Monday, November 24, 2008


For those who thought that nothing left in the case could shock them, guess again.

The Charlotte Observer revealed that Board of Trustees chairman Bob Steel has become a . . . movie investor. (Steel, of course, has additional time on his hands, having presided over the collapse of Wachovia.)

That’s the same Bob Steel who:

  • privately claimed that something “terrible, terrible” happened in the lacrosse captains’ house;
  • misled other trustees into believing that the administration had stayed in close contact with the families of the three falsely accused players;
  • said that the Trustees had approved of Richard Brodhead’s “principles that he established and the actions he took,” including the president’s indefensible statement that a trial would allow “our students to be proved innocent.”

According to financial disclosure forms required from Steel’s tenure at the Treasury Department, Steel invested between $1 million and $5 million in a movie based on a book penned by a Duke faculty member.

The faculty member? Tim Tyson.

That’s the same Tim Tyson who:

  • in seeming violation of the Faculty Handbook, participatedas a teacher” in a “candlelight vigil” outside the lacrosse captains’ house;
  • suggested that that Duke students refusing to speak to Sgt. Mark Gottlieb without presence of their attorneys “may be illegal”;
  • wildly claimed that Duke students embodied “the spirit of the lynch mob”;
  • blamed society for Crystal Mangum’s conduct.

And then, when the case upon which he had based his calumnies utterly collapsed, Tyson proclaimed that he would “stand by” everything he said, and that he had articulated a “reasonably thoughtful stance(!!)” on the case.

That’s the faculty member whose work product has benefited from a huge investment the chairman of the Duke BOT?

Will we next hear that Steel has doubled down, and donated to the Mike Nifong legal defense fund?


Anonymous said...

This may point to the root of the problem. When you read the incredibly outlandish "real" facts of so many of people involved this case, then some of the "made up facts" don't necessarily seem so implausible.

Debrah said...

Does this verbal maze begin to provide a fuller explanation for the Gang of 88 mentality?

W.E.B. Dubois preached and advocated that blacks should pursue a classical and/or Liberal Arts education, as opposed to Booker T. Washington espousing technical training. Dubois model was geared towards sending 10% of the black population to the universities and colleges of higher learning with an objective of attaining liberal arts education and coming back to the black community and help to elevate the race. Dubois and historians called this theory the “Talented Tenth” theory (Reference: W.E.B. Dubois “The Souls of Black Folk”).

People like Timothy Tyson reference this book and others ad nauseum, but those times are long gone.

The so-called "talented tenth" in the academy today consists of pseudo intellectuals whose verbal and writings skills are similar to Knight's.

Could this advice from Dubois in the early 20th century have really planted the seed for the prolific Gang of 88 presence in today's academy?

That, coupled with "diversity's" double standards in admissions and hiring have created a monster as we have witnessed at Duke.

Anonymous said...

Is Steel a Communist?

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Wow. Bob Steel endows Tim Tyson. Hard to find better evidence of the interconnected corruption between the Duke BOT and the G88 faculty. Oh, sorry, I suppose that Steel could have just coldly projected that a Tyson movie so fits the temper of the times that it'll make him the piles of money that his Wachovia tenure didn't manage.

But if it aint corruption, it sure looks like cronyism.

Anonymous said...

First, is there a college professor in America with a better Research Assistant than the Divah?

Second, I think you could've added another bullet point under Tyson:

* was caught lying about the prosecutors and jurors in the Daryl Hunt case.

I think this should be added not because I happened to be the one who "caught him", but because I can think of no more spot-on point to make about Tyson's movie: If he will lie about the participants and jurors of one racially-charged trial, how can he be trusted for the truth about another?


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Is Steel a Communist?

11/24/08 10:59 AM

He's certainly a member of the nomenklatura, and given his participation of the recent government seizure of the U.S. financial system and his new alliance with Tim Tyson, I think a negative answer to your question would be difficult to defend.


Anonymous said...

Please, K.C., tell us that this is a gag, that it is not happening! Please!

How is it that through all this nonsense, you STILL have not been driven to drink?!? (Of course, there is some funny Kool-Aid that seems to be making the rounds in Durham. Obviously, Steel, Tyson, and a lot of others there have been drinking it.)

2008 GOALS said...

Steel's making an art out of having conflicts of interest.


Anonymous said...

Why would anyone invest upwards of $5 million in a movie starring Rick Schroder ? I guess if you live in Durham-in-Wonderland anything is possible... This is destined to be another of Steel's monumental failures - as if Wachovia wasn't enough.

Anonymous said...

Typically, investing in a movie is like investing in a race horse or a Broadway show - somehow it caters to the mid-life crisis of the investor, or maybe more. An op to rub shoulders with those sexy starlets (or stars). Cheers, JOHN

Anonymous said...

Just when one thinks that things could not get any curiouser - along comes this latest piece of information. I guess that Big Bib's excuse will be that he was so busy "saving Wachovia" that he did not have time to see where his own money was being invested.
Where is the Duke BOT? Where are those faculty members who are not infected with the Gang of 88 mentality?

Debrah said...

"An op to rub shoulders with those sexy starlets (or stars)."

If you know any of these people besides the very "B" actor Rick Schroder, let me know.

Oh, Timothy Tyson and the has-been Jeb Stuart will be on the set.

Perhaps Steel wants to join Tyson in showing the world how much he really, really "loves black people". Really!

Tyson has even pulled John Hope Franklin out of his greenhouse of orchids to play an elderly man who shows someone how to get a mule onto the back of a wagon.

Exciting and riveting stuff.

Debrah said...

Take a glance at this website.

Go past the coverage of Tyson and down the page. You will see that Brodhead and Steel were on the Board of Trustees together for this National Humanities Center.

It's all so incestuous. If you read some of the names, it's a Who's Who of political correctness.

Can't believe that Tyson has been pushing his little book since 2005.

Again, the Duke Lacrosse Hoax in the Spring of 2006 must have excited this group of professional PC gropers beyond measure.

Gary Packwood said...

I suspect by supporting this movie, Bob Steele is laying the ground work for regional partnership efforts that is discussed in Chapter 6 of the Duke Strategic Plan.

One way or another Mr. Steele is going to retire as a recognized good guy with respect to that Strategic Plan.

Since eradicating racism didn't 'fly' in 2006, the powers that be will run historic racism in the 1970's up the flag pole.

One way or another Duke is going to be known as the LEAD educational partner that bring an end to racism in North Carolina. Zero Based Tolerance for Racism or perhaps The Final racism... with the help of Chairman Steele.

I suggest Duke undergraduate students counter this grand standing with another environmental initiative (is absolutely everything an initiative these days?) and promote ..."Fish, and plankton, and sea greens and protein from the sea".

Making A Difference:
The Strategic Plan for Duke University

Anonymous said...

.... way better investment than Wachovia stock.

Anonymous said...

"It's all so incestuous."


Brodhead and Steel were also affiliated the Preservation Durham Group, which works to preserve and restore historic places. That board includes on its Board of Directors such personages as ELLEN DAGENHART, Alice Sharpe, CYNTHIA BRODHEAD, and Farad Ali.

Specially recognized members (The George Watts Hill Leadership Circle 2007-2008), which is made up of those who have donated $1000 or more, include

CYNTHIA and RICHARD BRODHEAD, ROBERT K. STEEL, BARKER FRENCH, THOMAS KENAN III (Kenan Institute of Ethics--brother of founder, and trustee of the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation) and Keith & Brenda Brodie (large contributors to Duke). . .

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember this story? I know it doesn't fit the narrative, but i'm sure that the second accusation of rape here will certainly bring out the pot bangers. shhh, do hear someone calling for castration?

This is truely amazing.

Anonymous said...

I do know a few good and decent people that live in Durham.. How they have managed to survive the stench that exists there is really amazing.
For years I have admired the work done at DUMC though they havfe, at times, had problems of their own. At present, I am wondering how I could have believed that good things could have gone on at Duke. I've never been a fan of their athletics but did at one time believe that Coach K was an honorable man. I realized through this fiasco that he was no better than many of the rest. He was not vocal and I can only assume it was because he supported those who wrote his fat paycheck not the athletes nor his colleague in the athletic department. Then again, it could have been because his basketball players were the role models for the "party" and he didn't need the adverse publicity.
The cesspool deepens and widens with each tidbit of knowledge. It would appear that we would be luccky to find one tenth of the population of Durham with high morals and any scruples. The 88'ers are only the tip of hte iceberg. Sadly, they are the exposed part of the frozen cesspool. The more we dig, the worse the stench.
Alas, another day in Wonderland.

Debrah said...

Another odd website which was brought to my attention.

In a post down the page Timothy Tyson says that society is "traumatized' by race.


And it is charlatans like Tyson who do the staging, write the repetitive scripts, exaggerate, and harm other people with falsehoods and hyperbole in order to deliberately create the "trauma".

This man who is supported and funded by Robert Steel is a menace to society.

Anonymous said...

actually, to remind readers of the blog...steel is a big does that fit into the narrative?

Debrah said...

Duke sues its insurer.


Anonymous said...


Obviously, Steel had the means and oportunity to do great harm -- all that was required was impure motive. This speaks to motive.

Here, you have someone who has made many millions from political connections. Many of these gains have been ill-gotten and come at the expense of society.

This sort of thing is not driven by ideology, a desire to be involved in a movie, or the expectation that a profit will result. It is payback, pure and simple, another form of campaign contribution.

Produce some agitprop that will help to generate votes -- trade favors and money for political power. This also undergirds much of the bias in the press. There is a reason much of the press acts like a full-time *paid* political ad -- because it is.

So, in a very real sense, students at Duke were *sold* down the river, so to speak. This also helps to explain why someone like Gorelick is involved in this affair.

For me, the biggest thing in this long, sorrid mess has been how it has revealed a great many things about many individuals, groups, and acts.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the problem is with Steel investing in this movie. From the book reviews I have read it was generally given high marks and was an award winner. The fact that it is filmed in NC is another plus. I can see why people here are upset with Tyson and Steel in relation to the Duke Lacrosse case but that does not make them wrong about the events depicted in this case. Sometimes it is not good to look at everything from the perspective of the Duke Lacrosse case. I am curious if any of you have read this book and would attempt a review of it without the bias of a dislike of Tyson and Steel.

Anonymous said...

KC, You must be vacationing. Did you miss the Durham Herald Sun's article about Duke's suit(s) against its multiple insurers because the insurers want to cap Duke's covered legal fees at $5 million and Duke is at $11 million and climbing. You'd think Jamie Gorelick would feel enough guilt for her previous large "awards".Bobby Steele continues his streak of successes at Wachovia. I guess he hopes to recoup his losses via Timmy Tyson's movie.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Just another liberal laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Amazon is selling Last Dance. Its Sales Rank: #201,567. Discounted new copies go for $17 or so. One enterprising reseller is offering a like new "used" copy for close to $40, if you count in the shipping fee.
May be that most potential buyers are savvy to the situation and aren't biting. JOHN

Anonymous said...

Are there any surviving members of the Duke family to pay the costly legal bill and settlement? Those Duke family knows how to make cancer causing nicotine addictive drugs and became rich!!!

One Spook said...

Rose Montague writes @ 6:49 AM

I can see why people here are upset with Tyson and Steel in relation to the Duke Lacrosse case but that does not make them wrong about the events depicted in this case. Sometimes it is not good to look at everything from the perspective of the Duke Lacrosse case.

I meant to reply to this comment earlier because I felt it was a most thoughtful reply.

My sense is that people are not upset by Steel's financial support of Tyson based on the merits of the events depicted in Tyson's book or even the quality of the work.

Rather, it is Tyson's behavior in the lacrosse case which was in many ways similar to the behavior of the antagonists in his novel --- like them, Tyson attempted to become judge, jury, and potential executioner of the lacrosse players by his actions.

Tyson joined with others who, among other things, presumed the guilt of the players; ignored their civil rights; questioned their fundamental right to counsel; and attempted to blame society for the clearly illegal behavior of the false accuser.

Why Steel would choose to lend financial support to an indivudual as craven and unprofessional as Tyson whose nefarious activities seem to have violated the Duke Faculty handbook appears to many of us as reprehensible at worst or driven by unprincipled avarice at best.

In short, to paraphrase the words of the immoral Bill Clinton, "It's the hypocrisy, stupid!"

One Spook

Anonymous said...

One Spook,

I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I do believe that the hypocrisy works both ways, however. Both cases show failures with our system of justice. You are saying that the majority here are upset because Steel is supporting a project about such an injustice while the author and Steel allegedly appear to have contributed or somehow sanctioned injustices in the Lacrosse case. I understand the feeling here of the importance of the Lacrosse case, yet I can't help but feel that the case Tyson explores is important as well. For the Lacrosse supporters to treat it with disdain shows the same hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Debrah said at 10:34 AM, 11/25/08...
Another odd website which was brought to my attention.

In a post down the page Timothy Tyson says that society is "traumatized' by race.

I saw this site about Tyson's book -- soon to be a major motion picture! -- "Blood Done Sign My Name". I notice that the accused, their friends, and families have begun fighting back, with a site entitled provocatively enough "". Perhaps just because of my legal training, one of the first things to jump out at me is that Tyson's comment shows that he doesn't know the difference between a "profanity" and an "obscenity". This was all the more striking because the anti-Tyson author, while clearly not the most educated person in the world, does know the difference. I guess that is just more evidence of the quality of university professors nowadays.

However, the most eye-popping part of the anti-Tyson site is a purported contract in Tyson's own handwriting -- and signed by him -- wherein he agrees to act as attorney for the family he later damned! Tyson went to law school, who knew?!?


One Spook said...

Rose Montague writes @ 10:23 AM

"I understand the feeling here of the importance of the Lacrosse case, yet I can't help but feel that the case Tyson explores is important as well. For the Lacrosse supporters to treat it with disdain shows the same hypocrisy.

I do not believe you understood my reply and that is perhaps my fault.

I do not believe anyone here is treating the case Tyson explores in his book "with disdain" as you put it. As I wrote, "people are not upset by Steel's financial support of Tyson based on the merits of the events depicted in Tyson's book or even the quality of the work."

My point is that the actions of Tyson with respect to the accused in the lacrosse case parallels the actions of those in his book who sought to deny the rights of the man they were charged with murdering.

While Tyson's actions did not rise to the level of murder, he clearly presumed the guilt of the students charged with crimes. He also participated in activities that were contrary to the rules for professors as outlined in the Duke Faculty Handbook. He further made statements that supported a denial of the students' rights to legal counsel.

In short, Tyson's behavior in the lacrosse case was similar to the behavior of the antagonists he condemns in his book.

Tyson is a hypocrite of the first order.

Put yet another way, would you be happy if Bob Steel funded a movie about violating a person's civil rights written by the antagonists in Tyson's book?

I think not.

One Spook

Anonymous said...

One Spook,
I accept that you at least see my point about separating the merits of Tyson's book and the worthiness of Steel's investment in it from the Lacrosse case. However your final analogy is just as silly as KC's parting shot about next we may see Steel donating to Nifong's defense fund.

I have not posted here very often so I will take your word on the fact that others here are capable of viewing Steel and Tyson from something other than the perspective of the Duke Lacrosse case. KC's post seems to boil down to Tyson and Steel are bad people because of the Lacrosse case so it is amazing that Steel put some money up for this movie. One bad guy helping another bad guy after both bad guys were mean to the good guys.

I just think that that is a very simplistic and unfair treatment of both Steel and Tyson in regard to this matter.

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 6.38:

Many thanks for your defenses of Chairman Steel's remarkable generosity; allow me to expand upon the post in reply.

1.) That a chairman of a university's board of trustees would give millions of dollars (it seems highly unlikely Tyson's film would make money, so Steel's money is far more likely to be a gift than an investment) to a work of an individual faculty member at his institution is extraordinary. I'm sure there are a handful of other examples (though I can't think of any), but such generosity is very, very rare.

There surely are many other professors at Duke worthy of the Board Chairman's stunning generosity. And yet Steel chose to bestow his millions upon Tyson--a figure whose conduct (on Steel's watch, no less) toward his own institution's students was appalling.

So we have in this instance not only the chairman of a University's Board of Trustees investing millions in the work of a faculty member--an all-but-unheard-of act--but choosing a faculty member whose conduct exhibited a willful disregard of the University's own policies and procedures regarding treatment of students. To borrow a colloquialism, that's quite a way to run a railroad.

2.) Having taken this extraordinary step, Duke, it seems, did everything it could to prevent people from knowing about Steel's act. The University issued no press release (even though universities, in general, like to trumpet any semblance of good news from any quarter), Steel issued no statement, Tyson (loquacious as he is) made no public thanks. We found out about the investment only because of a quirk--Steel had to file a federal reporting form. Why such silence? Could it be that Steel knew his "investment" couldn't be publicly defended?

One Spook said...

RoseMontague writes @ 6:38 PM:

"your final analogy is just as silly as KC's parting shot about next we may see Steel donating to Nifong's defense fund.

Silly? How so?

Here are a few "silly" upcoming movies Bob Steel might want to consider as sound investments:

"Birth Certificate Done Signed My Name" by Rev. Jesse Jackson: A compelling tale of a single unmarried female who is impregnated by her married, preacher/boss.

"Give My Daughter A Cigar" by Bill Clinton: A doting father's True Story of his daughter's experiences as a White House Intern.

"Protecting Your Office From Burglary" by Richard M. Nixon: A gripping instructive documentary based on the final manuscript of the only US President in history to resign from office.

Silly indeed.

One Spook

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