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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

State University Board |Blasted for Hiring AG

(CN) - The plaintiffs to a RICO lawsuit in Georgia claim the body that oversees the state's university system engaged in blatant political favoritism when it hired former Attorney General Sam Olens president of Kennesaw State University.

Kennesaw faculty, students and community members filed the suit in Fulton County Superior Court on Monday.

They are joined as plaintiffs by the Cobb County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Two of the female faculty plaintiffs say they applied for the president position after the former holder of the job was ousted, but weren't even considered because the Georgia University System's board of regent had already decided to hire Olens.

Olens resigned as attorney general two years before the end of his term to take the job.

The plaintiffs contend the defendant board of regents "is foisting Olens on KSU as an act of political favoritism, as a quid pro quo for unethical and illegal actions Olens has taken to defend the BOR for wrongdoing at KSU and other USG institutions."

Its actions and those of co-defendants Olens and Gov. Nathan Deal violated longstanding policies regarding political interference, equal employment opportunity, and the Georgia RICO Act, the complaint says.

Olens himself, the plaintiffs claim, "faces allegations of knowing falsification of state agency reports for the express purpose of obstructing state and federal investigations, or that Olens maintained an improper and undisclosed relationship with the presiding judge in one of the cases, which has also been the subject of a federal criminal investigation."

They also contend the university president Olens replaced was removed "in a misleading and scandalous manner" based on claims the board of regents never bothered to investigate fully.

The plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief that would bar Olens from assuming the Kennesaw State University presidency.

They also ask the court to direct Gov. Deal to appoint an independent special investigator to look into their allegations of wrongdoing.

Lastly, they seek treble and punitive damages.

A spokesperson for Kennesaw State University declined to comment on pending litigation.

Representatives of the other parties could not be reached for comment.

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