Daily Kent Stater and the $1 million gift

Doug Brown

About five weeks ago, Kent State University lost a $1 million gift after the student newspaper’s enterprise reporter, Doug Brown, started asking questions about the donor’s SEC violations. Brown obtained hundreds of emails through an open records request and uses them to describe how the university accepted — then lost — the alum Jason Cope’s donation.

On Dec. 21, emails showed Tom Nader, Record-Courier sports editor, was the first to ask if the athletic department was aware of Cope’s SEC violations.

“He wasn’t really looking to do anything negative with it, just asking more if we were aware of it before moving forward with the court name,” relayed Todd Vatter, interim director of athletic communications, to Nielsen, Tom Kleinlein, deputy director of athletics, and Geis on Dec 22.

Nielsen responded and said, “We were aware of the 2000 SEC case,” and copied into the email Harvey and Tom Neumann, associate vice president of marketing and communications, Finn, Steve Sokany, senior associate vice president of institutional advancement, Lefton, Reed and Walker. “Todd, let’s get with [University Communications & Marketing] to discuss drafting a response to media should this question arise again.”

* Behind the scenes of a $1 million withdrawal
* Earlier: Kent State loses gift after student paper asks questions