SC

USC-Upstate Scandal: More Professors Involved

University of South Carolina Upstate professor Richard “Ric” Routh isn’t the only member of the school’s faculty using taxpayer resources to pad his pockets. At least three other professors – including Routh’s supervisor at the school – appear to be involved in his various for-profit dealings. Ronnie Fulbright, Steve Caldwell…

University of South Carolina Upstate professor Richard “Ric” Routh isn’t the only member of the school’s faculty using taxpayer resources to pad his pockets.

At least three other professors – including Routh’s supervisor at the school – appear to be involved in his various for-profit dealings.

Ronnie Fulbright, Steve Caldwell and Lizabeth Zack – all current salaried professors in various departments at the Spartanburg, S.C. school – have reportedly been supplementing their income in conjunction with Routh’s unique brand of taxpayer-supported

Fulbright is the associate professor and chair of the USC-Upstate Department of Informatics, which employs Routh. He is paid $103,790 annually, not counting benefits.

Caldwell, a business professor at the school, makes $93,547 annually, not counting benefits.

Zack, a USC-Upstate sociology professor, makes $53,847 annually, not counting benefits.

All three taxpayer-funded employees appear as “faculty” on CIOExcellence.com – which is the website for Routh’s “executive coaching” business. Also, we’re told all three have participated in – and profited from – “executive seminars” held at USC-Upstate facilities. These seminars have been extensively promoted with USC-Upstate resources – including students.

Obviously that’s a big “no-no.”

In addition to his “executive coaching” racket, Routh has also been using taxpayer time and resources to lure investors to “Invictus University” – a for-profit private institution he plans to launch within the next few years. Earlier this week, however, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson sent Routh a “cease and desist” letter ordering him to stop offering these  securities – nothing his business was not registered with the S.C. Secretary of State’s office.

Incidentally, part of Routh’s pitch to investors for “Invictus University” revolved around the raging stupidity of his USC-Upstate students.

“More than one-third of them are incapable of figuring out what 10 percent of a billion dollars is,” he said in a video which has since been removed from YouTube. “Most of them have no clue that you need to collect 1,000 different piles of a billion dollars in each pile in order to have a trillion dollars.”

“These same students have no idea that we even have a separation of powers in our federal government, or why that is historically important,” he added.

FITS has argued consistently on behalf of the full privatization of South Carolina’s bloated, corrupt and ineffective system of higher education – which drains taxpayers of billions of dollars each year on non-core functions. The conduct of Routh and his “colleagues” is just another example of why this needs to happen sooner rather than later.

For those of you keeping score at home, USC-Upstate is set to receive $91.5 million in the coming FY 2013-14 budget – an increase of $3.3 million from the current FY 2012-13 budget.

UPDATE: Stay tuned for much, much more … FITS has been provided with additional examples of USC-Upstate faculty using public resources for private gain, and are preparing more reports.

***

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37 comments

Another Side March 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

Would you rather they do esoteric research and write papers? This is real world experience they can share with their students.

Reply
The other side March 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

He is doing this by using buildings and resources we paid for. If Routh wants to run a business rent an office or work out of his home.

Reply
Squishy123 March 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

Then they need to follow the rules and exchange the money they’re receiving from this venture with money they’re being paid by the university. It’s done all the time when a faculty member earns money from a grant. There are faculty at USC who are paid entirely from grants they receive.

Reply
Another Side March 28, 2013 at 8:07 am

Would you rather they do esoteric research and write papers? This is real world experience they can share with their students.

Reply
The other side March 28, 2013 at 8:58 am

He is doing this by using buildings and resources we paid for. If Routh wants to run a business rent an office or work out of his home.

Reply
Squishy123 March 28, 2013 at 9:00 am

Then they need to follow the rules and exchange the money they’re receiving from this venture with money they’re being paid by the university. It’s done all the time when a faculty member earns money from a grant. There are faculty at USC who are paid entirely from grants they receive.

Reply
nitrat March 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

$91.5 million ???
How about breaking that down as to exactly where it comes from?
We KNOW how you love to play with, manipulate and deceive with phonied up numbers like your teacher Sanford.

Reply
nitrat March 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

$91.5 million ???
How about breaking that down as to exactly where it comes from?
We KNOW how you love to play with, manipulate and deceive with phonied up numbers like your teacher Sanford.

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

The subject of professors misusing publicly funded resources is timely and interesting. However, some readers have insisted since FITS is a blog it doesn’t have to meet professional investigative journalism standards, and the ‘simple truth’ FITS advertises is whatever the writers like to invent. Thus, FITS ‘reports’ aren’t credible as ‘truth’ although they are entertaining. ‘We’re told’ as a source? This is such crappy writing that relies on uninformed uncritical readers to blindly follow writer opinion as if it’s real investigation. No matter what anyone’s personal opinion is, real ‘truth’ in uncovering wasted taxpayer money comes from documentation – money flow, rules, regulations, policies and procedures. What is the University policy about professors extra income? Where are the links to real information? In addition, I’m sure the ‘much much more’ will include how Wilson will jump in and save us from the heinous crime FITS isn’t competently investigating, because, you know, blogs don’t have to write or investigate competently.

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 10:09 am

The subject of professors misusing publicly funded resources is timely and interesting. However, some readers have insisted since FITS is a blog it doesn’t have to meet professional investigative journalism standards, and the ‘simple truth’ FITS advertises is whatever the writers like to invent. Thus, FITS ‘reports’ aren’t credible as ‘truth’ although they are entertaining. ‘We’re told’ as a source? This is such crappy writing that relies on uninformed uncritical readers to blindly follow writer opinion as if it’s real investigation. No matter what anyone’s personal opinion is, real ‘truth’ in uncovering wasted taxpayer money comes from documentation – money flow, rules, regulations, policies and procedures. What is the University policy about professors extra income? Where are the links to real information? In addition, I’m sure the ‘much much more’ will include how Wilson will jump in and save us from the heinous crime FITS isn’t competently investigating, because, you know, blogs don’t have to write or investigate competently.

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 10:25 am

oh, and to all readers who argue FITS makes no pretense to be anything other than a blog – Really? Apparently these readers are okay with poorly written ‘reports’ that attack individuals based only on writer’s personal jumping to conclusions. I’m not disputing if the allegations are true true, or untrue. I’m simply requiring FITS to deliver on advertisement of ‘simple truth’. Well, maybe ‘simple’ is supposed to mean ‘fabricated’. ‘Unfair and imbalanced’ doesn’t mean sloppy, incompetent, immature investigation and writing.

Reply
anonymous March 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

ALAN WILSON TO BE INVESTIGATED, CAMPAIGN MANAGER THAD WESTBROOK SAYS THAT ……………..MR. SCRIVENER DID IT!
“S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson Failed to Report $134K in Campaign Funds”
By Corey Hutchins
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

South Carolina’s Republican attorney general, Alan Wilson, failed to report $134,000 in campaign donations and payments two years ago, something that’s just now come to light. He amended his ethics disclosure reports to correct the errors last week.

Because he self-reported what his campaign characterizes as “simple clerical or scrivener’s errors,” Alan Wilson will face no late-filing penalties, according to the S.C. Ethics Commission. Officials there will run a report to make sure there aren’t any further discrepancies. But they will not request bank records from Alan Wilson’s campaign, and cannot investigate what happened without a formal complaint.

Alan Wilson’s is the largest campaign reporting error the ethics agency has seen in more than a dozen years.

As attorney general, Alan Wilson is the state’s top prosecutor and is in charge of enforcing the state’s ethics laws. Last year he toured the state with Gov. Nikki Haley touting an ethics reform plan, and he’s been asking lawmakers to create a Public Integrity Unit to help streamline ethics investigations. He recently asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the campaign finances of GOP House Speaker Bobby Harrell; and last year, he prosecuted ex-GOP Lt. Gov. Ken Ard for orchestrating an illegal campaign finance scheme.

Alan Wilson’s own campaign finances came into question after Free Times reported on a campaign donation he’d received from Harrell, but failed to report. Wilson immediately said he’d return the money to neutralize the appearance of any conflict of interest in the Harrell matter. Alan Wilson’s campaign then found more than a dozen more unreported donations and hired an accountant to review all of Alan Wilson’s campaign filings. The accountant found much more missing money: 68 donations totaling $66,890, and payments to 16 vendors totaling $66,797. The accountant is still looking.

“Wilson believes it’s important to lead by example. He could easily have asked the campaign to correct the handful of errors that were initially found and stopped with that,” said his campaign chairman Thad Westbrook in a statement.

The initial unreported campaign filings stemmed from how Wilson paid for his inaugural ball in January 2011, after his election in 2010. Typically, campaigns set up an independent committee to fund their inaugural parties. That way, donors don’t have to worry about exceeding campaign finance limits. But Wilson’s team decided to fund the gala through his campaign account, Thad Westbrook said.

Outgoing South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said he wants the Ethics Commission to investigate whether Alan Wilson’s campaign broke any laws.

“Who investigates the investigator?” Harpootlian said.“It’s troubling to have the guy who is supposed to enforce the ethics law violating the ethics law.”

Harpootlian says his party is calling on Alan Wilson to voluntarily request that the ethics agency investigate beyond what Wilson self-reported to make sure his campaign didn’t violate the law. If he declines, Harpootlian said the party would file an ethics complaint.
http://www.free-times.com/news/s.c.-attorney-general-alan-wilson-failed-to-report-134k-in-campaign-funds

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

Thank you for this link!!

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 10:25 am

oh, and to all readers who argue FITS makes no pretense to be anything other than a blog – Really? Apparently these readers are okay with poorly written ‘reports’ that attack individuals based only on writer’s personal jumping to conclusions. I’m not disputing if the allegations are true true, or untrue. I’m simply requiring FITS to deliver on advertisement of ‘simple truth’. Well, maybe ‘simple’ is supposed to mean ‘fabricated’. ‘Unfair and imbalanced’ doesn’t mean sloppy, incompetent, immature investigation and writing.

Reply
anonymous March 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

ALAN WILSON TO BE INVESTIGATED, CAMPAIGN MANAGER THAD WESTBROOK SAYS THAT ……………..MR. SCRIVENER DID IT!
“S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson Failed to Report $134K in Campaign Funds”
By Corey Hutchins
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

South Carolina’s Republican attorney general, Alan Wilson, failed to report $134,000 in campaign donations and payments two years ago, something that’s just now come to light. He amended his ethics disclosure reports to correct the errors last week.

Because he self-reported what his campaign characterizes as “simple clerical or scrivener’s errors,” Alan Wilson will face no late-filing penalties, according to the S.C. Ethics Commission. Officials there will run a report to make sure there aren’t any further discrepancies. But they will not request bank records from Alan Wilson’s campaign, and cannot investigate what happened without a formal complaint.

Alan Wilson’s is the largest campaign reporting error the ethics agency has seen in more than a dozen years.

As attorney general, Alan Wilson is the state’s top prosecutor and is in charge of enforcing the state’s ethics laws. Last year he toured the state with Gov. Nikki Haley touting an ethics reform plan, and he’s been asking lawmakers to create a Public Integrity Unit to help streamline ethics investigations. He recently asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the campaign finances of GOP House Speaker Bobby Harrell; and last year, he prosecuted ex-GOP Lt. Gov. Ken Ard for orchestrating an illegal campaign finance scheme.

Alan Wilson’s own campaign finances came into question after Free Times reported on a campaign donation he’d received from Harrell, but failed to report. Wilson immediately said he’d return the money to neutralize the appearance of any conflict of interest in the Harrell matter. Alan Wilson’s campaign then found more than a dozen more unreported donations and hired an accountant to review all of Alan Wilson’s campaign filings. The accountant found much more missing money: 68 donations totaling $66,890, and payments to 16 vendors totaling $66,797. The accountant is still looking.

“Wilson believes it’s important to lead by example. He could easily have asked the campaign to correct the handful of errors that were initially found and stopped with that,” said his campaign chairman Thad Westbrook in a statement.

The initial unreported campaign filings stemmed from how Wilson paid for his inaugural ball in January 2011, after his election in 2010. Typically, campaigns set up an independent committee to fund their inaugural parties. That way, donors don’t have to worry about exceeding campaign finance limits. But Wilson’s team decided to fund the gala through his campaign account, Thad Westbrook said.

Outgoing South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said he wants the Ethics Commission to investigate whether Alan Wilson’s campaign broke any laws.

“Who investigates the investigator?” Harpootlian said.“It’s troubling to have the guy who is supposed to enforce the ethics law violating the ethics law.”

Harpootlian says his party is calling on Alan Wilson to voluntarily request that the ethics agency investigate beyond what Wilson self-reported to make sure his campaign didn’t violate the law. If he declines, Harpootlian said the party would file an ethics complaint.
http://www.free-times.com/news/s.c.-attorney-general-alan-wilson-failed-to-report-134k-in-campaign-funds

Reply
katlaurenscounty March 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

Thank you for this link!!

Reply
? March 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

Pretty soon they are going to have to start a new business(s) after someone in USC grows some balls and stamps out their use of public resources to enrich themselves privately using their private “business”.

My suggestion would be them to found “EvictUs, LLC” first, and if the charges get serious enough maybe “ConvictUs, LLC”…both of which would be spin offs/diversification from the “Invictus” model of course.

Naturally with their business savvy, then can “executive coach” disgraced CEO’s on how to recover from the loss of public trust in their shady business dealings.

I know some soon to be deported Mexicans that can answer the phones for them and pass along messages in broken english pretty inexpensively if they are paid under the table.

Reply
? March 28, 2013 at 10:33 am

edit: “for them to found”

Reply
? March 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

Pretty soon they are going to have to start a new business(s) after someone in USC grows some balls and stamps out their use of public resources to enrich themselves privately using their private “business”.

My suggestion would be them to found “EvictUs, LLC” first, and if the charges get serious enough maybe “ConvictUs, LLC”…both of which would be spin offs/diversification from the “Invictus” model of course.

Naturally with their business savvy, then can “executive coach” disgraced CEO’s on how to recover from the loss of public trust in their shady business dealings.

I know some soon to be deported Mexicans that can answer the phones for them and pass along messages in broken english pretty inexpensively if they are paid under the table.

Reply
? March 28, 2013 at 10:33 am

edit: “for them to found”

Reply
Alex March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Jim Miles involved in this below-the-radar scam?

Reply
Alex March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Jim Miles involved in this below-the-radar scam?

Reply
Philip Branton March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm

WOW…….so much for FIts standing up and really going after the 700 Million SCRA details involving State funds….federal funds……and interesting “developer involvement”..!! The public/private “partnerships” with our PORTS line the pockets of WHO..??

Its really laughable when Fits “screams” about the need to privatize our education system…BUT …then points fingers at the people on the INSIDE that are trying to (seemingly) actually do something different..!!? Yes….does this Routh business model seem questionable? Maybe FITSNEWS could actually be the “transparent” repository for all of the “Invictus investment funding”..??

Does FITS really want to SOLVE a problem and be part of the SOLUTION..!!?? Heck, think of the clicks and ad revenue of citizens actually coming to this website to check and monitor the Invictus book keeping…?? What a great example for SC State to follow…!!!??

BUT …..no…..

Reply
Philip Branton March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm

WOW…….so much for FIts standing up and really going after the 700 Million SCRA details involving State funds….federal funds……and interesting “developer involvement”..!! The public/private “partnerships” with our PORTS line the pockets of WHO..??

Its really laughable when Fits “screams” about the need to privatize our education system…BUT …then points fingers at the people on the INSIDE that are trying to (seemingly) actually do something different..!!? Yes….does this Routh business model seem questionable? Maybe FITSNEWS could actually be the “transparent” repository for all of the “Invictus investment funding”..??

Does FITS really want to SOLVE a problem and be part of the SOLUTION..!!?? Heck, think of the clicks and ad revenue of citizens actually coming to this website to check and monitor the Invictus book keeping…?? What a great example for SC State to follow…!!!??

BUT …..no…..

Reply
Gustov Wagoner March 29, 2013 at 4:05 am

USC and USC Upstate have policies for renting rooms and/or spaces on campus. Campus related groups and organizations are welcome to reserve space for events, as well as non university affiliated groups or organizations. These faculty members are not teaching a credit course – example – Computer Science 101 – that conflicts with a university offering, so therefore there is no conflict with the program and the university. In other words, if this was done on non university property, and done not utilizing university resources, it is non issue.

The issue is solely this – did this CIO organization reimburse the university for use of the space. Records must exist that verify to reservations for the room(s), the charge, and whether or not the university was reimbursed. Fitsnews can simply request these records from the university to determine if university employees received an unfair benefit – ie free use of university resources that others would have to pay for. Routh is listed as director – surely he must have signed an agreement with the university to reserve the rooms. If he compensated the university at the regular rate then this is no issue.

The university has extensive policies on facilities use:

http://www.uscupstate.edu/uploadedFiles/Faculty_and_Staff/Policies_and_Procedures/facilities.pdf

If Routh did not compensate the university, then his employment with the state should be at issue, as well as his supervisors. End of this part of the story.

Invictus University – the other part of the story. How is Routh allowed to continue his employment considering this direct conflict of interest with the university? And, why would any institution continue to employ an individual so lacking in the understanding of securities and market forces – advertising publicly that Invictus would return $100 million on a $1 million investment in just 5 years, and in the same 5 years would have 1,000,00 students. Surely there must be some avenue to remove such incompetence from our classrooms.

Reply
Gustov Wagoner March 29, 2013 at 4:05 am

USC and USC Upstate have policies for renting rooms and/or spaces on campus. Campus related groups and organizations are welcome to reserve space for events, as well as non university affiliated groups or organizations. These faculty members are not teaching a credit course – example – Computer Science 101 – that conflicts with a university offering, so therefore there is no conflict with the program and the university. In other words, if this was done on non university property, and done not utilizing university resources, it is non issue.

The issue is solely this – did this CIO organization reimburse the university for use of the space. Records must exist that verify to reservations for the room(s), the charge, and whether or not the university was reimbursed. Fitsnews can simply request these records from the university to determine if university employees received an unfair benefit – ie free use of university resources that others would have to pay for. Routh is listed as director – surely he must have signed an agreement with the university to reserve the rooms. If he compensated the university at the regular rate then this is no issue.

The university has extensive policies on facilities use:

http://www.uscupstate.edu/uploadedFiles/Faculty_and_Staff/Policies_and_Procedures/facilities.pdf

If Routh did not compensate the university, then his employment with the state should be at issue, as well as his supervisors. End of this part of the story.

Invictus University – the other part of the story. How is Routh allowed to continue his employment considering this direct conflict of interest with the university? And, why would any institution continue to employ an individual so lacking in the understanding of securities and market forces – advertising publicly that Invictus would return $100 million on a $1 million investment in just 5 years, and in the same 5 years would have 1,000,00 students. Surely there must be some avenue to remove such incompetence from our classrooms.

Reply
Chuckles the Vice Clown March 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

bunch of nothing about nothing. move on. this is nothing. nothing to it. nada. no problemo existo. clean. wiped free. spotless. no spots. spot free. blank. not an issue. no issue. issue it isn’t.

Reply
Professor Smarty Pants August 10, 2014 at 6:05 pm

No more Chuckles!! Soon to be no more MOORE!!

Reply
Chuckles the Vice Clown March 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

bunch of nothing about nothing. move on. this is nothing. nothing to it. nada. no problemo existo. clean. wiped free. spotless. no spots. spot free. blank. not an issue. no issue. issue it isn’t.

Reply
Whammy Tailbigg March 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm

My job is easy. its not hard. easy to be hard. I like that song. Kid Rockie needs to cover it. yeh. I like that. easy. hard. easy. hard. Ric. Routh. Easy. Hard. Kid. Rockie. Milk. Shake. Yum. Yum. easy. hard. I did Bob. The builder. Bob. Builder. I did. easy. hard. Ding. Dong. Wicked. Witch. is. dead. ding. dong. easy. hard.

Reply
Tom Less March 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

Whats whup Whaaaammmmmyyyyy?

Reply
Whammy Tailbigg March 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

TTttttooooooommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!!!!!

Reply
Tom Less March 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

These are the conversations we need to have!!!

Reply
Whammy Tailbigg March 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm

My job is easy. its not hard. easy to be hard. I like that song. Kid Rockie needs to cover it. yeh. I like that. easy. hard. easy. hard. Ric. Routh. Easy. Hard. Kid. Rockie. Milk. Shake. Yum. Yum. easy. hard. I did Bob. The builder. Bob. Builder. I did. easy. hard. Ding. Dong. Wicked. Witch. is. dead. ding. dong. easy. hard.

Reply
Tom Less March 30, 2013 at 10:00 am

Whats whup Whaaaammmmmyyyyy?

Reply
Whammy Tailbigg March 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

TTttttooooooommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!!!!!

Reply
Tom Less March 30, 2013 at 10:51 am

These are the conversations we need to have!!!

Reply

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