Former Athletics employee paid for silence concerning OU - The Oakland Post: Administration

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Former Athletics employee paid for silence concerning OU

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Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 4:56 pm | Updated: 11:18 pm, Tue Aug 26, 2014.

A former Oakland University Athletics employee said to have been paid to keep quiet.

The employee signed an “Administrative Professional Release and Separation Agreement” after deciding to step down.   

The source provided a copy of the document to The Post, on the condition of anonymity.

According to the document, the University paid the former employee more than $9,000, comprised of two month’s salary and unused vacation hours.

A nondisparagment clause outlined in the agreement bars the employee from talking either in public or private about the University, the Board of Trustees or employees in a way that would “reflect negatively on the image or the reputation of the University.”

The agreement also contained a confidentiality clause that forbids the employee to communicate or publish how much money the University paid out, except to attorneys, accountants, taxing authorities or in response to a subpoena or a Michigan Freedom of Information Act request.

It also stated the former employee could never apply for a position at Oakland University again.

Vice President of Finance, John Beaghan, signed the agreement.

A request for an interview with Beaghan was denied because of his “challenging” schedule.  

Beaghan did respond to an email query regarding employees being paid non-disclosure agreements, and how such agreements are funded.

“I am not aware of any such rumors,” Beaghan replied. “ There is no reporting requirement for ‘non-disclosure agreements.’ The University does not comment on personnel issues.”

Meeting

The former employee met with two Oakland Post reporters and confirmed accounts of Beckie Francis using manipulation and intimidation that other media outlets, including The Oakland Post,  had already reported.

In addition, the former employee said Francis had strict meal plans for her players when they were on the road. In one incident, Francis reportedly got angry at one of her players for buying candy.

The employee also said in Athletics meetings, if something Francis wanted for the women’s basketball program wasn’t allocated in the budget, then she would say that her husband, former President Gary Russi, could send money over from general University funds to cover them.

Both Francis and Russi could not be reached for comment.

The ex-athletics employee said that it was well-known within the department what Francis was doing to her players, but no one would speak up for fear of losing their job.This sentiment was echoed in the Detroit Free Press’ coverage. According to former player Jenna Bachrouche, she told Tracy Huth that Francis was using religious intimidation, and Huth offered Bachrouche an apology. Bachrouche left in 2012.

Huth also didn’t volunteer this information to the Board of Trustees, according to former Board Chair Henry Baskin, who served from 1996-August 2012.

“During that time I was unaware of any allegations concerning Ms. Francis and the weight or religious discrimination that is alleged to have been perpetrated by her,” he said. “Indeed if any of these allegations have been brought to any member of the board, they would have been referred to the administration for direct action or reaction. The board, to my knowledge, was completely unaware of the issues which are now being reported concerning her actions as a basketball coach.”

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