The Costs (so far) of a Great Unpleasantness

October27/ 2015

Yesterday, we learned that the legal and PR costs of a Great Unpleasantness can run into the $7.5 + million category…. so far.   That news quickly averted the public’s attention from John Fennebresque’s people skills…. Margaret Spellings‘ views on the designated hitter rule…. and The ATO Two.  At least for a day or so.

How much something “costs” is always a fun subject for public discussion especially when “the public” is divided about the “something” being purchased…. as is the case here.Money

Is $7,565,940 “a lot of money”?  If the figure was $4,893,256 or $16,942.552 would the hue and cry be pretty much the same?  I say “yes it would be”.  A “fact” has little / no impact on either a hue or a cry.

…. The hue AND the cry would be the same as would be the total disbelief that the number is correct regardless of how high or low it is.   Such is the current state of dis-believability between “UNC” and the non-UNC population of the planet.   Never high, the believability is at an all-time low ebb in recent years.

If “UNC officials” announce Kenan Stadium attendance as 46,000 or 37,000 or 52,473 does ANYONE not of the TruBlue persuasion believe them?  No, they don’t.   “UNC officials” would never announce 52,473 because Kenan Stadium attendance is always a round number.   One of the very few college stadiums that always manage to do that ??   How many pine trees surround Kenan Stadium?  Exactly 500…. not 513, 534, or 492.Fat Cats

We’ll use $7,565,940 as our base number.   According to those ubiquitous “UNC officials” every one of those dollars came “from a special foundation” funded “according to UNC officials” by deep-pocketed “Fat Cats”.   No one hueing and crying believes THAT either.   I’m not even sure too many employees in South Bldg even believe that one.   Douggie Dibbert probably does.

Did two Fat Cats chip in $3.7M each…. or 7,000,000 Fat Cats donate $1.25 apiece?  The report released did not specify.   What do you think?

I suspect there are some who are convinced UNC has hacked into The Wolfpack Club coffers and siphoned that seven million out of Bobby Purcell’s barbecue account in the dark of night.  That being just one likelihood among many being bandied about in West Raleigh bars and bistros.

Using a $50 ticket cost…. and 40,000 Kenan attendance.  It would take about 3.5 football games gate receipts to pay those legal and PR costs assuming there were no production costs taken out of those gate receipts.   About 7 basketball games would do it what with UNC being “a basketball school”.  OR the equivalent of 12 Gene Chizik annual salaries or about 11.5 Margaret Spellings salaries…. or not quite 3 Dave Doeren salaries. 

UNC could hire one “Coach K” for a year – give or take a week or so – for that $7.5M.  THAT was likely never an option however.  I’ll ask Chansky to check on that.

I know what you are thinking…. How many charging stations could be installed in The Murphy Center for $7.5 million?  I don’t know the cost of even one charging stations so I can’t answer that.   Could a retractable dome be installed on The Hindenburg Hangar for $7.5 million?   Again, I haven’t priced retractable domes lately.  Who knows?

NOTE:  StubHub has a ticket for Thursday night’s Showdown In Pittsburgh at $8.50 in Section 111.   OUCH!  Apparently The Steel City is more pro-oriented than college.  Huh.

How many cans of Larry Fedora’s Red Bull?  ….of Ol’ Roy’s Diet Coke?  ….. the cost of scrubbing obscenities off of Silent Sam? …. Carol Folt’s annual budget for lapel ribbons? …. the $$$ for votive candles at UNC’s infamous “candlelight vigils” ??? …. how many Kevlar vests?  BK could probably tell us that one.

A semi-literate 24 y/o NBA 12th man would not dribble across the street for “a measly $7.5M”.  OUCH!

$7.5M in ones and stacked on top of each other would equal how many Tommy Burleson standing on each others shoulders?   How many Neil Fingletons?  A whole lot MORE Billy Arthurs or Carol Folts of course.

So, as you can see…. how much something “costs” is always a “compared to what” figure.

I guess it comes down to “if Deborah & Burgess had never conjured up “the scheme” back in whenever”…. or “if Marvin had never hit SEND”

….. how many seersucker suits or pairs of TopSiders could those “Fat Cats” have bought with their $7.5M ???

IF the Fat Cats shopped at Jos A Bank on the right day – I believe it is Tuesday – their seersucker suits are “Two-fer” not that a for-real deep-pocketed Fat Cat is all that concerned about what anything “costs”.



University responds to public records requests for legal, communications firm expenses


The University is publishing cost figures and context for outside legal representation and public relations support provided by four firms over more than two years to help address the past academic irregularities.

The University is posting information on the Carolina Commitment website in conjunction with responding to a public records request from The News & Observer seeking “legal/public relations bills for the UNC scandal.” (

The University estimates spending approximately $7,565,940 to date for services provided by three law firms and one public relations agency that were directly related to the academic irregularities. Bills for three firms reflected work between mid-2014 and mid-2015. One law firm’s invoices dated back to late 2012.

No state-appropriated or tuition dollars are being used for these expenses.  (??? Is this coming from the same “UNC officials” who said “it’s all over now… no more to see here…. move along people” when we learned about the parking tickets four years ago ?? … Can Governor Martin confirm this ??)

It’s common for major universities facing significant challenges to hire outside firms for subject area expertise. That is a more cost-effective approach to conducting complex work than hiring additional permanent staff and enables an institution to scale up or down the necessary level of staffing and extra resources as needed. UNC-Chapel Hill elected to use this approach when retaining outside legal and public relations support. As a state agency, the University is permitted to retain outside counsel or consultants for legal or other issues and must follow state and UNC policies and procedures.

The University is currently responding to an unprecedented combination of simultaneous issues, including the following:






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