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Friday, August 17, 2012

Carol Garrison's "Reign of Error" Comes to a Merciful Conclusion on Birmingham's Southside

Carol Garrison

Yesterday's announcement that Carol Garrison is stepping down as president of UAB is the best news to come out of Birmingham in a long time. Given the university's status as our state's No. 1 driver of economic activity, it should be good news for all Alabamians.

Garrison and her corrupt administration have been a drag on UAB for 10 years, and her ouster comes about nine years too late. But it's doubtful that Garrison has left any irreparable damage, and now UAB has an opportunity to get back on the upward path that once made it a shining success story for higher education in the Deep South.

What were the circumstances behind Garrison's exit? The answer to that question is not fully clear, but I saw signs about a month ago that she might be floating her name for other presidential jobs. If that was the case, it means Garrison was forced out--and her departure has been in the works for a while.

What makes me think that? Well, here is the pertinent portion of an e-mail I wrote to a friend on July 14:

I had an interesting visitor to my blog today. Someone from Tennessee State University in Nashville has spent about 2 1/2 hours looking up stuff on Carol Garrison and John Shumaker, her old boyfriend who got canned at UT. 
They seem to be searching mainly on Garrison, but it's hard to tell for sure because a lot of my posts about her also include info about him. 
I Googled "Tennessee State presidential search," and here is what popped up: 
http://tnstatenewsroom.com/archives/5564

What does this tell us? Someone at Tennessee State University in Nashville was doing extensive research on Carol Garrison, John Shumaker, or both--and the university did, in fact, have a presidential search under way at the time. Here are some other key points from my e-mail of about a month ago:

They do have a presidential search going on, and it started in May. Is it possible that Garrison knows she's on the way out at UAB and is floating her name at various schools? Could Shumaker be trying to get back into the higher-ed game? Not sure what he's been doing. 
TSU, of course, is a historically black university, so it's hard to see them going for either Garrison or Shumaker. But who knows what might happen these days. Thought I would share. 
Checking searches on your blog can provide interesting clues sometimes. I saw signs that Cheryl Locke was heading from UAB to Wake Forest, and that Gary Mans was headed from UAB to Louisville, based on searches that landed on Legal Schnauzer.

(Memo to UAB employees: Don't piss me off. If I write negative things about you, I have a strong presence on search engines--and any possible future employer is likely to track down my work. I also have a battalion of devoted readers from UAB, and they pass me more information about unscrupulous and dysfunctional managers than you might imagine. My posts about Locke and Mans mainly pointed out that they apparently were forced to take directions from a corrupt president, so I don't think that hampered their career moves. But you might not want to tempt fate by getting on the Schnauzer's bad side. Grrr.)

To be sure, analyzing blog statistics is as much art as science--and we do not have all the facts on what prompted yesterday's announcement. But the available information tells me that Carol Garrison probably was forced out, and she's known her fate for at least a couple of months.

Still, we have this question: Why would a university president announce that she is stepping down on the second day of fall classes? Even though Garrison was a horribly weak leader, the curious timing of her announcement is bound to cause uncertainty for UAB faculty, staff, and students--at a time when a campus is supposed to be flush with the optimism of a new academic year.

I feel certain that Garrison was told some time ago that her services were no longer required, and she's been dipping a toe in the presidential job market. But why not make the announcement, say, in late October/early November and have her leave office between semesters? It's not as if she suddenly became a bad president; she's been a bad president for 10 years, so why the rush? Did something happen in recent days to make UAB act in haste? If so, what was it?

Regardless of what prompted it, Garrison's exit is undeniably good news. During her first year at UAB, Garrison was tied to a scandal that ultimately cost University of Tennessee President John Shumaker his job. I wrote a four-part series on that seedy soap opera, which involved at least two instances of Garrison and Shumaker wasting taxpayer dollars while carrying on an affair. Garrison almost certainly would have been canned had UAB not already been looking at a lawsuit from her predecessor, W. Ann Reynolds.

Am I a disinterested observer in all of this? Not in the least. I worked at UAB in various editorial positions for 19 years before being unlawfully terminated in May 2008, roughly one year after I started writing a blog--on my own time, with my own resources--about legal and political corruption in Alabama. I know for a fact that I was cheated out of my job because of the content on this blog about the prosecution of former governor Don Siegelman. How do I know that? A UAB human-resources official named Anita Bonasera told me in a phone conversation that I tape recorded after I had been placed on administrative leave. (See video at the end of this post.)

I have no doubt that someone in conservative political circles felt threatened by my citizen journalism, realized I worked at a state institution, and demanded that I be fired. The demand made its way, directly or indirectly, to Garrison and she went along with it--firing an employee simply for exercising his First Amendment rights to report and comment on matters of public interest. How is that for moral courage?

Do I hold Carol Garrison in utter contempt? Yes, I do. But my wrongful termination, plus Garrison's unseemly dalliance with Shumaker, are just two specks of dirt in a mountain of evidence that shows she needed to go. Let's consider a partial list of misconduct that took place on Garrison's watch, from a post titled "UAB Sleaze Doesn't Happen in a Vacuum":

It's difficult to keep up with all the UAB sleaze under Garrison, but here is our best effort at an updated and comprehensive list. . . . 
* Nine papers written by scientist H.M. Krishna Murthy are retracted because of concerns about academic fraud; 
* Researchers Juan R. Contreras and Judith M. Thomas are barred from receiving federal funds after falsifying results from animal studies; 
* School of Medicine Dean Robert Rich steps down under mysterious circumstances, in the wake of multiple reports about fraud and discrimination that took place on his watch; 
* A University of Louisville dean, who has ties to UAB 's Carol Garrison from her days as provost at U of L, pleads guilty to fraud-related charges and is sentenced to 63 months in federal prison; 
* Longtime engineering professor Rosalia Scripa files a discrimination lawsuit; 
* Longtime history professor Horace Huntley files a discrimination lawsuit; 
* Longtime business professor Susan Key files a discrimination lawsuit; 
* Longtime business professor Glenn Feldman files a discrimination lawsuit, as does engineering faculty member Petru Simionescu; (These were not included on my original list, but I'm adding them here.) 
* Former trainee Seema Gupta files a lawsuit claiming widespread discrimination against international medical graduates in UAB's Family Medicine Residency Program in Huntsville; 
* A company owned by a member of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, is found to have been involved in insurance fraud; 
* An office associate uses a university computer to send a hate-filled e-mail to a California gay-rights group. UAB announces no disciplinary action against the female employee; 
* A financial associate uses a university computer to send a racist e-mail that mocks President Obama and other major Democrats. UAB announces no disciplinary action against the female employee; 
* A federal lawsuit alleges that UAB's Office of Public Relations and Marketing unlawfully used copyrighted illustrations in various print publications and on the university's Web site; 
* A prominent donor, with strong ties to Republican Party politics, has a lengthy history of driving-related arrests and questionable business practices; 
* Several UAB medical professionals have ties to a company owned by attorney Rob Riley (son of GOP Governor Bob Riley), which has been accused in federal-court documents of practicing health-care fraud; 
* UAB settles a federal whistleblower lawsuit that alleges some $600 million in fraud over a 10-year period; 
* In her first year on the job, President Garrison embarrasses the university by playing a prominent role in a scandal that led to the ouster of University of Tennessee President John Shumaker.

Garrison's handling of my situation is clear proof that she has shaky ethics, at best (nonexistent, at worst). Given the rot at the top of the UAB pyramid for 10 years, it's little wonder that an overpowering stench has been emanating from down below.

Should UAB boosters be hopeful today? Yes, but with plenty of caution. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees, under President Paul Bryant Jr., will be naming Garrison's successor. Given that Bryant has documented ties to massive insurance fraud, one cannot assume that UAB is heading for an ethically crystalline future.

Garrison's exit, however, was overdue. With that out of the way, UAB at least has a fighting chance to move forward.

How ethically challenged has UAB been under Garrison's "leadership"? You can check out the following video, with indisputable evidence of the moral rot that has permeated Alabama's most important institution for far too long.



19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Legal Schnauzer you called this one early on. Perhaps your writing had something to do with shedding the light on this woman who has let us all down. I am disappointed with her rule at UAB and I hope that she is replaced with a female who will take her role more seriously. Carol Garrison was one of the highest paid Presidents of a college system. I don't think UAB was getting the kind of leadership they were paying for. Goodbye Carol, good luck finding a job in this economy at your age.

James Greek said...

I doubt it Anon. We have a seedy group of UA Board of Trustees. ESP. litte bear. I wish the UA BOT would clean house and all resign.

legalschnauzer said...

That Carol Garrison managed to remain president for 10 years is a sure sign that the Board of Trustees has dumbed down expectations for UAB. They could have hired a lamp shade to sit in the president's chair for 10 years, and it would have been just as effective as Garrison--while causing far less damage. That P Bryant Jr., with his clear ties to insurance fraud, is head of the Board of Trustees is an even bigger scandal, but the public doesn't care because Nick Saban wins big games.

Anonymous said...

The PUBLIC are mostly Non compos mentis and this is intentional.

Look at poor Carol. No doubt she has a "doctor." Wonder what that doctor prescribes for her and further, how many operations or other procedures such as MRIs?

Carol is a Jingoistic lampshade and that may be her ONLY claim to University Presidential stature.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Garrison was hired at UAB because of her standing as provost at U of Louisville. And she apparently became provost at Louisville partly because she was willing to sleep with the married president of the university. Then, after getting the UAB job, she continued to screw around with the married president, who had moved on to UT. Isn't Carol Garrison a glorified slut? What leadership credentials did she ever have?

Anonymous said...

Her "throat chakra," that is, the "Thyroid Gland," is an endocrine yes in the world of needs to be in balance.

Out of balance? BIPOLAR!

Insatiable sexual appetite and out-of-control lack of common sense boundaries.

It is all in our head. Truth is, the ancient practices taught without getting the HEAD "right," that is all the functions of the many "system" of being human, well the proof is the lampshade jingoists as good as it gets for our University top professionals.

Look at Carol's thyroid gland in her neck, it is not what a "woman" in a balanced throat endocrine "energy" appears.

The ancient practices of reading the human body were not to be trifled with.

Mercola.com

Shocking Story Reveals How the FDA Is Recklessly Abandoning Drug Safety

FDA Actively Thwarts Serious Safety Investigations

There’s no telling how many ineffective and/or dangerous drugs and medical devices have been approved and ushered into market through sheer intimidation and bullying, either by pharmaceutical companies or FDA management. Perhaps even more shocking are the revelations that some of the internal rules and regulations of the FDA are clearly designed to thwart serious safety reviews from the get-go.

According to Kavanagh:

“[H]uman clinical pharmacology trials are typically done in Europe, yet clinical pharmacology reviewers at FDA have been barred from analyzing this information prior to studies being conducted in the US. Without being able to do this, we are unable to detect evidence of risks early and cannot provide guidance that would help with the development of the drug in terms not only of safety and proving efficacy, but also with the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the drug’s development.”

Another loophole that can put your health in serious jeopardy is that drug companies are not required to include adverse events on the drug’s label if the adverse reaction is:

* Below a certain percentage, and/or
* Below double the rate of the adverse event found in a placebo

According to Kavanagh:

“By this rule, certain serious and potentially lethal adverse events that eventually resulted in a drug being withdrawn from the market would not have had any mention of the adverse events made in the labeling at all.”

Read the rest of the article….

Anonymous said...

What blows me away is the part about UAB getting away with $600 million in research fraud. That is just blatant theft from taxpayers. Sounds like quite a few UAB officials should have wound up in the federal pen for that.

legalschnauzer said...

Not sure how any work is getting done at UAB today. Based on my blog stats, it looks like everyone is reading Legal Schnauzer.

A lot of good, intelligent people still work at UAB. They know they aren't going to get the truth from reading al.com.

jeffrey spruill said...

And this gal Garrison might be floating her name for other presidential jobs?

What for? To screw them too?

Anonymous said...

al dot com?

Well now good for ole Alabamy the thinkers and higher intellects can read Legal Schnauzer and understand the real truth IS genius.

Subtle energy, genius.

People know genius, the power is reflected as a mirror image - we all are, the choice is in the spirit to be the best "human" we can be.

LS, THANK YOU for reporting the news in glorification of the truth, it does Alabamy no harm.

Carol's chi thanks you, too!

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 10:20--

You might be right. We should remember that Garrison caved on Bryant Jr.'s demand to hire Neil Callaway, and we know how that worked out. That was a clear sign of weakness regarding UAB athletics. It's indisputable that Blazer sports have been on a steady decline under Garrison, and that started with Reynolds when she made the horrible decision to have Brittney Benefield enroll and live on campus as a 15-year-old. UAB football has never been the same since that fiasco became public. In fact, it really hasn't been the same since Herman Frazier was hired, another Reynolds blunder.

James Greek said...

Bryant Jr. Is trying to please his dad by killing the UAB Football program.

Anonymous said...

She sure is smirking in the picture and maybe someone that posted her love affair with the married presidents should have named them so their wife could have googled their name sometime in the future and found it.. May not even know..I am glad she is leaving.

Anonymous said...

I hope this means a "bye bye" to Shirley Kahn. She's the most corrupt.

legalschnauzer said...

You raise an interesting point about Shirley Kahn. I'm working on some very interesting posts about her. If you have info about misconduct on her part, feel free to share. I already have stuff in the works and would be glad to add your material if it's solid.

My private e-mail is . . . rshuler3156@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Check out today's announcement at UAB... Dean of Arts and Sciences - Tom DiLorenzo - kicked upstairs to be the new Associate Vice President for Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship (a newly created title!!) after 26 abysmal months as Dean. DiLorenzo was the subject of a vote of No Confidence in December by the School of Education, a part of his college. DiLorenzo was brought in by Eli Capilouto and Carol Garrison on July 1, 2010, to head up the new college, and has been a disaster. His time has been marked by chaos, deception, departures, lack of financial transparency, attacks on faculty governance, law suits, poor organization of his new college, and gross inefficiency.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 8:48--

Thanks for sharing this info. I got cheated out of my job in Publications office in May 2008, so DiLorenzo came on board after I left; he's a new name to me. He was a disaster as dean, so they promoted him? That's how UAB works these days. Don't know how many terrible deans came in during Garrison/Capilouto era. I know Harper (Nursing) and Klock (Business) had the charm of wolverines. Engineering also has lots of problems. I hear Klock took a job in Florida recently, maybe at Florida Atlantic. Please keep us posted on new developments if you can.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Schnauzer, there is much more to the story...

Garrison was protecting DiLorenzo. Otherwise, why was DiLorenzo "promoted" just days after her midnight departure?

(UAB as of 8/31/2012: No permanent President, No permanent Deans of Engineering, Business, or Arts and Sciences... the entire academic campus has interim Deans. This is an amazing state of affairs.)

UAB is "getting off easy," because it is also starting to unwind a bizarre, improper organizational snafu in its upper management created with full knowledge of Garrison and driven by Capilouto.

When Capilouto / Garrison brought in DiLorenzo, they almost immediately hired DiLorenzo's significant other, Suzanne Austin, as an Associate Provost, a role in the same chain of command (Dean-Provost-President). She still serves in that role ("Student and Faculty Success"). She started in January, 2011. In fact, some say she was the key hire, and he was the "trailing spouse."

Those roles created an impossible position for anyone wanting to complain about the Dean and his depredations (and there were people lining up to complain). Because few rank and file people knew then or even probably know now that Suzanne Austin is linked to him via a personal relationship, it would be unlikely for anyone not so informed to elect alternative support (e.g., see the Provost instead), without first going to her with a complaint... complainers, it is said, were sometimes sent BACK TO THE DEAN, violating UAB's own rule book. People who went to see Capilouto before his May 2012 departure were also, it is reported, SENT BACK TO THE DEAN.

A deconflicting process, if ever done, was never promulgated to the faculty. Since several law suits were, however, filed concerning tenure and promotion relating to Tom DiLorenzo's decisions/reversals/denials, one has to believe that an Associate Provost with "Faculty Success" in her job description had to be part of the University's processes and responses. Reportedly, he denied 5 motions for Tenure and Promotion in his first year, all yielding law suits (these may have been before or after her arrival, but their resolution certainly continued after her arrival).

The couple is still in the upper levels of UAB management, and they remember that Education and others complained about DiLorenzo while he was Dean. How is this going to work out for people in the School of Ed and others?

What will happen next at UAB?: 4 key positions open, and a failed Dean in a key, new VP role for which he has no visible experience?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 8:42--

Thanks for your insights. It sounds like the actions of Mr. DiLorenzo and Ms. Austin need to be monitored. Hard to believe that an institution of UAB's importance and prestige could find itself in such a state of affairs. Please keep us posted on events. I still get a lot of inquiries from the public as to the real reasons behind Carol Garrison's exit.

Didn't the formation of an Arts & Sciences school essentially wrap 3-4 schools into one? That was a major change in UAB's structure and a key hire for the academic end of campus. Sounds like the Garrison regime botched it badly.

It seems that Garrison/Capilouto went out of their way to hire deans who are lacking in human skills.