Chancellor Katehi Fires Back after UC Releases $1 Million Investigation Figure

UC President Janet Napolitano

The four-month investigation by the Orrick law firm, headed by attorneys Melinda Haag and McGregor Scott, cost the university nearly $1 million investigating former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi – an investigation that began in April 2016 and culminated in her resignation last August.

“After taking into account the discounted hourly billing rates and other fee accommodations that the firm agreed to, the final cost to UC will be $988,142.75 for (law firm) Orrick’s fees and expenses,” UC spokesperson Dianne Klein told the media.

In a statement, Ms. Klein asserted that “all of this could have been avoided had Katehi resigned as chancellor of UC Davis as President Napolitano had asked.”

She continued, “Instead, in direct contravention to the agreement she and the president had made to keep the matter confidential until the terms of the resignation could be finalized, the chancellor waged a public campaign to keep her position while at the same time denying any wrongdoing.”

Ms. Klein said. “Following the chancellor’s action, in the interest of transparency, the president initiated an independent investigation into several areas of concern. She did this after consulting with the Board of Regents and then drafted a letter to the chancellor placing her on leave during the course of the investigation.

“The investigation found that the chancellor had exercised poor judgment, had not been candid with university leadership, and violated multiple university policies,” she added.

On Sunday, the former chancellor fired back in a string of tweets.

“The claims by Diane Klein are erroneous and unbelievably untrue. The UC Communications Office should stop lying,” the former chancellor said.

She said in another tweet, “I was not asked to resign as a Chancellor! I was asked to resign from the University (without) any proof of wrongdoing.

“The UC Comms Office leaked the allegations to the papers before I received the letter that placed me on leave,” she commented.

“On April 25, 2016, I was threatened that my family and I would be investigated if I did not leave the University,” the former chancellor tweeted.

“I have been working in Higher Ed in the US for 38 years. This is the first time I have experienced this treatment,” she added.

Last August, Janet Napolitano wrote to faculty, “On April 25, 2016, I met privately with Linda Katehi to discuss a series of misjudgments and policy violations of such a serious nature that she should resign her position as chancellor of UC Davis.  Regrettably, Chancellor Katehi refused to resign and made public statements to campus leadership and others that she intended to remain as chancellor.  I then placed Chancellor Katehi on immediate administrative leave and authorized the hiring of an outside firm to investigate a number of concerns.”

She added, “The investigation is now concluded, and it found numerous instances where Chancellor Katehi was not candid, either with me, the press, or the public, that she exercised poor judgment, and violated multiple University policies. In these circumstances, Chancellor Katehi has now offered to resign, and I have accepted that resignation.  These past three months and the events leading up to them have been an unhappy chapter in the life of UC Davis.  I believe it is in the best interest of the campus, the Davis community, and the University of California that we move forward.”

Back in August, Chancellor Katehi’s attorney, Melinda Guzman, said: “One hundred days ago, the UC placed Linda Katehi on administrative leave on issues highlighting nepotism, conflicts of interest and misuse of student fee income. The UC Davis Academic Senate cleared Chancellor Katehi of wrongdoing within days of the leave.

“The report also exonerated Linda Katehi of any concerns regarding her travel expenses, and essentially exonerated her on the important issues relative to her service to the university, namely nepotism, conflicts of interest, financial management or personal gain,” stated Ms. Guzman.

Following the disclosure of the investigation total, Ms. Guzman would tell the Bee last week that the money “might have been better spent on behalf of the students of California.

“I think it’s unfortunate that President Napolitano chose to embark with this costly investigation,” Ms. Guzman said.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Keith O

    What a waste of money, $1 million for a witch hunt.

    It all started over Katehi’s moonlighting jobs but who gets her position now, someone who also makes big bucks moonlighting.


  2. Tia Will

    Both Katehi and Napolitano made avoidable errors of judgment which have been extremely costly. Neither won anything in terms of reputation or validation of their positions. They will both maintain very lucrative careers. The losers are UCD students, employees and the taxpayers.

  3. Alan Miller

    “I have been working in Higher Ed in the US for 38 years. This is the first time I have experienced this treatment,” she added.

    I have several friends who went to UC Davis for years, some as long-time activists, other joining in just months after attending UCD, over the issue of rising student fees.  The got pepper sprayed in the face.  That was the first time they experienced this treatment.

  4. Alex Ditiatin

    She was bad news at the U of I, bad news at UC Davis.  A solid fundraiser but suffered from an obsessively narcissistic viewpoint and a lack of understanding and acting upon the concerns of the students, staff, faculty and Davis community.

    It’s a shame, but the higher ups need handlers to explain to them that they work for us, not the other way around.

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