Morgantown businessman John Raese says West Virginia University should rebid its third tier media rights for failing to follow its own and state purchasing rules and regulations.
Raese tells WVU President Jim Clements in a letter dated Thursday the problems are “clear as mud.”
The university recently suspended its request for proposals process in granting of the rights, which includes the broadcasts of Mountaineer sporting events, to IMG College for what WVU’s attorney Bill Hutchens called Raese’s “complaint or protest.”
But Raese’s most recent letter says his concerns are much broader than the bid process and should be considered as such.
Raese also says that to show his concerns aren’t based on “sour grapes” his companies will not submit a bid if the current proposal process is canceled and rebid. West Virginia Radio did submit a bid in the process currently on hold.
Raese’s West Virginia Radio Corporation has distributed Mountaineer football and basketball broadcasts for decades. He has questioned the relationship between WVU Board of Governors Chairman Drew Payne, IMG College and West Virginia Media Holdings, believed to be part of the third tier deal. Payne was an original investor in West Virginia Media and recently said he still has about $500,000 in the company.
Raese asks Clements if he’s asked Payne to resign as BOG chairman. Raese says Payne’s “conduct, actions and statements” in connection with the controversy are “unacceptable” for someone in Payne’s position with the BOG.
Raese also tells WVU President Clements in the Thursday letter that he’s asked state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to investigate his public integrity concerns.
“My recollection is that he ran on a ‘public integrity’ platform this fall and has initiated a ‘public corruption unit.’ I’m not suggesting at this time that any public corruption took place here but it is obvious to all concerned that the purchasing process for this Proposal was not in compliance with either State or University purchasing rules and regulations. This needs to be looked into by the Attorney General,” Raese wrote.
Raese also makes several other requests of WVU. He wants to know information about the decision from university Athletic Director Oliver Luck to award the Bob Huggins TV show to WV Media. Raese says Huggins is also a WV Media investor. Raese also wants some answers about an athletic department loan from the WVU Foundation that was used to purchase scoreboards.
“I would ask you if State or University procedures, rules, or regulations were complied with in the acquisition of these scoreboards?” Raese asked Clements.