Tuscaloosa News and Birmingham News Finally Hint at Financial Irregularities in Building Construction at U of A

We told them so. Months after The Alabama Observer and The Mobile Register broke the stories about the financial mess in the University’s building projects, two state papers finally take notice. Interestingly, they mention no numbers and name no names. Makes you wonder where these stories really came from, doesn’t it?

The “spin” they give to the developing crisis deliberately mutes the University’s own responsibility for overspending. Worse, the Tuscaloosa News report implies that the recently fired Facilties staff members (see story below) were fired because of inefficiency.

We know that the Tuscaloosa News does not engage in investigative reporting, at least where the University is concerned.. (The student newspaper, Crimson White, usually does a much better job.) So what’s with their story?

It can only mean one thing — University officials themselves planted the story in order to defend themselves against charges of financial mismanagement. Administrators also want to suggest that they did not target the fired employees out of spite or just to save money. But we know from the Turnipseed termination letter (below) that money is one of the reasons for the dismissals.

Firing people and jacking up health costs to make up for losses in other areas, like the boondoogle at Shelby Hall, is just plain wrong. Moreover, the way they’re doing it will almost certainly land the University in a vast heap of EOC lawsuits. The cost to taxpayers will be enormous.

Once again, we see how expertly the University public relations staff is at manipulating the press.

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