John and Vic Surma – Brothers’ Vendetta Accomplished


joe statue vigilJohn P Surma, current vice chair (seved as chair the night Paterno was fired) of the Penn State Board of Trustees, and his brother, Vic Surma, Sr, may have carried out a vendetta against Joe Paterno that started in 2007 and culminated in the firing of Paterno in November of 2011.

I have been reading all the information put forth in the Freeh Report and the Paterno Family Report trying to figure out the truth in how this despicable tragedy all came about. I also have been reading information from the investigations of the authors of “Framing of Joe Paterno.”

What I know now as fact is that the Vice President of the Board of Trustees and his brother (a former PSU football player) had a personal grudge against Joe Paterno since 2007, and vowed to “expose his (Paterno’s) fraud to the national media before he checks out.”

Victor Surma Sr is quoted by Sara Ganim as her source for the “attitude of former players.”  This information was also used in the Freeh Report, who relied on Ms Ganim’s accounting of events.

In 2002, Vic Surma, Sr is quoted in a book as saying, “Joe instilled in us how to win. He’s a special man, a special person. There’s nobody better in taking high school players and making them men.”

Vic Surma, Sr, ( a Pittsburgh Dentist) further writes in 2007 “The RAT (Paterno) has hurt so many young men, destroyed their self esteem, ruined their confidence, etc. I’m starting with a Pittsburgh reporter (Sara Ganim quoted in Freeh report) and hope to take his fraud national.” This is quite a change from 2002–what happened?

The person who started the implosion that put Penn State on the defensive and supported Tom Corbett‘s plan of distraction of firing Joe Paterno to take the heat off the Board of Trustees was John P Surma, younger brother of Victor Surma, Sr. and VP of the Board of Trustees.

John P Surma was responsible for the cancelling of the press conference Joe Paterno was holding to explain what he did, when, and why.

This cancellation fueled media speculation that the Board of Trustees would remove Paterno as head coach. Nothing could have had a greater impact on the public’s view of the guilt or innocence of Joe Paterno or Penn State.

We know that the attorney general used blatant lies “that Paterno was informed of a blatant sex act by McQueary–which we now know is false.

Vic Surma Sr was removed from the listserv board for former PSU football players because of his antipathy toward Paterno (demand of other players) in 2007.

According to one source, John P Surma, after cancelling Paterno’s press conference, made it clear that it was his intention to have Paterno fired so the board would finally show Joe who was “really in charge.”

Evidence shows that John P Surma’s antipathy toward Joe became obvious around 2007 after Vic Surma, Jr. left the team and Vic Sr went online to rant against Paterno.

Not long after Vic Surma, Sr started his online attack of Paterno, Tom Corbett began his “slow” investigation into Sandusky and John P Surma came to prominent power over the Trustees.

Vic Surma Jr was a walk on wideout receiver on PSU football team from 2003 thru 2005.

Vic Surma, Jr left the team in 2006, with some “personal problems.” The Surma family put this problem on Joe and never forgave him.

Joe and the Surma family never talked again after Vic, Jr. left the team.

Did Vic Surma, Sr and his brother’s (John) anger over at Vic Surma Jr’s lifestyle choices, and their blaming Joe Paterno lead to the actions of John P Surma in November 2011? If the prejudice and anger shown by Vic Sr and John P coincide with something of this nature it is Joe Paterno and Penn State that are paying the price for a private family matter .

Vic Sr writes, “You know what kind of people we are dealing with. We’ve all played for him–the biggest fraud of the college football world. To expect Paterno and his gang to help is a dream…..try to get blood out of a stone. Good luck.” Obviously, he is angry that Vic Jr or the Surma family has not received some sort of assistance. After his glowing remarks of Paterno in a book in 2002?

No less than seven sources including arrest records indicate there were lifestyle and drug problems for Victor, Jr.

Conflict of interest abounds in the handling of the Sandusky Scandal at Penn State.

There was a failure to disclose the following:

Freeh report’s client was the Board of Trustees, not Penn State, and therefore had a duty to act in the best interests of the board of trustees.

A substantial portion of the investigation was to law firm Pepper Hamilton, LLP, who had a direct relationship with individual members of the board of trustees.

In August 2012 FSS (Freeh) had been acquired by Pepper Hamilton.

Failure to report on written threat by the brother of Trustee Chair John P Surma to publicly disgrace Mr Paterno.

It is time to pull all the pieces together and put the blame firmly where it belongs–on Jerry Sandusky as a “nice guy” pedophile who is serving essentially a life sentence in prison, and to repair the broken board of trustee system that currently runs Penn State. There clearly were conflicts of interest here, including relationships between Louis Freeh, the Second Mile, and individual members of the Board of Trustees.

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5 comments on “John and Vic Surma – Brothers’ Vendetta Accomplished

  1. Thank you for this well written and intelligent article. It’s the first thing I have read that reeks of the truth since this whole sordid affair started.

  2. This is the truth. Vic Surma,Sr. was my fraternity brother and I was the rush chairman that invited Vic to our house for dinner in 1967. Jack Ham, who I also invited for dinner a couple days after I had invited Vic, told me (in confidence) that Joe had a meeting with all the freshmen that morning and talked about them joining fraternities. Joe said the only fraternity he hoped they wouldn’t join was Delta Upsilon. I immediately called Joe, informing him of “the rumor” and then invited him to our house to meet my brothers. Joe not only accepted my invitation but said how about tonight. I said find and offered to have someone pick him up. Joe said, “No, I know where your at so just tell me when to be their.” I guess Joe thought we wouldn’t have time to prepare for what was most likely the only time Joe Paterno had ever gone to dinner (during the week) at a fraternity house. What Joe didn’t realize is we always had semi formal dinners where everyone was required to wear a sports coat and the pledges waited on tables. Joe gave a speech after dinner saying he was misunderstood by the freshmen and didn’t want all the players joining one frat but mabe 2 or 3 in any one house. Vic and another player where the only players I got from that class. About 6 years later when I returned for a football game and went to the fraternity after Joe walked in the door behind me. Shocked, I asked him why he was their at which time he introduced me to the President of our house who was also the center and captain of his team. Joe asked me if he could speak to me in private. Joe then told me if I had remembered that night and told me that the reason he had told the players he didn’t want them to join our house is because Joe believed our fraternity adviser was a bad influence on young men and I also invited him that same evening. Joe said, “I have to be honest and tell you that it was maybe the best evening I ever had at Penn State and what I should have done is called you back to say if you got rid of Ben Amato (our adviser) he wouldn’t care if the whole team joined us.” Joe then asked for my forgiveness for which I said of course but I realized that had both of us not been at the house at that same time I would have never received the apology. It may have been irrelvent back then but when I saw John Surma was the man who fired Joe, the very first thing I thought about was, “I wonder if John was related to Vic.” Vic Surma, Sr. thought the world of Joe when we were in college. This of course changed with the life style of Vic Surma, Jr and Vic had to have decided to take his frustrations out on Joe. I’m 100% convinced that Joe’s firing by Vic’s younger brother was a “vendetta accomplished”. Sandy Paul, Marietta, GA

  3. I knew Ben Amato and his family growing up in Park Forest Village just down the street from the Amato home on North Oak Lane. I used to babysit for Ben’s kids for years and Ben and the Amato family are great people. Ben never treated me with anything but respect, kindness and as a good friend to the family. I am disappointed that any characterization of Ben Amato in this story would be done in any negative context. The Ben Amato I know and knew is an honorable family man and was a recognized person of decency and honor in State College.

  4. Doug,

    Thank you for responding. This post is not about my friend, Ben Amoto but believe me it’s so refreshing to know some facts I wrote concerning the very “key” ingredients which ultimately led to the firing of Coach Paterno and then the subsequent domino affect it had on bringing down our university was at least read by one person. There is no doubt in my mind that my fraterniy brother Vic Surma, Sr., his younger brother, John and Vic Surma, Jr. are the people who should be fully investigated and then forever exposed to all the media so Joe Paterno and his many wonderful accomplishments can be restored. As for my friend, Ben Amoto, I have and always will have the utmost respect for Mr. Amoto and if I didn’t then do you really believe I would have invited Ben to dinner the same night I invited Joe? I was just reporting “facts” about what occurred and if Ben is still alive and his memory is still good I’m sure he would testify at being with me, Joe, Vic, and my brothers that evening. Just because Joe Paterno had a bad impression of Ben Amoto should not be viewed as being “negative”. Just like the Surma’s had a vendetta leading to the firing of Coach Paterno I believe (for whatever reason or reasons) Joe Paterno had a vendetta against Ben Amoto which Joe had taken out (unfairly) on me and our fraternity. As for Ben Amoto, I cannot say enough great things to express my gratitude for his accomplishments. Ben became a health teacher at my high school (Westmont) in Johnstown when I was in the 8th grade. On his own time, after school hours, Ben decided to teach a couple dozen or more of us the sport of wrestling. Since I went to Valley Forge Military Academy for my freshman and sophmore years, I wasn’t aware of when Ben left Johnstown to teach at Penn State but when I returned for my junior and senior years Ben was gone but I did join our wrestling team. As a result of Mr. Amoto the sport of wrestling had become a regular sport at Westmont in the 60’s and Westmont still has wrestling today. If Joe had called me in 1967 like he said he should have done, I not only would have informed Ben as well as my brothers about Joe’s attitude towards Ben but I would have defended the reputation of Mr. Amoto and told Joe how wrong he was to have this prejudice towards Mr. Amoto. We had many great people who were brothers at Delta Upsilon like Hugh Rodham (Hillary Clinton’s father) and Joe Paterno’s last offensive coordinator, Galen Hall but I cannot think of anyone who did more for Delta Upsilon than Ben Amoto. If you can, please say hello to Ben for me and I would appreciate if he too got involved in restoring Penn States reputation. I know Ben Amoto and even though Joe may have not like him, I’m certain Ben would forgive Joe and not have a vendetta himself. Thank you, Sir!
    Sandy paul

  5. Vic Surma, Jr passed away 1/26/14 and his parents tried to keep this silent. However, it was finally reported at the end of March. I hope the people who began investigating the “Surma Vendetta” will still pursue the Surma brother’s vendetta and hopefully someday soon we can punish the 2 brothers for bringing down Joe Paterno and Penn State.

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