HOGAN BREAKS CONTRACT ON WAY OUT THE DOOR

Reaction to UConn President Michael Hogan bailing on the state’s flagship university for greener pastures in Illinois has ranged from “If he doesn’t want to be here, we don’t want him” to “How can he just walk away without some sort of penalty? Didn’t he have a contract?”

Both reactions are valid but the latter should carry the day. Hogan does in fact have a contract, one that he is breaking. He was signed for five years. He stayed for three. He was required, according to reports, to give 60 days’ notice if he was going to leave. The chairman of the board of trustees says he got less than 60 hours notice—he found out at the end of one day that the news conference was the next morning. Nice.

Is there nothing in that contract that would permit UConn to seek redress? A contract without penalty for the person signing is useless. One would hope UConn could seek some sort of “early withdrawal” financial penalty; Lord knows the state can use the money. Even the millionaire athlete who signs a contract can’t simply pick up and move to a different team because it’s bigger and is closer to home. While not Calhoun money, Hogan was being paid big and took a pay cut to be a Fighting Illini (hopefully he’ll get slapped around for the school’s nickname, but that’s a whole other story).

Instead of being “deeply disappointed” (again), the governor ought to be angry and determined. She could be heard on the radio this morning saying, “When you sign someone to a five-year contract, you expect them to be around for five years.” Yes, you’re right, governor. Now what are you going to do about it? You should direct some of your plethora of lawyers to scour that contract and see if anything can be done. If not, then all we have is Hogan looking at Connecticut in his rear-view mirror thinking, “SUCKERS!!! And they actually paid more than 3-grand to make and put up all over campus cardboard cuts of me!!! Can you believe that???” If in fact, the state has no recourse when someone takes a powder before that person’s contract is up, then shame on us.

Then there is the camp of state officials who are saying, “Don’t let the door hit you on the Hogan on the way out.” According to some people in positions to know, Hogan had worn out his welcome in three and a half years at UConn with board members, faculty, students and elected officials disenchanted to varying degrees—“disenchanted” being a very kind term.

Oh, and can The Shad use his office? It’s reportedly quite nice now.

*

Is Linda McMahon looking past Rob Simmons and right to Dick Blumenthal? Republican US Senate candidate McMahon is now running ads on radio that attack Blumenthal on an issue on which he actually may be vulnerable. Appearing on MSNBC as he was launching his campaign, Blumenthal made it a point to say he has never taken PAC or special interest money in his campaigns. He did not say he wouldn’t do so for this US Senate campaign and in fact, he has. The radio ad points this out. The ad is technically accurate until the end when it accuses Blumenthal of “saying one thing and doing another.” Not true. He was talking about past campaigns. It’s sort of a “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” thing. Of course, you can’t demonize a source of campaign contributions and then turn around, accept them and not expect to take heat for it.

In another respect, the ads are a big diss to Simmons, McMahon’s chief rival for the nomination. With the conventions on the horizon, McMahon seems to assume she is the nominee. Simmons has said he would “respect the wishes of the convention.” No one is quite sure if that means he won’t force a primary if he doesn’t get the nod at the convention.

Simmons has spent no money on TV ads as of yet.