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Eddy Landreth: Misinformation and Innuendo

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Now that THF has had his say about the garbage spewed forth on both sides of the UNC football unpleasantness by two writers who once fashioned themselves as respectable journalists, I wanted to get in my two cents worth by looking at the Eddy Landreth piece itself and the misinformation and innuendo contained within.

As a bit of background, let me say one of my major frustrations with the coverage of the entire NCAA fiasco has been the shoddy research and writing of journalists who ought to know better.  As such, I have written extensively about this topic, from reporters and others who continued to report the infamous Marvin Austin tweet as him having actually been in Club Liv long after that was proven to be a rap lyric, to Dan Kane's "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" brand of "investigative journalism", in which he lays out a premise but offers no proof and invites the reader to draw a conclusion.

In many ways, this seems to be the tack Landreth takes with his piece, relying heavily on innuendo and implication to make the case of some grand conspiracy to fire Butch Davis. The premise itself is ridiculous enough; never mind the misinformation and mangled facts he uses to advance that line of thought.

Still, I found it fun to deconstruct Landreth's piece and took me about five minutes and a handful of Google searches to do so. So here goes:

The law firm of which Hargrove is a partner -- Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, L.L.P. -- represents the Raleigh News & Observer and Capitol Broadcasting. Either Hargrove himself or his law firm has represented the News & Observer at three times in court since the late 1980s.

These cases are a public record.

Both the News & Observer and Capitol Broadcasting had sued the university for all information in regards to the NCAA investigation of the football program recently before Hargrove became chair of the Board of Trustees.

There is no evidence the firm represented either party against UNC in this particular suit, but both remain clients, which is information Hargrove should have revealed.

There is no evidence the firm represented the N&O or CBC because the records lawsuit was filed by the firm of Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych. Hargrove's firm of Brooks Pierce had nothing at all to do with the recent suit against UNC for the football records.

Brooks-Pierce-McLendon-Humphrey & Leonard Clients

(Read to the bottom of the page on this above link and you will see this firm still represents Capitol Broadcasting and the Raleigh News & Observer.)...

Whether Hargrove ever actually participated in any of the court proceedings against UNC is irrelevant in regards to the law. He is a member of the law firm that sued UNC on behalf of the Raleigh News & Observer in the past.

The link provided in the Landreth piece is to the Martindale Law Directory listing for Brooks Pierce. What is provided is a list of "representative clients"; I am not sure if these are active clients as Landreth asserts.

But if you follow his instructions and scroll to the bottom, below the listing of CBC and the N&O as clients, you will find another intriguing client listed: THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. That's right, in addition to CBC and the N&O, Brooks Pierce has also represented UNC! So Hargrove "is a member of the law firm that sued UNC" as well as of a firm that also represented UNC. Kind of inconvenient, isn't it Eddy?

The minutes from the Board of Trustees on July 27, 2011, Willis P. Whichard, former associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, administered the Oath of Office to new and reappointed members of the Board:

Hargrove was made the chair, even though he had not been in line for the duty.

Landreth's insinuation here is that there is something fishy about Hargrove becoming chairman of the board. Hargrove was not "made the chair", he was elected as chair. In addition, the sitting vice-chair, Barbara Hyde, was re-elected vice chair for the upcoming term. Hard to believe Hyde would have remained as vice chair if there was a power play or Hargrove's ascension was somehow suspect. This is not like the Rotary Club where the vice chair automatically moves up.

Before the Board began to conduct its business, Vice Chair Barbara R. Hyde read the state law concerning ethics and conflicts of interest.

"As Chair of the Board of Trustees, it is my responsibility to remind all members of the Board of their duty under the State Government Ethics Act to avoid conflicts of interest and appearances of conflict of interest as required by this Act. Each member has received the agenda and related information for this Board of Trustees' meeting. If any Board member knows of any conflict of interest or appearance of conflict with respect to any matter coming before the Board of Trustees at this meeting, the conflict or appearance of conflict should be identified at this time."

There is no mention of anyone identifying any conflicts within the minutes. The minutes from the May 25-26, 2011 meeting were approved, and Hargrove was then elected chair.

Again, Landreth asserts his point by insinuation. Hyde read the ethics statement and no one raised a conflict. Landreth is trying to say without saying that someone should have pointed out Hargrove's conflict, or that Hyde read the statement knowing there was a conflict. But a simple review of the minutes of the other UNC Board of Trustees meetings from 2011 (available online here) reveals this statement is read at the beginning of every BOT meeting. In other words, there is no ulterior motive to that statement; it is simply a standard part of every meeting.

Then Landreth makes a bizarre point about UNC vice chancellor (and former football player) Matt Kupec, which seems to have nothing to do with his railing against Hargrove's conflict of interest:

It is also worth noting that university vice chancellor Matt Kupec attended the meeting that day.

He addressed the Board during one of its three closed sessions that day, sessions which the public and the media were prohibited from attending.

What is unusual is Kupec is a fundraiser who normally makes his reports during the open portion of the meetings. But on this day, the minutes read: "Matt Kupec presented naming recommendations to Committee of the Whole."

Unusual, Eddy? There's nothing unusual or worth noting about his attendance at the July meeting or any other meeting of the BOT. Again, just reviewing the minutes from the previous 2011 BOT meetings, Kupec attended every one and made the same reports in open and closed session at each meeting. At the July meeting, he made a fundraising report in open session and then addressed the board in closed session about "naming recommendations" (whatever those are, which is irrelevant for this discussion).  Landreth's wording would imply that Kupec did not make a report in open session, but he did. He did the presentations in both open and closed sessions at the January, March, and May meetings as well; again, this is information easily accessed online.

I don't know what Landreth was meaning to imply about Kupec's participation in this meeting, but five minutes' worth of research would have shown Kupec did the same this in the July meeting as he did every time the board met.

Sadly, Eddy Landreth has cleared out a niche in the moonbat section of the UNC fanbase and has posted to a supposedly legitimate site a rant that would barely be worthy of being posted by a board monkey. A disclaimer on Landreth's post says that "This story is property of TarHeelIllustrated.com and Yahoo! Sports. Any use should credit both." Given the fine work Yahoo has done on the ills of college football lately, I don't believe they would want their name associated with this piece of junk.

As THF noted in his piece, this kind of low-rent writing on either the booger-eaters side by Chansky or the mouth-breathers side by Landreth does nothing to advance the dialogue about Carolina football and hinders the efforts of real journalists and others who seek to have thoughtful discourse and reporting about the program and its future.