Rutgers whistleblower willing to settle
by Jerry Carino, USA TODAY Sports
New Jersey Press Media has obtained a December letter sent by the law firm representing Eric Murdock to a lawyer representing Rutgers University that offers to settle Murdock’s employment dispute with Rutgers for $950,000.
The letter sheds significant light on the dispute between Murdock and Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice that boiled over onto the national stage Tuesday, when Murdock’s video montage showing Rice’s conduct aired on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
The letter, dated Dec. 27, outlines Murdock’s claim that he was wrongfully terminated as Rice’s director of player development, makes reference to a “damning video” presented in person Nov. 26 and concludes, “We are willing to give your clients until the close of business day Friday, January 4, 2013 to address final resolution of this matter. Otherwise, we have already prepared a Complaint and will file a suit without further notice. To resolve these claims for damages inclusive of attorney fees and costs, Mr. Murdock is willing to accept $950,000.00.”
No resolution was reached, and when the video surfaced on ESPN on Tuesday, it touched off a national firestorm that resulted in Rice’s firing and threatens the employment status of Athletics Director Tim Pernetti.
And because Rice finished the season, he gets an extra $100,000. As well, several Rutgers faculty have called for the resignation of school President Robert Barchi.
Efforts to speak with Murdock’s attorney, Raj Gadhok, were unsuccessful.
The letter is signed by Barry A. Kozyra, a partner in Gadhok’s firm, Kozyra & Hartz LLC. It is directed to John K. Bennett of Jackson Lewis LLP in Morristown.
It opens with a reference to the inclusion of “audio recordings of telephone conversations involving Mr. Murdock, Mr. Rice and Mr. Pernetti which took place in June 2012.” It continues, “Please note that each of the subject telephone conversations took place before adverse employment action was taken against Mr. Murdock” and that, “Mr. Murdock’s report of the inappropriate conduct of Mr. Rice is referenced in both conversations.”
New Jersey Press Media did not obtain the referenced audio recordings.
Sources at Rutgers with intimate knowledge of the events dispute the time line and claim those conversations took place … [For more on Whistleblower was willing to settle dispute with Rutgers, click here.]