The piece of journalism everyone in Ohio is talking about that doesn't have to do with a woman accidentally marrying her father (you know you clicked on that one, don't lie) is courtesy of the Dayton Daily News. The paper pried a bunch of public records from OSU that showed President Gordon Gee has expensive taste in . . . well, just about everything.
Since Gee grabbed the top job at the school in 2007, he's pulled down about $8.6 million for the effort; according to the paper, in that same time period he's racked up $7.7 million in expenses. Obviously, with those types of numbers, we're not talking about the occasional Moons Over My Hammy or a night at the Howard Johnson off I-76. Although those costs aren't fronted by taxpayers, they are hitching up some eyebrows, what with Gee already in the books as the highest paid head of a public university in the country.
Some of the perks Gee is able to pass off to the school seem pretty reasonable for a guy with such a large job. Is this one really any surprise?
His contract and university policy provide him with up to $20,000 a year in financial planning and tax preparation, a car for business and personal use, a fully staffed residence, and authority to charge to the university the cost of business breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
And sure, Gee probably has to throw the occasional fundraiser at his residence.
The Daily News investigation found the university spent more than $895,000 for gatherings at the Pizzuti House, the president’s mansion, between April 2008 and June 2011. That works out to be about $23,000 a month — a little less than the average cost of a wedding.
Wow . . . okay, almost a cold mil on parties . . alright, so Gordon Gee like to ball. A little excessive sure, but we'll give him that one. On the road, we're sure he's more economical.
The Daily News investigation found that Gee often stays at modest hotels such as Courtyard and Holiday Inn Express when traveling in-state.
See? . . . oh, wait . . .
But his out-of-state travel receipts shows he often bills the university for more expensive accommodations: Le Meridien Bristol in Warsaw, The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal, Hotel George and the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C., and the Warwick in New York.
Gee, for example, billed his American Express card $905 for two nights at the Four Seasons in Washington after traveling there for meetings in April 2011. A similar trip in April 2009 cost the university $1,257 for three nights at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Uh . . .
The university picks up the tab for thousands of dollars for flowers Gee sends to politicians and staff members, annual airline club memberships for the president to work in quiet when he travels, and concert, basketball and football tickets that he can use as he sees fit.
Uh . . .
The university spends tens of thousands of dollars alone branding Gee around his signature bow ties. Since 2007, Ohio State has spent more than $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and O-H and bow tie pins for Gee and others to distribute, the newspaper found.
That's where you've got to draw the line — if you're going to go around as Bow Tie Guy, you've got to fund that brand management with your own pocketbook.