UC Davis Chancellor Katehi challenges Napolitano’s investigation

Jun 5, 2016 by

SACRAMENTO — Embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi launched a public relations offensive Friday, striking back at the University of California, which has hired an outside law firm to look into whether she engaged in nepotism, improperly used student fees and lied about outside contracts in violation of ethics policies.

Speaking on behalf of Katehi at a media event in Sacramento, Katehi’s lawyer, Melinda Guzman, and public relations consultant Larry Kamer accused the university of unfairly targeting Katehi and raised concerns about possible conflicts of interest involving the law firm and its head investigator.

They said Katehi could not speak about the matter herself because she has been instructed by the office of UC President Janet Napolitano not to discuss the facts of her case while the investigation is pending.

“Chancellor Katehi loves the university, she loves UC Davis,” Guzman said. “She was harmed when on April 27 President Napolitano — in a very unprecedented and very disrespectful way — publicly placed her on a paid administrative leave. … This is not an independent or a neutral investigation.”

Range of issues in probe

Napolitano placed Katehi on a 90-day leave after students and lawmakers demanded her resignation, outraged over her involvement with a for-profit education corporation and the school’s questionable use of consultants to clean up its online reputation.

The university hired law firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP to conduct the probe, which was expected to look into a range of issues, including whether Katehi misused her position so her son and his wife received advantages in their campus jobs — including $50,000 in raises to the wife. Also mentioned as areas for inquiry are Katehi’s possible involvement in contracts related to managing the campus, her reputation on social media, and the possible misuse of student fees.

The lead investigator is Orrick partner Melinda Haag, who was U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California under the Obama administration from August 2010 to September 2015. Investigators at Orrick, where Haag is in the White Collar & Corporate Investigations group, will be paid $595 an hour, a significant discount from a previously negotiated rate of $845.50.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said the firm agreed to the lower rate because the university is a public institution.

Source: UC Davis Chancellor Katehi challenges Napolitano’s investigation – SFGate

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.