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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - More on: Purdue's "Trimble Report" finally released. Results are surprising

Updating this ILB post from Friday afternoon, Sherry Slater reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in a story headed "Local push fueled exit of Wartell: Papers show business leaders acted secretly to end his stay." The long story today begins:

While then-IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell was battling Purdue University leaders to remain in his job through the school’s 50th anniversary, some local business leaders were secretly lobbying for a new campus leader.

The chairmen of Steel Dynamics Inc. and Rea Magnet Wire Co., the retired chairman of Lincoln National Corp. and a Fort Wayne attorney met with then-Purdue President France Córdova on June 29, 2011, via teleconference to ask her not to grant Wartell’s request for an exemption to the university’s mandatory retirement age.

The four men followed that meeting with letters to Córdova, including one clearly marked “confidential.” The correspondence was released Friday to The Journal Gazette by Purdue officials in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The letters described Wartell as having poor working relationships with his staff, leaders of other local colleges and the local business community. They also questioned his integrity.

Mark Ulmschneider, a local attorney who represents Wartell, takes a dim view of how Keith Busse, Jim Vann, Ian Rolland and Larry Lee expressed their opinions.

“It was underhanded,” he said. “It was done in secret, and they mischaracterized the facts.”

As a result of the secret nature of the correspondence, Wartell didn’t have the opportunity to respond to the allegations against him, Ulmschneider said.

“It’s a violation of due process, basically,” he added. “It was a group character assassination, that’s what it was.”

It’s unclear whether the letters influenced Purdue’s trustees, who made the decision to reject Wartell’s bid for an extension after 18 years as IPFW’s chancellor. He was forced to retire in July 2012.

There is much more in the story. The earlier ILB post includes the Lafayette Journal Gazette link to the now public Trimble Report.

ILB: Although the story has more than a dozen references to a "Larry Lee," the story does not otherwise identify him, other than as a donor to IPFW.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 22, 2015 02:22 PM
Posted to Indiana Government