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June 28, 2006

Mike Adams Gets Sued

The Athens paper has the scoop on Mike Adams being sued by the ex-dean of the Journalism School. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, in a June 19 letter notifying UGA and state officials of the $1 million suit, John Soloski claims that university officials "intentionally manipulated UGA's policies in an attempt to essentially blackball Dr. Soloski as an outsider of university administration because of his neutral resistance to President Adams' abuses of power." You have to get down into the article to uncover this ominous little nugget: The lawsuit filed Tuesday is just the beginning of Soloski's claims against Adams and the regents. The AJC has the story here.

The gist of the lawsuit is that Soloski's forced resignation as dean was not because of the "sexual harassment" [more on that below] accusation that Adams used as a stalking horse to demote him, reduce his salary and tarnish his academic career. Rather, the suit accuses the administration of mistreating Soloski since 2001 after he refused the interim provost's demand for him to write a letter of support for Adams as the president came under fire after an audit commissioned by the UGA Foundation. To paraphrase, Adams metaphorically put Soloski on his enemies list and conducted a Richard Nixon-esque takedown.

I am not a crook.

According to the Banner-Herald, "a month after auditors released findings in October 2003, the deans of all 14 of UGA's schools and colleges signed a statement that called for the end of the controversy between Adams and the UGA Foundation, but stopped short of blanket support of Adams, who vehemently denied accusations of financial wrongdoing contained in the audit." Soloski said the intent of the demand (for a letter of support) "was to rebuild Defendant Adams' ailing credibility in the eyes of the public and University community."

Soloski's accusations come along at an interesting time, since the Banner-Herald recently ran an article observing that all UGA Deans have now been hand-picked by Adams--a 100% turnover since his arrival in 1996. Soloski's charges certainly pass the sniff test if he is arguing that anything less than total, unquestioning, sycophantic loyalty to Adams personally will result in being stripped of your position as Dean in favor of a more obedient successor. Our take: under Adams, there is no virtue to be found in loyalty to the institution if one hopes to be in a leadership position at UGA. Some deans are even hired by presidential fiat and without the bothersome pretense of a search committe.

Soloski appears to be extremely committed to getting relief through the courts. He promises in the article to take the case to federal court if the state court in Fulton County does not grant the relief he requests. Is Soloski a credible plaintiff? The sexual harassment accusation Adams used to force him out is a controversial topic. After a black-tie fundraising event in June 2005 Soloski apparently told a female faculty member in his department that her dress looked very nice or something to that effect. She didn't appreciate the comment and accused him of creating a hostile work environment.

Pay no attention to my endowment fundraising. I command you!

After an Inquisition investigation conducted by Adams hand-picked Legal Affairs Director Steve Shewmaker's office (during which Soloski says he was not allowed to present evidence on his own behalf), it was concluded he had violated the University policy on sexual harassment. Unquestionably, Soloski showed poor judgment. Whether this exhibition of poor judgment equals sexual harassment could be vigorously debated. We don't know what they teach about procedural due process at Shewmaker's University of Kentucky, but at the University of Georgia--and Constitutionally--it means notice and opportunity to be heard.

What does the suit mean? Probably not much. Unless there is a smoking gun email out there, Soloski has enough baggage that he may not be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence he was blackballed for failing to support Adams. Unless the University and Board of Regents are able to buy Soloski off with a settlement, I would expect some embarrassing details to hit the papers during the discovery phase. There is no telling who might be on Soloski's deposition wish list, but there are probably some forced out former deans who think Soloski might be right about Adams.

We think that when loyalty to a person is substituted for loyalty to an institution or to ideas--or when the distinction is deliberately obscured-- the integrity of the institution or ideas is inevitably eroded. We believe this to be a truism both as applied to Michael Adams and as applied to governments generally. Consolidation of power by the president of an institution (whether academic or geopolitical) is stifling to the free exchange of ideas and opinions. The frequent result is unpopular policy and manipulation of people by fear and coercion.

We have to confess that when we read about the lawsuit this morning, we were pleased. But the happiness has given way to resignation and sadness. The reason lies at the heart of our dislike for Michael Adams. See, we love the University of Georgia (not just the Bulldogs). There is no question that neither the University of Georgia nor the University System of Georgia will benefit from the distraction of this lawsuit. Eventually, distractions and embarrassments will reach a tipping point. When? When our state's leaders realign their loyalty to institutions and ideas instead of to individuals.

There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties.

Bureau Chief
Mike Adams Corruption Division


Anonymous said...

Great article. I attended and graduated from the Grady School when Mr. Soloski was dean, and the man is beyond reproach. I met with and talked with Dean Soloski on many occasions, and I can tell you that this so called "sexual harrassment" never happened.

The man was the head of one of the top JOURNALISM schools in the country. Don't you think that if he really did something, it would come out?

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Leave the journalism people alone, Adams! You don't know who you're fucking with!

Wait, I'm a journalism grad, so . . . You don't know WITH WHOM you are fucking!

Free Soloski! Impeach Adams!

Anonymous said...

I am not an alumnus of the Journalism school, but I am twice a UGA grad and the Institution is near and dear to my heart. So naturally, I hate Michael Adams. But more, I hate the way the Regents have 1) selected him in the first place, and 2) have continued to support him in spite numerous instances of arrogance, indecision, maldecision, and waste of University assets and prestige to fluff up his own pillow. (Tell me again what his wife does that she draws a check from the University for? - besides presidential bjs, I mean) But the Regents will continue to support him, because to do otherwise wouold be an admission that they messed up bigtime hiring him. That's true no matter what it costs.

Kanu said...

Well written.

I too am a 2 time alum, and Adams is a supreme embarrassment for the University, students, alumni, and anyone else even remotely associated with UGA.

Too bad we're lazy, apathetic Americans. If this were Venezuela, Bolivia, the Ukraine, or even Paris, we would all go to Athens by the tens of thousands and protest in the streets until he was removed and replaced.

(not saying I'm not proud to be an American, just showing the contrast between our tendency to complain and the rather amazing activism in the rest of the world).

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say earlier that I was surprised to read the entire write-up without the use of the term Schadenfreude...;-)

Ludakit said...

Hell yeah Grady grads Untie!!!

I mean "unite."

As a Public Relations major I can tell you it'd be easier to represent a tobacco company that produces strychnine cigarettes than to represent that asshat any day.

I'll be honest, though. Hating Ole Mike has become some common that if they did fire and replace him, I'd almost feel out of place.

Hell, there's always Tech.

Go Dawgs.

Anonymous said...

Michael F. Adam$ will just write me another letter, ask me for more monies for his dinners of 4 hand-picked Deans at $2,147.62 a pop with not one person at the table who could give one red cent to UGA, and tell us all how much money we all otherwise have sent to UGA and include in that what I continue to give to the Athletics' Fund that Adam$ states does not exist but owns the logo of my alma mater, and then just push all this too under the carpet without the 1st explanation is his wife is still getting the stipend from it, getting most of his monies from a liquor company whom he next now backstabs about renaming the WLOCP without the word cocktail, telling us we have to wait until he wakes up at 7 a.m. to tailgate breakfast so that 92,746 of us all show up at the same time from Atlanta on two roads and give us no place to park, as he did blame Vince for Michael F. Adam$' presidential admit of Tony Cole, Michael F. Adam$' forced hiring of Harrick Senior, and for Michael F. Adam$' disregarding personally the state law on nepotism for Harrick Junior - all 3 of which Vince clearly refused to do for Jim Harrick Senior.

Speaking of Harrick Junior, at the now infamous Press Meeting Vince had to wait for Adam$ to arrive back from Costa Rica for, Adam$ said : "How was I to know what was going on in the class, as there are too many classes at UGA for me to know what is going on in them?"

Not one red cent to the sucker. I loved his response to the IRS that he didn't fill out both expense reports for the same trip in the same plane to the Inauguration, that his secretary filled out one of them, and then promptly paid for that indiscretion with a check and another for his elaborate $20,000 birthday party for his son who never even comes to see dear old Dad - all at our expense.

Anyone go to the Sugar Bowl at the Dome in Atlanta with me ? They tried to introduce this a$$wipe and his bjs wife, and we all booed so loudly, that we were in a funk for the first 4 minutes of the game putting us down 28 to nothing.

So, this most recent lawsuit is yet another in a long never-ending streak of wasted monies on French Chalets and condos in Buckhead he buys with my monies and then dumps when we all find out he never not once used it, but drove the 45 minutes home each time to Athens instead.

All the while of course, Michael F. Adam$ takes complete personal credit for the Hope Scholarship which brings us 3.75 Grade Point Average students, while he was not the president of 1,700 student Pepperdine where he fell in love with Jim Harrick, but only Pepperdine’s even vice president of student affairs – a role today of course at UGA that would leave him judged as poorly as any president of any college in America that anyone still in charge would be judged as having in fact done.

Is there no end to the embarrassment of this a$$wipe ? See what we get for booing him and his wife at the Sugar Bowl ? It was so loud and so long that the proceedings absolutely came to a halt for 4 minutes.

Jmac said...

That's good work, but I disagree wholeheartedly with our first anonymous poster. Soloski was a piece of work, widely disliked and untrusted at Grady and had rumors of misconduct circulating around him.

I agree that Adams has done some pretty dubious things as president, but let's not hold up Soloski as the standard-bearer of truth and justice.

Anonymous said...

Soloski is no boy scout. I can assure you that the alleged sexual harrassment DID happen, on more than one occasion to several female employees (who I happen to know). There is no "whistle blowing" going on here, Soloski was in the wrong. Neither he nor Adams has my respect.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:57 pm,

I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to respond to your comment except to say that the opinions expressed by you in that regard are you own. Not mine.

I personally don't care if the allegations are true or not. That's not for me to figure out. However, I do care that he wasn't given due process.

Paul Westerdawg
Georgia Sports Blog

Dawgnoxious said...

If the case against Soloski is so cut and dried, why wouldn't you give him a due process hearing? It sure seems like Adams and his puppets were engineering outcomes to suit themselves.

I can see why the guy thinks he got railroaded. Why not let him make an argument or present evidence on his behalf? I'm shocked an attorney wouldn't recommend a due process hearing out of an abundance of caution anyway, to avoid this very thing. No one ever sued for getting too much due process.

Anonymous said...

I think that those who doubt this sexual harassment happened will be very surprised if this thing goes to court.

Soloski should have taken his money & ran...

What is he complaining about anyway? He has a guarenteed job--if everything comes out in the wash, he will never work again.

Jmac said...

But didn't Soloski get due process? He's had his appeal and defense heard by several different individuals.

Due process doesn't seem to be the argument at all, actually. Soloski is arguing he wasn't treated the same as others facing similar charges at UGA, which is possibly true.

Anonymous said...


I had to delete your last comment.

I can let comments stand that express an opinion such as "He's ugly or mean or crooked."

But if you use a term that has a clear definition like you did in the last sentence of your post, I have to delete it b/c I'm enabling you to slander Soloski otherwise.

And I can't afford the court fees.

I'd have deleted it if you said the same about adams.

Anonymous said...

Soloski could have fought the charges against him in June of 2005. He didn't. He took the deal and resigned. Adams and his water boys have something on Soloski.

To say that Soloski can't be trusted is an understatement. His suit is just evidence of his delusions of self-importance and a victim mentality. In truth this man's misfortune is self-inflicted.

I bet before all this is said and done, Soloski is going to wish he had not started it. Of course he will relish the additional Google items containing his name. It is rumored he searches his name and checks the numbers every morning!

Anonymous said...

I am finding it difficult to understand why Soloski would open himself up to further publicity. Being close to the situation, I think he cut a pretty good deal last June all things considered. One would think he would avoid the spotlight at all costs. Hopefully, he can do no further damage to Grady College as his teaching position is essentially a powerless one.

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