UT cost in settling sex discrimination lawsuit reach $3.27M

University of Tennessee payments for settling a Title IX sex-discrimination lawsuit have reached $3.27 million with more bills coming in, according to records reviewed by the News Sentinel. The bills include continuing payments to the law firm representing the university and to veteran political operative Tom Ingram for “public relations and communications.”

The federal lawsuit, filed in February in Nashville, accused UT of violating Title IX in its handling of sexual assault cases, especially cases involving athletes. Those athletes included former football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, whose rape trials remain on hold.

UT officials paid $2.48 million to settle the lawsuit in July, with half of the settlement to be paid by the athletic department and half by the Knoxville campus. Fighting the lawsuit, which was set for trial in May 2018, could have cost up to $5.5 million, according to UT.

…Apart from the initial settlement, the bulk of the money went to fees and expenses for the Nashville law firm Neal & Harwell, which represented UT in the lawsuit. The university has paid the firm $634,158.61 so far in legal costs, along with $1,235 in travel and miscellaneous expenses. Another $11,250 in legal bills remains under review by the state, according to UT spokesman Charles Primm.

Tom Ingram, founder of the Ingram Group lobbying firm and a former top aide to Gov. Bill Haslam, continues to draw pay as a consultant on “communications strategies.” The university previously paid $36,238.64 for public relations work by Brian Curtis of Atlanta-based Paradigm Four before hiring Ingram in March.

UT has paid Ingram’s firm $120,000 through August, according to the summary. Ingram has since reduced the rate from $20,000 per month to $9,000 per month, according to UT, and a bill for September is “being processed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Posts and Opinions about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.