Thursday, November 29, 2007

Muckraker Extraordinaire

Ooh, the Houston Press writer Chris Vogel really hopped on this story, and it's a juicy one! From violence to cronyism, threats and armed guards to fake corporations and the FBI, this 7 pager is a good read...

"Someone had dumped university payroll records inside the truck, complete with names, university ID numbers that consisted of employees' social security numbers, and salaries. The students took the records back to Hudson's apartment and began poring over the documents."

"Ultimately, Slade was indicted for allegedly spending more than $500,000 of university money on a lavish personal lifestyle. Among other items, prosecutors accuse Slade of purchasing a $9,000 sleigh bed, an almost $5,000 mattress set and $4,000 in silk bedding, a $50,000 security system with a panic room inside her million-dollar home in Memorial Park, an approximately $100,000 bar tab at Scott Gertner's Skybar and Grille, spa treatments, and a 25-place dinner set from Neiman Marcus worth nearly $40,000."

""At that point, I just looked at Justin and thought, 'Man, those are big balls.' I was even scared for him at that point. I was thinking, 'You are about to get slapped in here.' I started panicking and I was like, 'Tell her what needs to be done on campus.' And Justin goes, 'Nah, resign and leave, that's what you can do.' And he held his ground. Then he said, 'Thank you for your time,' got up out of his chair and walked out.""

"Hudson and Jordan's arrests were what Jordan calls "just the wake-up call we needed to start getting smart." The trumped-up criminal charges scared the three students, and they knew they had to get what they felt was really happening at the university on the record. So, Brown and Jordan started tape-recording their phone conversations with TSU officials."

"How did Slade truly get busted?" says Brown. "Well, there was a regent who was a supporter of ours and was feeding us information. That regent told us about the conversation Griffin had with Slade and about the emergency meeting the board called together one night to discuss it. We then told the DA, and the media never would have known if guess who hadn't of called them. That's right, it was us."

The John Biggers mural Nubia, Origin of Business and Commerce, completed in 1999, was inspired by Priscilla Slade, and in an unwholesome twist the artist's beloved animals (which feature prominently in other works) are reduced to gold figures used to weigh monies...