clients, I suppose – and he still has his office suite in Chapman. But he paid us back, and he’s off the payroll – good enough for me.

Rent UO’s President Emeritus for $550 an hour

3/23/2011:  When he retired, Frohnmayer negotiated with OUS Chancellor Pernsteiner for a full-time UO paid sabbatical. Then he used the time to restart his legal career – courtesy of UO students’ tuition dollars. He’s still on the UO payroll for $100,000 a year as “President Emeritus” and we pay for his offices in the Honors College, the law school, his secretary Carol Rydbom, and $186,000 for “expenses”.

And now you can hire him through the law firm Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick for just $550 an hour.  Ain’t much, but it’s steady work: his specialty is representing state and local officials accused of ethical violations, misfeasance, and malfeasance:

Complete letter here. Back when Frohnmayer was UO President, Pat Kilkenny had to give him $490,000 to get him to lobby for the $237 million in state bonds for Matt Court. I guess the demand shifts left when you’ve no longer got that much pull with the legislature.

Frohnmayer for the defense

3/19/2011: Update: Dave’s got yet another job, this one involving a public records scandal. He’s experienced, that’s for sure. From Ted Taylor at KTVZ in Bend:

To advise them on the grand jury investigation, the county has hired two attorneys, including former University of Oregon president and former state attorney general Dave Frohnmayer, at the rate of $550 an hour.

Here’s his contract with Deschutes county. Dave, you rascal – and you’ve been telling everyone you’ve been teaching! The word is that Barbara West covers his UO classes for him – gratis – while he is working on these cases. Dr. West is a Jungian psychologist who has been Mr. Frohnmayer’s special counselor for many years.

3/12/2011: Former UO President Dave Frohnmayer seems to be carving out a niche as the go-to defense attorney for Oregon officials who are being investigated by the DOJ for corruption and misconduct. First Mark Long, now Dean Gushwa? Lane County politico Jack Roberts takes Frohnmayer’s side in the Long case, with an attack on AG John Kroger in the Oregonian. Today Kroger replies:

Citing a recent article in The Oregonian, Roberts questions the conduct of one of my attorneys during an investigation of the Oregon Department of Energy. The article was based on leaked information. This is a common defense tactic in white-collar cases. Often, targets or defense lawyers attempt to discredit government investigations in an effort to deflect attention. The criminal investigation is closed, but I cannot comment on the allegations until an ongoing personnel review is completed and the whole record is before the public.

The leaked information Kroger is talking about includes this letter by Frohnmayer and Bill Gary, who are presumably the leakers. I’m not sure Frohnmayer’s new specialty defending against charges of misconduct and corruption is an example of $490,000 in irony, or of comparative advantage and learning by doing.

When he retired Frohnmayer negotiated with OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner for a full-time UO paid sabbatical, and then used the time to restart his legal career – courtesy of UO students’ tuition dollars. He’s still on the UO payroll for $100K a year, co-teaching “Topics in Advanced Leadership”. From the syllabus:

… We will, as well, investigate how theoretical concepts about personality, training, character, and environment help us explain the principled or unprincipled exercise of power and influence. 

No shit. Who knows, maybe his old boss George Pernsteiner will be his next client.

Gov’s girlfriend investigation

3/4/2011: State energy official Mark Long was accused of helping Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber’s girlfriend, get a chunk of a federal grant. If I read this story right, Long’s attorneys Dave Frohnmayer and Bill Gary have now leaked a bunch of documents to the Oregonian, and are now threatening Sean Riddell, the state DOJ attorney who led the investigation, with an Oregon Bar ethics complaint for lying to a witness during the investigation.

Lawyers lie all the time – that’s their job – and they catch each other at it all the time. But one lawyer threatening another lawyer with an ethics investigation is almost unheard of. This is I’m going to turn over the table stuff.

What is Frohnmayer doing working on this case? Mark Long is the son of one of Frohnmayer’s old colleagues from back when he was AG. Frohnmayer started working at Harrang, Long, Gary and Rudnick back in 2009, during his sabbatical from UO. This may have been a violation of OUS rules, and the state is currently investigating this and some other irregularities in his contracts.