By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Author note: This is the fifth in a series about the child sexual abuse scandal at The Pennsylvania State University that helped bring down iconic football coach Joe Paterno and three top officials at the premier public college in Pennsylvania.
Penn State’s ousted president and amateur magician, Graham Spanier, enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for secrecy while leading the state’s flagship public university. In one instance, Spanier became incensed when he learned that the Harrisburg Patriot-News had obtained the salaries of the top PSU officials — including Joe Paterno — from the state pension board. (Paterno had consistently made mention of the fact that he received around $500,000 per year as a coach, donating much of it back to PSU. Many prominent FBS football coaches make up to ten times that amount and it appears Paterno was fudging a bit on his salary.) Spanier embarked on a five-year fight to block publication of the salaries, taking the case through the entire appeals process and up to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Spanier lost at every level. Undaunted and against the odds, he successfully lobbied Pennsylvania state lawmakers to reject closing the loophole which exempted college employees salaries from the state’s “right-to-know” law. With that legislative prestidigitation, he just made the problem disappear.