City Ink: If not money, then what did change hands in GRU name lawsuit?

Regent University in Virginia has dropped its trademark infringement lawsuit against the Georgia Board of Regents over the name of Augusta’s Georgia Regents University, the University System of Georgia announced Friday.

Lou Isakoff, the general counsel for Regent Uni­ver­sity, said he was prohibited by the court from speaking about the case, and Georgia university system spokesman John Millsaps said details weren’t available Friday.

Millsaps said he did know one thing: “No money changed hands.”

That can’t be true. Any­time lawyers are involved in anything, their hands get filled with money.

But did anything else change hands? If so, what could it be?

• Forty pounds of wampum?

• 50,000 used “Save the A” yard signs?

• A GRU-funded nationwide survey to come up with a new name for Regent Uni­versity, after which GRU Presi­dent Ricardo Azziz will make up a name he likes and cram it down their throats?

• A new double garage for the Regent University president?

• A used wedding gazebo and use of the GRU bus one weekend a year?

• Free dental work for life at the GRU School of Den­tistry?

• Seventeen acres on the banks of the Savan­nah River?

• About 5,000 copies of recruiting books with altered photos of championship Augusta State athletes in which ASU logos and emblems have been removed?

• Home cooking from the U.S. District Court bench?

• A marble bust of Azziz surrounded by bobble-headed vice presidents?

COMPROMISE WITH A CAPITAL A: Was the settlement the result of a compromise like the one Azziz made with the Save the A

campaign leaders Nick Evans and Barry Storey, in which they agreed to stop trying to Save the A in exchange for Azziz’s promise to add the name Augusta to Georgia Regents University, but not on official documents?

DID SOMEBODY GET THROWN UNDER THE WEDDING BUS? Two members of Azziz’s Cabinet are leaving the university but aren’t saying why, which, of course, leaves lots of room for speculation.

Jeffrey Foley, GRU’s vice president of military and global affairs, will leave his office this week. Foley, a former commanding general at Fort Gordon, retired after a 32-year military career and became acting vice president for campus development at Augusta State in 2010 and then Geor­gia Health Sciences University’s vice president of military and global affairs. After the grand consolidation, he became GRU’s vice president of military and global affairs.

Foley did not return phone messages, but word among the ranks is that he’s returning to his hometown up north.

My guess as to why he’s leaving is that a retired brigadier general is better at giving orders than taking them. But that’s just a guess.

Andrew Newton, GRU’s general counsel, is leaving July 12 for a job in the legal office at Kennesaw State University. He’s spent 18 years with the Medical College of Georgia and its hydra-headed offspring, GHSU, GRU, GRMC, and CHOG.

Newton said he wasn’t going to discuss the matter with the media.

“It’s just the right move for me,” he said. “Things have changed and are still changing. It’s a great place, but it’s the right thing for me to do.”

Since the auditor’s report on the use of university resources for Azziz’s niece’s wedding mentioned that New­ton had approved use of the GRU bus, we wondered whether Newton got thrown under the bus, but he said he wasn’t.

WHAT A DEAL! As of Friday, Gov. Nathan Deal has made 251 appointments to state boards and authorities, and only one of the appointees is from Augusta.

Deal re-appointed Su­per­ior Court Judge Danny Craig to the board of trustees of the Georgia Judicial Retirement System. He also appointed Lee Anderson of Grovetown to the Georgia Board of Corrections and Kay­la Wilson of Evans to the Geor­gia State Rehabili­ta­tion Council.

I would say I don’t think Deal likes Augusta, but he did route millions to GRU – not that it wasn’t Richmond County’s money in the first place. Oh well, one out of 251 ain’t bad. It’s a kick in the pants.

GATOR BAIT: If you’re watching Swamp Murders on Investigation Discovery and you think you see someone who looks just like former Mayor Bob Young and retired Augusta banker Jean Daniel, you’re wrong. It is Young and Daniel in a rowboat at Phinizy Swamp, playing a fisherman and his girlfriend who find the body of a Missouri banker who was kidnapped, killed and dumped in the swamp.

I was thinking about it later and wondered just how many swamp murders there have been like that where alligators didn’t tamper with the evidence before the police got there.

Anyway, Young and Dan­iel were laying the South­ern accent on thick.

Or it could be that everybody from the South sounds that way on TV. I wouldn’t be surprised.

After all, TV makes everybody look fatter.

Producers of Swamp Mur­ders were looking at swamps in which to film the shows, and Phinizy Swamp CEO Young, a former TV man himself, knew what they were looking for and sold them on filming six episodes at Phinizy Swamp.

PARK THOSE CARS. MOVE THOSE TRAINS. RUN MORE OF THOSE EMPTY BUSES: The committee studying downtown parking met again last week. I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard several commissioners say they favor parking meters because other cities such as Savannah and Athens have them, so I expect that will be one recommendation.

I’ve written before about the parking studies– efforts to enforce two-hour parking by having officers write toothless tickets, the Downtown Development Authority’s proposal to become the parking police and the uproar over the prospect of parking meters.

Here’s the lead of a Chronicle story written exactly 17 years ago that could have been cut and pasted into recent articles: “Complaints from business owners in the middle blocks of Broad Street – verified by a parking study – about downtown workers hogging all the parking spaces all day has triggered a review of the free-parking situation.”

Folks, it’s déjà vu all over again, which applies to other Augusta problems that create a lot of talk until everybody gets tired of them and they fade into the background, only to rise again a few months or years later.

Mayor Charles DeVaney took on the trains that blocked traffic in Augusta but didn’t get anywhere. Years later, Stephen Shepard ran for the District 3 seat on the commission vowing to do something about the trains. And he did try, but a few years later I asked him whether he’d made any headway, and he said the railroad companies were harder to deal with than he thought they’d be.

And, of course, there’s Regency Mall and south Augusta revitalization, which have been studied and talked about since the mall started closing two decades ago. In 2009, District 5 commission candidate Bobby Hankerson had big plans for south Augusta if he won, among them a one-stop government complex at Regency Mall and an amusement park with a giant roller coaster.

Another issue that doesn’t seem to have a solution is transit. Politicians campaign on it, but when they get in office, they can’t find the millions for expansion, just as their predecessors couldn’t.

At Tuesday’s commission meeting, the board was about to vote on the bylaws of the Transit Citizens Advi­sory Committee but was stopped by Commissioner Mary Davis, who said it had come to her attention that the old transit board had never officially been dissolved. I don’t think anybody on the commission except her even knew there was an old board.

During a 1998 mayoral candidate forum, Kenneth Winters, now deceased, made this immortal proclamation: “We have the lousiest transit system in the state.”

Candidates before him and after have said the same thing – in one way or another.

Regents reach settlement with Virginia school in trademark lawsuit

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