Investigation of leak could cost University of Minnesota

Published 8:31 am Friday, June 23, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — The investigation into a leak of confidential information about allegations of sexual harassment by a University of Minnesota athletic department employee could become costly to the school.

Documents released to The Associated Press this week as part of a public records request show Stroz Friedberg LLC has been hired to investigate last month’s leak of information to KSTP-TV. One document shows the company’s staffers charge varying rates starting at $110 an hour, with two managing directors who will likely be involved charging $860 an hour.

Another document shows that the firm of Don Lewis, an outside attorney retained to represent the university, will be paid at its usual rates with a 10 percent discount on fees, not to exceed $475 an hour.

The investigation into the leak is ongoing and there’s no update on how much has been spent so far. University spokesman Evan Lapiska said costs will be covered through a budget allocated for use of outside counsel.

The university’s Board of Regents launched the leak investigation last month after KSTP reported that a regent provided reporters with an email containing information about the sexual harassment allegation. Regents said they would hire outside experts to look at electronic communications of those with access to a confidential memo about the case. The board also called on its 12 members and university employees with access to the memo to sign affidavits stating they didn’t share information.

The regents have said the leak investigation is important for many reasons. Among them, they’ve said that if the confidentiality of those who report sexual allegations can’t be ensured, victims will be less likely to come forward.