If you’re looking for some easy money, be a search firm.
There’s not a lot of work involved, judging by the Star Tribune’s revelation today that disgraced athletic director Norwood Teague failed to disclose that he was facing a gender discrimination complaint at his old gig at the time he was being recruited for a new one.
That was good enough for the U, which had paid a search firm $112,539, and it was good enough for a 23-member search advisory committee, which apparently declined to offer this bit of advice: “Check around a little bit because people with something to hide tend to hide it.”
Virginia Commonwealth University women’s basketball coach Beth Cunningham had filed a complaint against Teague.
The University of Minnesota said in a statement that Parker assured the school “that it had no knowledge of any illegal or inappropriate behavior concerning a candidate’s history or current employment.”
“With respect to Teague,” the statement continued, “specifically, as the committee’s recommended finalist, Parker conducted a full, thorough, and comprehensive background check that included a criminal check, references, credit check, and local and national media reviews for any potentially controversial areas of concern.”
Teague resigned on Aug. 7 after he was accused of sexually harassing two co-workers. Teague did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The U said as part of Parker’s background check the firm asked candidates to “to disclose in writing any potential issues of controversy or concern that the University of Minnesota should be aware of” and that Teague “signed a statement indicating no such issues exist.”
“Neither members of the search committee nor anyone else at the University were alerted to any complaint against Virginia Commonwealth University through this disclosure, and the University does not know whether there was any complaint against VCU at the time of the search,” the U said.
Parker’s president, Laurie Wilder, told the Star Tribune on Monday that she would not comment on the company’s background check of Teague, but said candidates are asked to disclose “any potential areas of controversy or concern.”
The U of M has paid the search firm nearly $300,000 since 2007 to investigate candidates for jobs in the athletic department.
Knowledge of the complaint against Teague might have led someone to inquire whether Teague has a problem with women. Maybe.
In a statement, members of the search advisory committee said they are “shocked and dismayed,” but said it was the search firm’s responsibility, the Pioneer Press reported.