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Entries in Administration (2)

Friday
Aug122011

Romantic Scandal at University of Vermont Leads to Resignations

Polka Dot Images/Thinkstock(BURLINGTON, Vt.) -- A scandalous romance among high-powered administrators at the University of Vermont has rocked the leafy campus and lead to two major resignations.

The lucrative severance packages both men received after resigning has prompted a secondary scandal at the school.

Through a public records request made by a Vermont newspaper called Seven Days, it was revealed that University President Daniel Fogel's wife Rachel Kahn-Fogel was having an inappropriate relationship with Michael Schultz, the school's assistant vice president for development. Kahn-Fogel volunteered in Schultz's office.

And there's a twist to the alleged tryst. Schultz was earning his doctorate from the school by writing a dissertation about the role of the university president's spouse. His paper was titled, "Elucidating the Role of the University CEO's Spouse in Development, Alumni Relations, and Fundraising."

The university confirmed the authenticity and release of public records to Seven Days. The newspaper reports that the Kahn-Fogel sent suggestive emails to Schultz for over six years. She also went to extra lengths to make sure that Schultz was assigned to work with her for school related events she helped coordinate and organize.

After going out to dinner together in November 2004, Kahn-Fogel wrote a long email to Schultz about the evening. "From lake viewing to lake viewing, from kiss to kiss…I will never, never forget last night and the happiness I felt with you," she wrote.

In 2006, when Schultz apparently tried to end the relationship, Kahn-Fogel wrote a long and emotional letter.

"I am very sad…I had great hopes that you and I could keep seeing each other," she wrote. "I dread that it is just a time for you to detach from me forever and that you will never see me alone again and will stop loving me. It is torture not knowing," she wrote.

Last year, Schultz separated from his wife Pauline Manning.

The school's board of trustees released their review of the situation on Wednesday.

"I want to express both my regret that this situation was allowed to continue for as long as it did, and my confidence that we will effectively address these types of issues going forward," Trustee Chairman Robert Cioffi said in a statement.

The review called Kahn-Fogel's behavior "clearly inappropriate and imprudent," but also determined that no state laws or school policies were violated.

Fogel supported the investigation and said in statement, "It is good to have reached closure on this unfortunate matter, and I regret the distractions it has caused the University." The president resigned last month.

Schultz accepted a hefty severance package on Wednesday following the school's board of trustee's investigation and review.

Schultz's controversial severance package has many outraged. In addition to receiving a full year's salary in 2012, he will maintain all of his benefits through 2011 including, "medical insurance, life insurance, cell phone allowance, access to UVM fitness center and the Bailey Howe Library," according the separation agreement. The health insurance will continue through 2012 or until he finds another job. The university will also pay tuition for Schultz's three young children.

The university will also be paying for Fogel's resignation. He will take a one year leave, during which he will retain his full salary and benefits, valued at about $410,000. In 2013, he will return to the school with a position in the English department that will pay $195,000 a year.

In response to the pricey agreements, Cioffi said, "Certainly I have heard a significant amount of anger, frustration, and second-guessing around this situation, and I completely understand the reasons for those views. I recognize that it's a lot of money, but in the national marketplace for university presidents it is not at all out of line."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan252011

Report: Bush Cabinet Officials Illegally Campaigned at Taxpayer Expense

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Several high-ranking officials in the George W. Bush administration illegally used taxpayer-funded resources to campaign for Republican candidates during the 2006 midterm elections, an independent government watchdog concludes.

The Office of Special Counsel, which was created by Congress to investigate and prosecute federal employees who violate certain workplace standards, outlined the findings of its three-year probe in a report released Monday night.

The agency condemned overt electioneering by Bush appointees during the workday and the use of taxpayer funds to cover travel expenses for at least seven cabinet secretaries who were sent out on the campaign trail.

The Hatch Act of 1939 prohibits most federal employees from engaging in "an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group" while on the clock.

The findings in the Office of Special Counsel report are based on more than 100,000 pages of evidence, most of which are e-mails, and 80 individual interviews.

The agency began its inquiry in 2007, while Bush was still in office, after allegations were raised.

Typically, the OSC would now submit its report to the Merit Systems Protection Board, an administrative body that could sanction or fire federal employees who violated federal law.

But in this case, officials said Tuesday, no referral will be made because none of the subjects of the investigation still hold appointed office.

"We will not be filing a petition for disciplinary action because the Board doesn't have jurisdiction after the employees have left their jobs," said OSC spokesman Darshan Sheth. The agency has also not made any referrals to the Department of Justice for further investigation or prosecution.

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