Robert Felner, former University of Louisville dean of education, was sentenced on Monday to 63 months in prison for his role in defrauding U of L and the University of Rhode Island of $2.3 million.
Felner -- who was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III in Louisville -- pleaded guilty in January to nine federal charges, including income tax evasion.
In addition to prison time, Felner must pay restitution of $510,000 to U of L, $1.64 million to the University of Rhode Island and $88,750 to the Rock Island County Council on Addiction in Illinois.
The plea agreement was reached with the U.S. attorney's office after Felner was indicted in October 2008 in Louisville on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, income tax evasion and conspiracy to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service. The charges against Felner carried a maximum penalty of 75 years in prison...
C-J Editorial sums it all up:
Felner's cautionary tale
Monday's sentencing of Robert Felner, former education dean at the University of Louisville, brings some degree of closure to a seamy, nationally embarrassing scandal.
However, the fact that Mr. Felner is going to prison is no cause for celebration at UofL. Nor is it merely an unpleasant episode that now should be forgotten.
To its credit, the university called in law enforcement authorities when it became obvious, some two years ago, that something was amiss in the education school.
But what followed was not the finest hour for President James Ramsey, who scoffed at the news in a TV interview about more than 30 grievances filed against Mr. Felner during his tenure. Calling the allegations “anonymous crap,” he said that the complaints showed him that the dean “was bringing about change that needed to be made.”
Change? Like granting an associate a Ph.D. after only one semester's residence in Louisville?Like running off solid faculty members whose complaints were given a deaf ear by the administration?
And change like stealing millions of dollars from UofL and the University of Rhode Island?It will take time, and a lot of obvious progress for the university to put all of this to rest.
Meanwhile, it should serve as a cautionary tale for many years to come. No official in a public institution should have the kind of unbridled discretion that Robert Felner enjoyed. And administrators eager to make rapid change should be wary of the cost that comes with such upheavals.
And Page One Kentucky has all the details.