The Unanimous Approval of Ira Lubert as PSU BOT Chairman is a Final Disgrace
Yesterday the Penn State Board of Trustees unanimously voted Ira Lubert to be its new chairman. On the surface, this would not seem to be a big deal, or even directly related to the fight to restore the legacy of Joe Paterno and get some justice in this fiasco (except, of course, to the insane Second Mile conspiracy nuts,) . But it is indeed significant, and for me it is basically the straw that broke the camel's back.
Lubert is the person who was in charge of the nearly $100,000,000 in clearly bogus settlements that Penn State has paid to fraudulent Sandusky accusers, the vast majority of whom would never have won anything from PSU in court, even if their claims were truthful. He did this in a way where Penn State will not even be reimbursed by their insurance company (as Lubert apparently thought they would be) for most of the claims.
Even worse, the very partial strategic leaking of these obviously absurd settlement claims has allowed the news media to joyfully hammer the final nails in the coffin of damnation for Joe Paterno in public perception. This is a casket from which I no longer see any realistic escape.
To top it all off, none of this is really in much dispute, especially not to the nine or so "Pro-Paterno" members of the board. Frankly, I believe that Lubert himself knows, at least at some level, that everything I have written here is true.
As I recently discussed for the first time publicly on WRSC-AM in State College, I have strong evidence that Lubert,, when faced with some mild objections from the board that the settlements may not be legitimate, lied to a board member (who then spread that lie to probably Jerry Sandusky's most important potential supporter, Bruce Heim) about there being a tape of Sandusky sexually abusing a boy.
While there is no way for me to prove it, I believe the most logical scenario here is that Lubert himself was concluding that the settlements were very questionable, but that PSU (and himself) were in far too deep and that there was no going back. After all, the money was all "free" and none of the details would ever get out publicly anyway, so what difference did it really make?
Gee, how did THAT turn out, Ira?
Now, one would think that under this set of circumstances that Lubert would be roundly criticized and that, no matter how rich he is, his influence would be nonexistent after this fiasco. Instead, in keeping with EVERYTHING about this case being completely upside-down, he is now elected, unanimously, as the chairman of the board!
Of course, the most outrageous element of this vote is that every single "Pro-Paterno" member of the board went along with this without the slightest objection. Anthony Lubrano, who had recently publicly indicated that he would strongly oppose such a move, not only voted for it, but even praised Lubert in his lame statement after the vote in which he implied Lubert had made some sort of promise, surely with regard to honoring Paterno, to secure his vote (whatever).
Lubrano, the leader of the "Pro-Paterno" board contingent, is someone with whom I have had an up and down relationship. He is a key player in my "Framing of Joe Paterno" documentary and we have spent a lot of time together. I think he is a very smart guy with good intentions, but it is also clear to me that Anthony is mostly about Anthony (he was almost giddy when he called me after I got destroyed following my first Today Show appearance on this story). I ripped him both publicly and privately after he voted for the original settlements because I knew that they were not only bogus, but that they would come back to haunt us all.
That episode pretty much ended our relationship, but when Anthony publicly admitted that he was wrong to have supported the settlements, and his view of the entire case clearly began to change (I am quite sure that he knows, as do Bob Capretto, Rob Tribeck, Ryan McCombie, and probably others on the board, that Sandusky is almost certainly innocent) the ice between us began to melt. I had even begun to trust Anthony again as he started to be helpful to my cause. However, after yesterday, that ice is now quickly refreezing.
Contrary to public perception, I am an extremely patient, understanding and forgiving person. We all make mistakes (I know I have made tons, though none bigger than getting involved in this case) and some people have more to lose or different considerations that they must calculate to determine what is the best long-term strategy under such challenging circumstances as these. However, once a person steps over the line multiple times in a way that no longer allows for any benefit of the doubt, I am done with them (For instance, Barbara Doran told me to my face she wouldn't vote for the settlements and then she rudely hung up on me when I confronted her about actually doing so. She recently publicly admitted the settlements were a mistake, though oddly I received no apology).
That is how I now feel about the supposedly "Pro-Paterno" board members.
The idea that there is some brilliant or even plausible "long game" at work in this "strategy" of constant total surrender is just simply, sadly, laughable, The entire history of this case tells us that this is obviously so. There has never been even remote benefit to any of the prior unconditional surrenders, which include:
-- Allowing former PSU president, Rodney Erickson, who surrendered to the NCAA, to have his name attached to a PSU building, with no objection.
-- Voting for unrestrained, exorbitant, and un-vetted victim settlements, with no objection.
-- Allowing the NCAA sanctions to be removed in a way where the NCAA can claim they did nothing wrong.
Lubert has ZERO incentive, other than maybe some personal feelings of guilt, to make himself look like a fool by doing anything which ever discredits the settlements. Giving him this kind of power, without even a symbolic objection, is not ever going to pay any real dividends. This is especially so when Lubert's opposition has made it VERY clear that they are all effectively impotent cowards. Heck, at this rate, Beaver Stadium will soon be renamed for Matt Sandusky (or whatever name he is going by at that time).
There is no better proof that there is no reason to buy this "trust us" narrative which Lubrano is desperately trying to sell to his remaining PS4RS sycophants than what happened with the most recent settlement revelations. As soon it was announced that the records would be released in 30 days, I pleaded on the phone with Lubrano, Capretto and Franco Harris that some sort of plan to react very strongly be put in place. Lubrano, who completely agreed with me that this was going to be a media disaster, promised that this was going to happen.
But despite having a month of heads-up, there was NO plan at all and not even a single shot was fired in response. Lubrano laughably even went on one of the most anti-Paterno radio shows in the country and refused to even say that the obviously fraudulent 1970s accusations against Joe Paterno are lies, even when he knows with 100% certainty that they are.
The rest is now history, almost certainly forever.
So when Lubrano tells us to just trust him, that is simply no longer nearly good enough. Fool me once...fool me twice... fool me three times...
For me personally, the most trying element has been the role of Capretto. I have enormous respect for Bob and have considered him to be a good friend. Because of this, I have held him to a higher standard than anyone else and we have had many EXTREMELY trying and intense conversations throughout this ordeal, including again today. I know he felt literally sick about the Lubert vote.
However, Bob continues to hide behind the idea that there is nothing the "good guys" can do because they obviously don't have a majority of votes on the board. I vehemently disagree with this idea (hopefully me going public with my complaints about him and Lubrano will elevate their stature on the board, as I know Bob has been criticized for being a friend to me and Anthony has been extremely wary of that perception).
The false premise here is that somehow there is no value in strongly objecting in a losing battle (take, for instance, what the Democrats in Congress recently did with their gun control "sit in"). What he and the others have REALLY concluded is: "since we will surely lose the vote, there is no way for us to fight and not look bad to our fellow elite club members and to the news media."
For far too long I put up with this wimpy perspective because I thought we were making some progress, because I thought we still had enough time to theoretically pull this off, and because I gave these board members the benefit of the doubt that they were keeping their powder dry for a better hill to die on (the amazing part here is that heat in this case is so intense that Capretto and the others have sincerely convinced themselves that they really have been fighting really hard!).
Well, now there is no longer any progress (quite the opposite), it is clear that the media misinformation has extended the time it would take to possibly reverse this far beyond what Jerry Sandusky has yet to live, and there will never be a better place to make a last stand than over these obviously ludicrous settlements which expose the entire case as a fraud.
We lost. And these cowards posing as heroes did nothing to even remotely endanger their precious reputations and instead have rationalized that there will be another better day to fight, or that constant capitulation will eventually somehow result in victory.
I have far more disdain for most of these "Pro-Paterno" board members than I do the corrupt idiots on the the other side of this catastrophe. To me, those who actually know the truth here and have at least some self interest to combat this grotesque injustice, and yet still do nothing to risk even mild criticism, deserve the most scorn. In short, fake heroes are way worse than duped villains.
How all of these people could, confident that an innocent man is now effectively being tortured in prison, three innocent administrators are still under a phony indictment, and that a dead man's great legacy is being forever destroyed without merit, sit back and allow the greatest evidence of that injustice to go un-repudiated and the creator of that "evidence" to be rewarded, is simply incomprehensible.
To me, the saddest numbers in all of this entire clusterfark are that history will forever record the the following:
Number of Penn State board members who objected to Joe Paterno's firing in the middle of a media panic: 0
Number of Penn State board members who objected to massive money being paid to fake accusers for which PSU wouldn't have been found responsible in court: 0
Number of Penn State board members who objected to the man who perpetrated the settlement fraud and allowed it to further and forever destroy the reputations of many good people: 0
When I stupidly got involved in this case I already had a dim view of humanity. I now despise human beings with a white hot passion that I can not even describe. Even still, there will now always be a special category of hatred in my heart for the "leadership" of Penn State University.