NYT lauds deposed dictator & one-time UO ally Ali Bongo as a musician & environmentalist

8/31/2023: Any truth to the rumor Dennis Galvan will offer him a visiting professorship in the Global Studies program, or is this the final chapter in one of the UO administration’s stranger affairs? The NYT on the coup and Bongo’s legacy, here:

“As the all-powerful ruler of oil-rich Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba had two passions, music and forests, that forged powerful ties across the world.

An accomplished musician, Mr. Bongo recorded a disco-funk albumand lured James Brown and Michael Jackson to Gabon. As president, he built a music studio at his seaside palace and played improv jazz to foreign diplomats at state dinners.

More recently, Mr. Bongo allied with Western scientists and conservationists, entranced by both the paradisiacal beauty of Gabon, an Arizona-sized country covered in lush rainforest and teeming with wildlife, and by his commitment to protecting it.

But to his own people, Mr. Bongo, 64, embodied a family dynasty, founded by his father, which had dominated Gabon for 56 years — until this week, when it came crashing down. …”

7/17/2018: President Putin steps forth to the rescue of Gabon’s Ali Bongo

Of course. After Lariviere and Galvan failed, where else could he turn?

No word on whether UO fundraiser John Manotti helped set up this meeting too. Meanwhile, former Ambassador Plenipotentiary Eric Benjaminson has moved on from UO to Chicago.

9/3/2016: Lariviere’s deal with Ali Bongo and Eric Benjaminson collapses in violence

The history of this bizarre UO foray into foreign affairs has yet to be written, but so far it involves the US ambassador to Gabon seeing a chance for a retirement gig at UO, the State Department’s sophomoric remix of Kissinger’s real-politic, Richard Lariviere’s desperate effort to get some money for something other than Duck sports, and a lot of oil money stolen from some very poor Africans. Like so many corrupt Oregon deals, some otherwise smart people gave it a pass because it was carefully packaged as “green” and “sustainable”. Oregon and Gabon: Twin Edens.

Here’s UO President Richard Lariviere at the White House with President Bongo and US Ambassador Eric Benjamin – now a UO employee – in happier times in 2010:

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The Guardian reports on kleptomaniacal President for Life Bongo’s current re-election dispute. Many have died:

… However, Bongo scored lower than his father, who famously won 100% of the national vote in the 1986 election, with a 99.9% turnout, when Gabon was still a one-party state.

[Opposition candidate Jean Ping], a half-Chinese diplomat who was previously one of the Bongo family’s most trusted cronies, rejected the result and demanded a recount in Haut Ogooué.

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And the NYT gives Ping a platform:

On Saturday, Aug. 27, presidential elections were held in my country,Gabon, in West Africa, and I was the candidate who won by a substantial vote margin. Nearly a week later, I would have expected to be addressing the world as Gabon’s president-elect, ready and willing to work with the United States and all our international partners to fight terrorism, build our economies and improve the lives of our citizens through increased development and cooperation.

Sure. That and deliver a share of the spoils to his partners.

1/18/2016: UO Foundation must write off Bongo’s $15M endowment promise

Under the Foundation’s rules they had until the end of 2016 to get the money from Gabon or take it off the books. Maybe I’m missing the nuance in this Le Monde article, but obviously it’s not coming by 2016. The truth is there is no money: Ali Bongo blew it on luxury real estate, fast cars, soccer players, and wives, while leaving his country mired in poverty. The collapsing price of oil made it impossible for his government to continue to keep up the pretense.

And so ends one of Richard Lariviere’s crazier ideas. One of the RG’s several critical editorials on it is here, and other UOM posts are here. Thanks to Bongo’s political opponents for forwarding the link, and best of luck in the elections and after:

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12/27/2015: Gabon’s kleptomaniacal President for Life Ali Bongo stiffs UO on $15M gift

Rumor down at Dennis Galvan’s Office of International Affairs is that there are a lot of nuances here, and we may get the money “soon”.

Sure. With oil below $40 and an election coming up amidst the ongoing French investigations of corruption, and family infighting over the loot accumulated by Bongo’s father Omar, I’m thinking the UO Foundation is going to have to write off the $15M endowment gift that Bongo promised UO back in 2011 pretty soon.

But apparently former US Ambassador to Gabon Eric Benjaminson, whom we hired to run the “Twin Edens” project shortly after he convinced Bongo to give the money, still has a couple million left from the original $5M, and is funding a variety of research projects.

For more on this story, including the suitcases of cash Bongo has been sending his American wife, and some spectacular real estate purchases, check out the Gabon tab below.

Union Bargaining XIV: Gottfredson’s response is to stall

Venue: Room 122 Knight Library, 8AM, Thursday 3/21/2013.


Prologue: (Comparator gaps by dept here, what to cut here, Moffitt’s secret budget here.)

You might have thought Michael Gottfredson would have asked Kitzhaber for authority to deal with UO’s faculty pay problem, before he agreed to take the UO president’s job. But maybe he was more concerned about pinning down his own $540K salary. For comparison, the Chancellor of UCLA gets $425K, after 6 years in the job.

In Sept 2011, Lariviere wrote to OUS, in defense of his plan to get UO salaries to our comparators, despite the state salary freeze in place at the time:

Read it all here, lots of stuff about NTTF raises too. The salary freeze has been history for 2 years, Pernsteiner leaves in 11 days. PSU and OSU faculty have had raises, so have UO’s OAs, and many central administrators. On Tuesday, in Session XIII, the union proposed a realistic, comprehensive salary package with both merit and external equity comments, along the lines of the 2011 proposal from the administration – which was supposed to have been fully implemented by 2013-14.

But President Gottfredson’s administrative bargaining team responded to the union’s proposal to at least make a bit of progress on this by 2015-16 with sarcasm and ridicule. VPFA Jamie Moffitt said that despite having reserves above the OUS *maximum* UO could not afford these raises – but she won’t show her budget forecasts. Doug Blandy denied that faculty were leaving over salaries. Rudnick suggested that the AAU peer group comparisons were now irrelevant, and that UO couldn’t afford both wi-fi and competitive faculty pay, and that faculty would need to pick one or the other.
Cast: Blandy and Slim and helper lawyers, no Gleason, no Altmann.

Disclaimer: This is my opinion of what people said, were thinking, or of their treppenwitz. Nothing is a quote unless in quotes.


Act I:

Rudnick: Trying to drag this out in hopes union members will get nervous about Beangram on raises. Admin can’t assess raise proposal without total compensation package (inclusive of leaves, sabbaticals, etc). The take it or leave it approach doesn’t work for Rudnick after all? We met yesterday about your salary proposals but we don’t have a response. Moffitt is “costing them out” and comparing to her secret budget projections. Here’s hoping she’s also going through the list of admin bloat.

Admin response to Art 6: Dues:

Rudnick: blah, blah. Gleason walks in, looking pissed about something, as usual.

Art 18: Union proposal on Discipline and Termination.

Gleason perks up. This has new relevance giving the Olmsted incident last week. Mauer drops an Arlo reference. Chuckles from the faculty team and the group W bench. Admins apparently are not fans. Mauer goes through their list step by step, explains problems, explains that they have not clarified previous questions as they promised, explains what union does accept, explains objections. Hits them on the petty stuff they inserted in the contract even though it’s already covered under law. Union does not propose docking admin pay for bowl game junkets.

Rudnick: Sec 9: Intended to treat unapproved leave as “voluntary resignation”. Not discipline. Mauer: Arbitrator would normally say that the employer had an obligation to investigate the circumstances. Here? Rudnick: Putting that aside, If the terms of the section were complied with, we would not want an arbitrator to be able to arbitrate – they’ve abandoned their job. Mauer: Some anthropologist is incommunicado in the field. You fire them. No grievance or arbitration where they could explain the circumstances? Rudnick: Your sec 9 is unclear. Mauer: Agreed, we withdraw this section for now.

Brief break, admins chatting with Doxsee about what a shame it is that the faculty has made this process so adversarial, given how well-managed the university has been. To them, we’re a bunch of ingrates.

Rudnick: What actions away from work would be grounds for discipline? Your section seems narrow. Suppose a professor was engaged in visiting pornography websites not adult pornography ones like the Nu Bay Porn Site but instead child pornography websites, but not involving a university student, and during the summer. Mauer: There are volumes of arbitration allowing that actions outside the workplace would be grounds for discipline. Rudnick: But your language would not seem to allow that discipline. You limit just cause in the contract. Mauer: Typical contract language just says “just cause and progressive discipline” because there’s so much labor law explaining the details. You want to add more specifics.

Mostly this is about the administration trying to make the faculty look bad, and trying to paint the administration as the guardians needed to protect the students and community from the crazy professors.

Rudnick: OK, maybe this list of things was not required, I’m coming around to your view, after charging you $10K to write this crap, and arguing about it for weeks. Now I’ll go charge you to cut and paste the language from your proposal.

FWIW, the administration now admits that there are emails between their bargaining team members about child porn:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “a copy of any emails containing all of the words ‘child’, ‘pornography’ (or porn) and ‘union’ as well as any that read ‘why not try this out‘ or words similar followed by a link to a porn website or file sharing website, sent or received by Michael Gottfredson, Randy Geller, Doug Park, Tim Gleason, Doug Blandy, Barbara Altmann, or Jim Bean, from 1/1/2013 to the present [2/08/2013]”, on 02/08/2013, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests. The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $879.75.

Tim Gleason was the first to bring this up, at a bargaining meeting back in December. I assume these emails are about how to use this paedophilia ploy to attempt to embarrass the faculty. But I don’t think I’m going to pay them $879.75 to see the sordid details, especially since Rudnick now seems happy to drop the whole thing.

Art 21. Fringe benefits: Union proposal.

: Vouchers for child care – some tax advantage to employees and UO from this. $625 per term if over 0.5FTE, and reimbursement for special events held at night. Gleason: You want the current TRP or a TRP? Could we change it? Mauer: Through negotiations. Rudnick: What would this cost? Mauer: We don’t know, we will estimate.

My back of the envelope: about half what we give JH for their bowl game junkets. Here’s Lorraine Davis’s deal – UO pays for her spouse and kids to go to Pasadena:

Art 25. Termination of TTF not for cause. Union proposal.

Mauer: Standard AAUP stuff on how universities can terminate tenured faculty only after showing financial exigency, etc. Bean gets a much better deal as terminated provost – full year’s provost’s pay.

Art 39: Notification. Boilerplate.

Art 42: Criminal background checks:

Currently not required by UO policy for all faculty. Rudnick thinks they are. Gleason thinks it should be. Confusion reigns. Rudnick will check.

Rudnick wants the university to be able to decide for itself what crimes affect job performance. She wants all criminal convictions reported to the provost – otherwise the university would never know and be able to make it’s own decision. Seems reasonable – this would be convictions, not just arrests or charges. Gleason just can’t keep quiet – what kind of criminal activity is not relevant to being a public employee? Mauer: Suppose a physics professor got convicted of bigamy… Why is no one talking about getting busted for pot? Davidson: Some things are criminal, very embarrassing to have to tell your supervisor, but totally unrelated to your work as a professor.

I’ve got a proposal: Jamie Moffitt agrees to share the university’s financial info with the faculty, and I’ll tell interim Provost Bean all about my criminal history as a transvestite prostitute in Salt Lake City or my brief time making porn for websites like shemalehd sex.

Art 43: Drugs and Alcohol, union counterproposal

Mauer: We think this addresses your concerns. (To me this seems like another article where the administration is just trying to use the contract language as a chance to enumerate all the bad and sad things that can happen to human beings, with the faculty as examples, to try and show how difficult a job the administration has managing such a troublesome lot of cantankerous drunks and stoners). Rudnick starts picking at it. Gleason’s tell: he rubs his fingers together whenever Rudnick says “discipline”.


Mauer: We will send you all our economic proposals ASAP so you can get Moffitt to do her secret costing analysis and give us the money before it all gets spent on your legal fees, guns, and baseball subsidies.

Rudnick: We will not have a response to your raise proposal by next session either, because our people are on vacation.

Next session Tuesday, April 2, same room. Meeting closes with Mauer leading the faculty in song, as Rudnick et al slink out in discouragement:

Kitzhaber fires Lariviere

11/22/2011: Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week has the scoop:

WW has learned that Oregon University System board members met with University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere on Monday, telling him that when his contract expires in June, it will not be renewed. Governor John Kitzhaber surprised Lariviere by affirming that decision in a 4 p.m. meeting today.

Dr. Pernsteiner wins. UO loses. My first thought is there is no way in hell I want to work for George Pernsteiner without a strong faculty union on my side. So let’s start one – where and when can I sign that card check? Am I nuts?

Honest, competent, and he wanted the best for UO. It’s amazing the state’s old guard let him stay this long.  Remember what OUS did to Paul Olum? Meanwhile who will be interim President? Frohnmayer? Lorraine Davis? Melinda Grier as GC? Moseley as Provost? Disastrous. Rep. Phil Barnhart gives Lariviere a strong defense in this RG story. 

If you want to email Pernsteiner and the OUS Board members and tell them what you think – or ask them what they plan to do now that they own UO – the addresses are

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected] ,  prest[email protected][email protected], [email protected]

Lariviere interviewed in Emerald

9/19/2011: Good questions from Tyree Harris, and some detailed answers, read it all here. A sample:

ODE: What progress do you hope to make this year with the New Partnership? What progress do you think can be made given the new terms of your contract?

RL: My contract doesn’t have anything to do with it. And the terms of my contract wouldn’t impede me from speaking my mind on this anyway. Governor Kitzhaber has really got this about right, I think. He’s got this new perspective on the state’s investment in education. 60 cents of every taxed dollar is spent on education, but it’s spent in silos on pre-K, K-12, community college and universities. And there’s no attempt to measure, from the state’s perspective, whether this oath investment is doing what we want it to do as an electorate. All we ask is, “Is pre-K doing a good job?” and we go to pre-K and say “Are you doing a good job?” and guess what, the answer is, “Yeah, we think so.” K-12, same conversation. Nobody’s stepping back and saying “is our investment resulting in a kid being able to go through this process to fulfill herself to the maximum potential, in a way that is going to be of a long-term benefit to the state of Oregon?” Those kind of questions have not been asked. This governor is asking those questions. He’s got a new structure for education that I think is really intriguing, and it matches with our understanding of our segment of higher education at the University of Oregon very, very well. Our intention is to follow the governor’s lead on the implementation of this new plan, and work with him and the Oregon Education Investment Board, OEIB, to figure out the details of implementation that will optimize the return on the investment that the state is making. My conversations with this governor around these issues have been a real breath of fresh air. This is one smart cookie, and I’m pretty cynical about politicians.

ODE: Did that make it a difficult decision for you to give those raises while classified employees are taking furloughs?

RL: Well they’re separate issues. We have no control over those negotiations. We have very little input into it. We have some, but we’re just one voice among seven institutions negotiating with the OUS faction, and then there’s the Department of Administrative Services negotiating with the SEIU as well, so we don’t really have a lot to say about the outcome of those decisions. And I have to be pretty careful about what I say about that because they’re negotiating now anyway. This is an institution that rises and falls on the basis of the quality of the people who work here. It’s not about the bricks and mortar. It’s only important to the extent that the people who work here can do their jobs well. Our salaries for our faculty, for example, when I came here were 80 percent of the average of our peers, so 20 percent below average. In that environment, with highly mobile, highly talented people, you’re vulnerable. Not to do something about that would be the height of irresponsibility.

A battle Oregon should duck

6/17/2011: Full Oregonian editorial here:

It’s possible that the rancor between the board and the president is already too deep to produce the kind of unified chorus that the system needs. But that would also be a loss. Lariviere, although leaving a trail of broken china in his wake, has also forcefully raised the issue of what quality university system Oregon wants, helped put the question higher on the state agenda. His proposal for the bond issue, although unaffordable by the state and unfair to other institutions, has underlined the need for new ideas on how Oregon will pay for higher education.

Oregon’s higher education debate can use Lariviere’s excitement, but it can’t use a poisonous family argument. It also deeply needs a single message and unified leadership.

The OUS board is fighting Kitzhaber’s plan as well. Pernsteiner’s been in charge for 7 years. He has no coherent alternative proposal for Oregon higher education. Fire *him*.

Pernsteiner gets all pissy

6/17/11: From the Statesman Journal editors blog:

– President Lariviere was absent for three of the five full State Board of Higher Education meetings during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

– His new contract has not been written but these are the conditions read during the board’s meeting by telephone this week:

Richard Lariviere Contract conditions:

(1) (a) Attendance at Board meetings and Presidents’ Council meetings, absent a legitimate and unavoidable conflict;

 (b) Active participation in Board, Board committee, and OUS discussions on governance, institution boards, and sustainable financing models in preparation for the 2012 legislative session, including presenting and advocating for a specific proposal on governance and financing now known as “The New Partnership” for Board committee and Board consideration;

(c) Refrain from advocating, in any way, including through employees and contractors, for The New Partnership or a governance/financing proposal substantially similar to The New Partnership, except through the Board’s processes;

(d) Refrain from opposing any legislative proposal adopted by the Board and/or advanced by the Governor for presentation to the 2012 Oregon Legislative Assembly.  

(2) Termination without cause providing for 30 days’ notice and liquidated damages of whatever state salary is remaining on the contract.  

Shove it, Dr. Pernsteiner. The weird part is Mrs. Gerlingher predicted all this, back in 1939.

OUS attacks UO

6/15/2011: From Bill Graves in the Oregonian:

University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere must become a team player, show up at board meetings and stop putting his university at odds with the state system if he wants to keep his job, says the State Board of Higher Education.

… (UO spokesperson Phil) Weiler said he could not say whether Lariviere would accept the contract.

Read Greg Bolt of the RG for a mash-up of contradictory Paul Kelly quotes. Then there’s this:

Another addition to Lariviere’s contract is a clause allowing the board to terminate him without cause with 30 days’ notice.

Outrageous. Lariviere’s job is to run UO, not fetch Dr. Pernsteiner’s croissants. The new partnership is good for UO, the state, and our students. What does Pernsteiner have to offer in its place? He is just trying to protect his $304,000 paycheck and expense accounts.

My money is on Lariviere to win this one – if he stays. But with that clause in his contract, he’s probably calling recruiting firms already. Which is of course why Pernsteiner put it in. If they force him out, Pernsteiner and Kelly are going to have a hard time finding a credible replacement. Bean for a year? Frohnmayer? The fight is going to leave their reputations, and UO, in ruin.

UO now faces serious trouble unless Kitzhaber can get SB909 through the legislature – only a few days left. SB909 will give the OUS authority to a new board.

Fortunately the legislature did give us armed campus police to deter the growing nuclear threat from OSU.

UO and the kleptocratic "President" of Gabon

6/14/2011 update: A commenter forwards us one UO connection: The US Ambassador to Gabon, Eric Benjaminson, is a UO history grad.

6/14/2011 update: Latest word is that the details of the donation are not set, and may be government funds – though apparently in Gabon there is no distinction between government money and Bongo family money:

A spokesman for President Bongo insisted to ABC News that he is a reformer who is working to fight corruption in the country. The spokesman offered no explanation to ABC News, however, as to how Bongo’s family has been able to amass such a great fortune. 

6/13/2011 update: Apparently a member of President Bongo’s inner circle is a UO alum and is giving $20 million to support this Center. I think the phrase is “Avec quel argent?” Not clear if anyone at UO has done due diligence as to the source of the money. People are thinking about the Grayson Hall donation 10 years ago. The US Senate report on Bongo family corruption is here, pages 108-173.

6/11/2011: President Lariviere posted on his blog yesterday:

Today I am meeting with Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, at Blair House across the street from the White House in Washington, D.C., where we are formalizing an agreement to establish the Gabon-Oregon Transnational Research Center on Environment and Development.

I can see an argument that would justify UO making a deal with the head of a notoriously kleptocratic government, if there is hope our efforts will move it even a little in the right direction or just do something incremental to improve people’s lives. But those benefits are only going to come if we are honest about the problems. We’re not off to a good start. Read the insulting fluff in UO’s press release:

The partnership was established as part of the UO’s Global Oregon Initiative, an internationalization effort that was selected as one of five “Big Ideas” to define university-wide priorities for interdisciplinary research and teaching.

Gabon, with a population of 1.5 million, is one of the richest nations in its region after 50 years of coastal and offshore oil production. But its leaders acknowledge that oil will not last forever, and its democratically-elected president (Ali Bongo) has introduced a sweeping “Gabon Emergent” program to shift the country’s economic focus, eliminate government corruption that existed before his 2009 election, and modernize the country’s workforce.

Plus, it’s about sustainability! It’s green! It’s a wonderful partnership! We are honored!

“Oregon and Gabon share abundant natural beauty, economies traditionally based on natural resources and a strong commitment to green, sustainable development,” Lariviere said. “These similarities will make for a wonderful partnership.

“Gabon is at an economic crossroad that can never be revisited,” he said. “The University of Oregon is recognized as a world leader in research and teaching in the areas of sustainable development, environmental conservation and green business. We are honored to be able to share our experience and expertise with the Gabonese government as it strives to make critical decisions about the country’s future.”

Matt Cooper, in a front page story in the RG, is not buying it:

 … But critics said Bongo’s rise to power in a 2009 election was riddled with fraud, according to The New York Times. In a profile of Gabon it published in 2009, the Times wrote that 60 percent live on less than $2 a day and only 10 percent of roads are paved.

“While the Bongo clan has reveled in its possessions, including more than three dozen of the most sumptuous real estate holdings in Paris, the vast majority of people in Gabon have been left behind in the dust that chokes the sprawling hillside slums here,” the Times report stated.

ABC’s story on Gabon on Wednesday is called “‘Grand Theft Nation’: Ali Bongo Goes to the White House”:

… Omar Bongo and now his son Ali Bongo have for more than 40 years run a regime in Gabon which diverts their country’s wealth for their family’s personal use,” Sen. Carl Levin, D.-Michigan, told ABC News. Sen. Levin said that a 2010 Congressional report on foreign corruption from an investigative committee that he chairs “shows how the Bongos misused U.S. financial institutions to carry out suspicious transactions involving millions of dollars.”

The Bongos have literally dozens of luxury homes worth millions of dollars everywhere from Beverly Hills, where they own three homes, to the French Riviera. After a criminal complaint filed by a human rights group, authorities in France found that the family had more than 30 luxury properties in that nation alone, including a $120 million, 14-bedroom townhouse in Paris that Ali Bongo bought just last year.

 The Telegraph details the corruption:

Gabon, with a population of only 1.5 million and a per capita income of just $1,438, has never been a key US “partner”, as Carney ludicrously spins it, and as for “reform efforts”, they are nowhere to be seen. But it does have a reputation for being a massive kleptocracy governed by a ruling family that has been in power for more than four decades, since 1967. According to UN consultant Jack Blum in an interview with ABC, the Bongo family and its cronies have “siphoned off 25 percent of the gross domestic product of the country… the people who are running the country are guilty of grand theft nation.”
Human Rights watchdog Freedom House classifies Gabon as “not free”, with a political rights score of 6 (on a scale of 1 at the top, and 7 at the bottom), and a civil liberties score of 5. As Freedom House points out, Gabon is a classic one-party state:

Gabon is not an electoral democracy. The 2009 presidential election was marred by irregularities, including allegations of vote rigging and intimidation of the press. The president is elected for seven-year terms, and a 2003 constitutional amendment removed the two-term limit imposed in 1991. The president has extensive powers, including the authority to appoint judges and dissolve the parliament.

And as the US State Department points out in its latest annual report, Gabon has an appalling human rights record (UOM: though better than under Bongo’s dad.)

The following human rights problems were reported: ritualistic killings; use of excessive force by police; harsh prison conditions and lengthy pretrial detention; an inefficient judiciary subject to government influence; restrictions on privacy and press; harassment and extortion of African immigrants and refugees; widespread government corruption; violence against women; societal discrimination against women, noncitizen Africans, Pygmies, and persons with HIV/AIDS; and trafficking in persons, particularly children.

You would think an important and obviously controversial decision of this sort would be carefully considered and debated by the UO faculty, and that UO’s communications about it would honestly address the obvious and important issues and the problems with Gabon’s government and President whom we are now going to be working with.

Nope. The UO press release reads like North Korean propaganda, with a little Eugene sustainability pap on top. It appears the decision was made by Provost Bean and President Lariviere without consultation with the UO Senate or with the Faculty Advisory Committee. I looked through Provost Bean’s 5 pet ideas website – nothing mentioning this. No draft agreements, committee discussions or anything but press releases on the UO website.

Here’s a bit of the $120 million house Bongo bought in Paris. I’m no romance language professor, but I’m pretty sure the gentleman holding the chains is not a Realtor giving Bongo a walk through. Apparently a legal dispute between the sellers and Bongo led to public disclosure that he had bought it, and then paid another $50 million for renovations. The money apparently comes from stolen oil revenues.

Here’s another. Here’s the Freedom House report on Gabon: rated not free. Thanks to an anonymous UO professor for the info on this. Also see BoJack’s post.

If anyone knows more, post a comment. 

Attorney General reviews Lariviere’s deal with Bellotti

3/29/2010: More on the verbal contract is here. Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian reports:

The Oregon Department of Justice is reviewing the resignation agreement between Mike Bellotti and the University of Oregon, a handshake-based deal that calls for $2.3 million in payments to the former Oregon athletic director.

The agreement was first reported by the Eugene Register-Guard on March 19, the day Bellotti announced he was leaving to take a job at ESPN. Oregon president Richard Lariviere signed it that day; Bellotti had signed it March 16.

Bellotti, who was to be paid $675,000 annually, did not have a written contract during the nine months he spent as athletic director. The departure agreement apparently also was unwritten until shortly before Bellotti resigned.

“A lot of issues, that among them, have been raised in the media,” said spokesman Tony Green of the Oregon Department of Justice. “At this point the attorney general doesn’t have any firsthand information about it, so that’s the purpose of the review.”  

 Mark Baker of the RG has a story on this as well.

As we wrote earlier, UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier, who approved this sham, is also an Oregon Special Assistant Attorney General. Her husband Jerry Lidz is the Oregon Solicitor General. And Dave Frohnmayer is a former Oregon Attorney General. So it’s pretty safe to say current AG John Kroger is not going to do anything to clean up the situation here at UO.

3/25/2010: Steve Duin of the Oregonian gets the Oregon Attorney General’s office to comment on UO’s deal with Bellotti:

“As a general principle, the attorney general believes oral contracts are inconsistent with government transparency.”

No kidding. Of course UO’s General Counsel Melinda Grier, who approved this sham, is also an Oregon Special Assistant Attorney General. Her husband Jerry Lidz is the Oregon Solicitor General. And Dave Frohnmayer is a former Oregon Attorney General. So it’s pretty safe to say current AG John Kroger is not going to do anything to clean up the situation here at UO.