I dashed off an e-mail to Solomon, with copies to Sports Editor Tom Arenberg and Editor Tom Scarritt. The header on my e-mail was "Jerry Sandusky and Paul Bryant Jr." Here is how it read:
I read with great interest your article today about the Penn State situation and Joe Paterno's failure to act on reports of criminal activity. You state that Paterno "had to go immediately" because of a "massive failure of moral leadership" at PSU. This all comes, you state, because Paterno and other Penn State leaders failed to act on reports of criminal actions involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky
Your piece raises this question: Does The Birmingham News act on reports it receives of criminal acts? What kind of moral leadership does The Birmingham News possess?
For example, I know that Paul Bryant Jr., president pro tempore of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees, was implicated in a $15 million insurance fraud scheme several years ago. This doesn't involve any great reporting on my part. Documents are available on the Web that prove the involvement of Alabama Reassurance, one of Bryant's companies, in a scheme that netted a 15-year federal prison sentence for a Pennsylvania lawyer/entrepreneur named Allen W. Stewart.
In fact, I provide the key document, highlighting pertinent portions, in the following post at my blog, Legal Schnauzer:- Advertisement -
The post also includes information about a probable cover-up of Bryant's activities by officials with the U.S. Justice Department in the Northern District of Alabama.
Penn State officials apparently could not grasp the notion that Jerry Sandusky, a "leader of men," could be molesting boys--and you blast them for their moral failings. But can you and officials at The Birmingham News grasp this? Paul Bryant Jr. has documented ties to massive insurance fraud, and yet he sits as president of a board that makes decisions about millions of Alabama taxpayer dollars.
And remember, these are not just allegations. A federal jury in Philadelphia voted guilty on all 135 counts in the Stewart case, and Bryant's firm clearly was involved in a "wire fraud scheme" to "inflate the values" of various insurance companies. Many Americans wound up with worthless policies, as a result.
My question is this: Will The Birmingham News act on reports of criminal activity that it receives--on actions taking place right under your nose?
You are saying that someone should have brought attention to the wrongful acts of Jerry Sandusky? And I can't argue with that. But what about the wrongful acts of Paul Bryant Jr.? Are you going to sit on your hands about those? Are you going to exhibit the very behavior for which you batter Joe Paterno and others at Penn State?
I have no problem with anyone pointing out the failings of Penn State officials in the Jerry Sandusky case. Numerous commentators have pointed to Penn State's "insular culture" as a likely reason for the university's poor response to the Sandusky allegations. And they almost surely are right.