Sylvia Cooper

City Ink columnist and correspondent for The Augusta Chronicle.

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

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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.

Comments (17) Add comment
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star
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star 06/29/13 - 10:42 pm
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Thank you

Thank you for telling it like it is! It takes you to cut thru the "fluff."

GnipGnop
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GnipGnop 06/30/13 - 12:40 am
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The mall should be condemned

and torn down. Or market it to Hollywood as a cheap movie studio.

corgimom
32615
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corgimom 06/30/13 - 03:06 am
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Sylvia, you forgot to mention

Sylvia, you forgot to mention the "studies" that are done over and over and over again, with no results because there isn't any money to implement what they recommend

How many times has a study been done on bringing retail to Downtown? That ship has done sailed long ago, there isn't any retail that would attract people downtown that isn't already in Augusta, you can already get anything that you need in the shopping centers, the mall, and the Internet

jmo
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jmo 06/30/13 - 06:19 am
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If "no money" changed.....

hands, why can't anyone talk about it? There are other forms of money besides "money" itself.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/30/13 - 06:55 am
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What Made the Deal

I still believe the deal maker in what had to be given to Regent U. was the 55 Chevy up on blocks in Azziz's yard that GRU built a garage around loaded with 20 years of Azziz's "artwork" that he's not allowed to bring in the house in the backseat.

Riverman1
84130
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Riverman1 06/30/13 - 06:53 am
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Bob Young and Acting Lessons

If Bob Young needs acting lessons he should invite his friend John Barrow to his kitchen again and over Gwen’s grits Barrow can explain how he made his commercial where he sounded like a gun toting Marshall Matt Dillon. That was superb acting.

twentieth century man
102
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twentieth century man 06/30/13 - 11:38 am
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GRU

I hope this settlement of a federal court case will not be hidden by "gag" orders. Possibly, GRU is not protected here by loopholes in the Georgia Open Records Act. I am concerned that the Board of Regents is taking advantage of the pre-existing private university foundations to pay some of the merger costs. The ongoing partisan redistricting is but another way to disenfranchise Augustans. The main "big" governmental danger here is not in Washington, but in Atlanta.

Riverman1
84130
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Riverman1 06/30/13 - 12:03 pm
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We Need To Find The Truth

There's no doubt in my mind half-truths are being told about the settlement. We need to find someway to find out what the settlement actually was. Catching them in ANOTHER incident of misleading the public may force Deal to act.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 06/30/13 - 02:10 pm
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General Foley and Andrew Newton are both class acts and

undoubtedly made choices to get away from "His Highness." I have had the pleasure of being in the company of both men in the past and both are better than what this administration is made of. I wish them both great success and wish more were able to leave so that King Azziz's empire would crumble under him.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 06/30/13 - 06:24 pm
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ALL THIS

Yet, nothing has been done.

BTW: How can a publically operated and Taxpayer funded college enter into a Non Disclosure Agreement that prohibits the very owners and payers (the public) from being informed?

americafirst
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americafirst 06/30/13 - 09:02 pm
1
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Nocnoc, it can't. Once the

Nocnoc, it can't. Once the matter is officially dismissed by the Court, then details should be open records. The Judge could seal everything, but I serioulsy doubt the Court will do so.

Riverman1
84130
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Riverman1 07/01/13 - 08:16 am
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NocNoc (and others), yep,

NocNoc (and others), yep, there has to be a way for the court records concerning a public, state owned, entity to be examined. I'm sure the Chronicle is looking into the matter. I'm also sure GRU is very afraid of the settlement being made public.

nocnoc
42742
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nocnoc 07/01/13 - 08:58 am
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Riverman1 - Hope the AC is

looking into it.

But sometimes I get that feeling we are being lead in circles in order to blow steam off and diminish the odds of a group of people stepping forward to do something in court.

Riverman1
84130
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Riverman1 07/01/13 - 10:39 am
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Foley and Newton

The departure of Jeffrey Foley, GRU’s vice president of military and global affairs and Andrew Newton, GRU’s general counsel at this time, just after the settlement with Regent U. is linked I’ll guess.

Ben There
56
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Ben There 07/01/13 - 12:14 pm
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Pathetic Little Town

Augusta, the city that could, but just doesn't!

If the Downtown Development Authority focused half as much attention on actually recruiting businesses downtown and working in concert with current businesses to bring customers to downtown, I'd be impressed. They want to have parking meters because Athens or Savannah have them, but then downtown Athens or Savannah have venues that attract a broad cross section of shoppers and diners.
It is truly pathetic we can get Starbucks to build a low wage warehouse and shipping operation here in Augusta, but we can't get them to open up a shop in the heart of downtown Augusta.
It's enough to make someone move to Columbia County!

badmoon426
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badmoon426 07/01/13 - 12:44 pm
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If You Want To...

...Know About What Goes On In Government.

File an Official Records Request (ORR). Keep filing until you get the information you want and if you don't then it just raises more questions to file more ORR's.

badmoon426
1173
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badmoon426 07/01/13 - 12:48 pm
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In The End...

...I really do not care if it is called GRU or RUG or whatever. What really gets makes you question the leadership at the Board of Regents as well as old MCG and ASU, is they spent money to come up with a name they still ended up in court over.

Now that is the height of stupidity!

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