OU pays law firm more than $500K for David Boren, financial data investigations
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma has paid $561,493 to the law firm that investigated both former OU President David Boren and the misreporting of information to U.S. News & World Report.
The latest payment to Jones Day — for $166,814 — was made April 24, two weeks after regents were briefed at a six-hour closed meeting on the findings of the Boren investigation, records show.
OU first hired Jones Day last year to investigate the misreporting of information to U.S. News & World Report for its annual ranking of universities. OU later hired the firm to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct that were made against Boren.
Boren, 78, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator, retired last year after nearly 24 years in charge at OU. He has denied wrongdoing.
OU paid $193,681 to Jones Day in early December and $200,998 in March, records show.
"The University’s engagement of a nationally respected firm with extensive experience in these types of inquiries helps ensure the highest levels of objectivity and expertise," OU said in an emailed response Sunday to questions from The Oklahoman.
"It also helps ensure the privacy of potentially affected parties," OU said. "From the start, the University desired an investigation conducted professionally, independently and impartially."
OU has declined to make public the Jones Day invoices even in redacted form.
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Jones Day has more than 2,500 lawyers, making it one of the largest law firms in the world. The lead attorney in the Boren investigation is from Atlanta.
OU went unranked in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 list of Best Colleges after disclosing it had inflated its alumni giving data since 1999.
For the 2019 Best Colleges rankings, OU originally put its two-year alumni giving rate at 14% and later corrected the information to 9.7%, U.S. News & World Report explained on its website. Many high school students look to the rankings to help decide where to go to college.
The expense may generate criticism because the university made cutbacks in a number of areas, including landscaping, after the new president, Jim Gallogly, announced last June that debt at the Norman campus has reached almost $1 billion.
Jones Day also investigated whether Boren acted inappropriately with male aides and male students. The law firm's report on its findings was more than 50 pages long. Boren has responded in writing through his attorney to that report. Boren could face sanctions if the university decides he was inappropriate. Among the possible sanctions could be loss of his emeritus status.
Agents with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation also have been looking into allegations made against Boren and a former OU vice president.