Wayne Dolcefino is headed to Lubbock for an important court fight with Texas Tech over the public’s right to know.
Texas Tech University says State District Judge Bill Sowder doesn’t even have the legal right to hear the case because he doesn’t have jurisdiction over the suit.
Dolcefino filed suit in January after Texas Tech failed to produce documents related to several requests for open records, including documents never released in the Mike Leach Investigation.
The winningest coach in school history was fired in December 2009, kept from leading his team in a bowl game, and the University refused to pay him $2.5 million dollars they owed.
Wayne Dolcefino is the long time investigative journalist and President of Houston based Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative communications firm.
Dolcefino is represented by Dallas attorneys Julie Pettit of The Pettit Law Firm, and Michael Hurst from Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst LLP.
“Texas Tech is a state university getting tens of millions of dollars, yet they are now spending school money to fight your right to know,” says Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “Tech is hiding the truth about the conspiracy to fire and cheat Mike Leach and it is time for them to come clean. They should use the school’s money to educate, not fight transparency. What in the world are they hiding from Red Raider fans?”
The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 pm Thursday, May 3 in Judge Bill Sowder’s Courtroom at the Lubbock County Courthouse.
Texas Tech is now claiming they cannot release records of sex assault and harassment complaints on the Lubbock campus because of a lawsuit filed by Dolcefino Consulting.
“Our lawsuit doesn’t have a thing to do with sex cases, just the improper conspiracy to fire Mike Leach and cheat him out of millions of dollars. Tech is hiding records and hiding the truth, but parents should be furious that now they want to hide their sex assault records using the Leach fight as a cover,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Dallas Attorneys Michael Hurst and Julie Pettit updated their lawsuit today against Tech for violations of the Texas Public Information Act.
The brief details the nearly 40 requests for public information filed by Dolcefino Consulting, and Texas Tech’s refusal to produce documents which should be available to the public.
“Tech claims they are immune from a public information lawsuit, they claim Lubbock Judge William ‘Bill’ Sawder doesn’t have the right to rule, and they claim they can keep secrets about the Coach Leach railroad job secret from Red Raider fans,” says Dolcefino.
Tech has asked for a hearing on May 3, 2018. Dolcefino says they are ready for a long legal battle.
“What is really sad is Texas Tech could release every single one of these records today. Instead they waste taxpayer money and money for education, to fight the public right to know. Students, Parents and Taxpayers should be asking what they are hiding. Sounds like the truth about the Leach firing isn’t out.”
Some people think the truth hasn’t come out about alleged sexism and sexual harassment in Tech’s Biology department. The University conducted an investigation after video of a retirement party for a staff member surfaced. The results of that investigation have since
disappeared from Tech’s website, but news articles say the University essentially exonerated the department.
Dolcefino Consulting recently asked for records related to sexual assault and harassment, but Tech went to the AG, claiming those records shouldn’t be released because of ongoing litigation.
“Now the University wants to hide documents detailing allegations of sexual harassment and assault on campus, and they want to blame us,” says Dolcefino. “The University is hiding a lot more than records proving the Coach Leach firing was improper I suspect.”Dolcefino v. TTU_1st Am Pet
Lubbock State District Judge, William “Bill” Sowder has set a date of May 18th for the first courtroom battle over records Texas Tech is trying to hide from Red Raider fans, students, parents and taxpayers.
Texas Tech University has withheld records detailing the investigation of former coach, Mike Leach and expenditures of the football team.
Dolcefino Consulting sought a deposition of a Texas Tech official last week. The University has moved to block the questioning, citing in part the same 100-year old sovereign immunity law used to cheat coach Leach out of 2.5 million dollars.
Dallas attorneys, Michael Hurst and Julie Pettit now want a hearing to fight for the public right to know.
“It is time to set the record straight,” says Hurst. “It is time for the whole truth. The public’s right to know should be honored by Texas Tech. What are they hiding?”
“It is sad that a Texas State University is now spending taxpayer money to fight the taxpayers’ right to know,” says Pettit. “All Dolcefino Consulting wants is sunshine and transparency. It is time to end the secrecy.”
“Every day more of the truth is coming out, one way or the other,” says Wayne Dolcefino, president of the Houston based investigation communications firm, Dolcefino Consulting. “We have already exposed the sweetheart deal given former Chancellor, Kent Hance, the secret communications that exposed the plan to cheat Coach Leach out of money he earned. Everyday Texas Tech is damaging their reputation by this arrogant withholding of public records. Coach Leach deserves the truth, but even more important, Red Raider fans deserve to know.”
Dolcefino is the long time investigative television reporter who has waged numerous battles for transparency.
“None of the records Texas Tech is hiding are confidential. The university could release them all tomorrow, avoiding the continued waste of money that should be spent on the kids,” says Dolcefino. “It is time to end the secrecy, or the mistreatment of Coach Leach will sadly curse the Red Raider nation. It doesn’t have to.
The legal action by Dolcefino Consulting followed the refusal of Texas Tech to release records obtained during the Leach investigation.
“It is time for legislators in Austin to ask what the university is hiding. We have intentionally focused our investigation on former Tech officials because they are the ones we know conspired to fire Leach and keep money owed to him, but time is running out for the current regents to do the right thing,” says Dolcefino.
Texas Tech Officials called fans and alumni nitwits and nuts in e-mails obtained by Dolcefino Consulting.
In the wake of an angry reaction to the firing of Coach Mike Leach, the University even investigated the financial support of angry fans before deciding how they would respond, if at all.
The e-mails paint a disturbing portrait of Chancellor, Kent Hance and Former Regent, Jerry Turner. Turner led the effort to fire leach. The University never completed the thorough investigation they promised, and now fight the release of the investigation they did do.
For the first time, Dolcefino Consulting has discovered some Leach documents may already have been destroyed. We discovered a shared drive with Leach communications that was created at the time of the PR disaster but, has since been destroyed.
The e-mails we have now obtained will not sit well with the Red Raider nation.
Like this one, sent by Linda Steele, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor to Kent Hance as angry fan e-mails started pouring in after the Coach Leach ouster.
“WILL WE HAVE SOME KIND OF A CANNED RESPONSE WE CAN SEND TO THESE NITWITS. IF THEY EVEN DESERVE A RESPONSE.”
Chancellor Hance kept most of the e-mails secret from the Board of Regents, but it is clear Hance had a dime view of alumni and fans who were complaining.
“DETAILS OF THE FIRING WAS FUELING THE “FLAME OF THE UNKNOWN AND UNEDUCATED.”
E-Mails show Tech officials literally spied on the history of outraged fans, just to see how much money they had given to the University.
Texas Tech has fought for months to keep many of the Leach records secret.
“These new e-mails should anger the Red Raider Nation,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.” We know Texas Tech lied to the fans about the Leach case, and now we know what they think of the fans and alumni. Apparently buying a ticket to a game or spending tens of thousands of dollars in tuition doesn’t earn fans the right to cry foul.”
Tech is also fighting release of e-mails between former Chancellor, Kent Hance and his former Chief of Staff, Jodey Arrington.
Arrington is now a West Texas Congressman. His office has refused to comment.
Texas Tech Alumni, Jodey Arrington was elected to represent Lubbock in the United States Congress in November 2016. For years prior however, the West Texas Congressman had been the right-hand man of Kent Hance, the former Chancellor at Texas Tech.
Texas Tech is now fighting to keep the public from seeing e-mails sent between Hance and Arrington during the 2009 investigation and firing of Texas Tech Football Coach Mike Leach.
Congressman Arrington refuses to discuss the Leach case, despite evidence Arrington was involved in the campaign to “dirty up” the famed football coach after fan outrage.
Dolcefino Consulting asked Texas Tech to turn over e-mails sent between Hance and Arrington about the Leach investigation. The University released just a handful of documents, including an e-mail sent by Lubbock television station General Manager Don Jackson at the time of the Leach firing.
“I hope I can someday say the actions were totally justified, but my viewers are angry,” Jackson wrote in an e-mail shared by Arrington to Kent Hance.
“Eight years after the firing, Texas Tech is hiding any e-mails sent between Hance and Arrington prior to the decision to suspend and fire Coach Leach,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “It’s time for the media in Lubbock to demand full transparency. What in the world are they hiding? I would think the Congressman would be demanding Tech release the e-mail record, so this doesn’t become a political problem for Arrington.”
Former Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance
The Texas Two Step…more than just a lottery game, or a dance step…it’s also how Texas Tech paid its outgoing Chancellor Kent Hance.
Hance worked out a deal with the University upon his retirement to become Chancellor Emeritus. His responsibilities included assisting the new Chancellor, fundraising, and teaching one class.
Those duties…and his $240,000 a year paycheck… were supposed to continue until the 3-year term expired on July 7, 2017.
Except Hance retired again.
In October of 2016, he sent a letter to his successor Chancellor Robert Duncan, stating he was retiring but wished to continue to teach his class.
The transition agreement signed by Hance and then Board Of Regents Chairman Mickey Long states in part:
“If Hance terminates this agreement prior to the end of the transitional term all obligations of the parties shall cease immediately.”
In other words…if Hance quits, he doesn’t get paid.
Documents obtained by Dolcefino Consulting will now expose the Texas Tech double dip.
One month after his second retirement Hance was rehired by the University to teach his class for a salary $44,000 a year.
But when we looked at the financial records, it simply didn’t add up.
In 2016, Texas Tech records show Hance had been paid $386,147.45, a lot more than Texas Tech was contracted to pay him.
Now you’ll know why.
Just two weeks after Hance retired the second time… Texas Tech paid him a lump sum of $153,603 that he hadn’t even earned yet under the old contract. The deal never was approved by the Board Of Regents… Just between the old Chancellor and the new one.
Hance was then re-hired to teach his class starting in November and began drawing his $44,000 a year salary.
Maybe the University figured that since it exceeded its goal of raising a billion dollars from alumni donations, that Hance deserved an extra $153,603.
But that makes you wonder why this school year, Texas Tech students are paying $110 more per semester in tuition… that’s 1391 kids, and their parents, who might have avoided paying that increase without a Kent Hance bonus.
“This is just the beginning,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “I promised Texas Tech we were going to expose their secrets until they stop cheating Mike Leach. More are coming.”
Kent Hance documentsHance letter to Chancellor
Hance Memo Terms