CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Morgantown businessman John Raese's latest letter to West Virginia University came with a title Tuesday -- "The Biggest Fish Tale Ever Told" -- along with new accusations that WVU officials have tried to cover up mishandling a lucrative media rights contract.
Raese, whose radio company unsuccessfully bid on the multimillion-dollar contract, criticized WVU officials for making public statements and then later changing their stories about the media rights deal. He described their explanations as a "whopper."
"It's hard to put credibility in people's statements when they continue to say they misspoke while addressing the public," said Bob Gwynne, a lawyer for Raese-owned Greer Industries.
Last month, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a 24-page report that found WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and other university officials made "significant errors" while evaluating companies' proposals for WVU's third-tier media and sponsorship rights. But the attorney general concluded there was no "intentional wrongdoing."
In response, WVU announced it would re-bid the contract -- initially awarded to IMG College of Winston-Salem, N.C.
In his four-page letter Tuesday, Raese criticized WVU lawyer Bill Hutchens, who was quoted in a Morgantown newspaper saying the university's Board of Governors was informed about the "financial parameters" of the proposed media rights deal with IMG College -- valued at $110 million over 12 years.
A WVU spokeswoman later said Hutchens "misspoke" and only briefed board members in "general terms."
Morrisey's report doesn't mention Hutchens' statements, Raese said.
"Without his contradictory statements to the media and the public, at least one of which is a misrepresentation of fact, there would be no tale to be told," Raese said in his letter to WVU board members.