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.

PS4RS has identified the following substantial deficiencies in the Freeh Report

• Failure to disclose the fact that FSS’ client was the Board of Trustees, not the university, and, as such, FSS had a duty to act in the best interests of the board of trustees relative to the investigation and preparation of the Report;

• Failure to disclose that FSS sub-contracted a substantial portion of the investigation to the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, LLP, and to disclose the relationship between Pepper Hamilton and individual members of the board of trustees and their employers, including but not limited to Merck & Co., employer of Penn State Trustee Kenneth Frazier, Chairman of the Special Investigations Task Force;

• Failure to report the relationship between FSS and Pepper Hamilton, including August 2012 announcement that FSS had been acquired by Pepper Hamilton;

• Failure to consider inherent conflict of interest involving members of the board of trustees and Special Investigations Task Force in light of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s investigation of the 1998 Incident;

• Failure to report on written threat by the brother of an influential member of university board of trustees to publicly disgrace Joe Paterno as evidence of bias;

• Failure to follow basic investigative and reporting procedures for an internal investigation;

• Failure to interview nearly every critical witness to the 1998 and 2001 incidents before rendering the report;

• Failure to properly address the facts and circumstances associated with the investigation of the 1998 incident by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the Centre County Children and Youth Services, the State College Borough Police Department, and the Centre County District Attorney;

• Misstatement of facts and complete lack of evidence in support of conclusion that Dr. Graham Spanier and Messrs. Tim Curley, Paterno, and Gary Schultz concealed 1998 and 2001 Incidents;

• Failure to acknowledge that the university’s investigation of the 1998 incident with multiple child welfare and law enforcement authorities, while Sandusky was still employed by the university, weighed heavily against a conclusion that these individuals intentionally concealed the 2001 incident from authorities, when Sandusky was not employed by the University;

• Improper reliance of unauthenticated, incomplete, and out of context emails from 1998 and 2001;

• Misstatements of facts and unsupported conclusions regarding the knowledge of Paterno relative to the 1998 Incident;

• Failure to acknowledge that, within days of the 2001 incident, at least 13 individuals, many of whom were outside the university, had knowledge, in whole or in part, of the incident that Mike McQueary reported;

• Failure to acknowledge that there was not a single witness interviewed who stated that there was an intent to conceal the 2001 incident by anyone at the university;

• Failure to acknowledge that there was not a single document that indicated an intent to conceal the 2001 Incident by anyone at the University

• Failure to acknowledge that the decision by Curley to report the 2001 incident to The Second Mile was wholly inconsistent with the idea of an intentional concealment, as alleged in the report;

• Failure to consider the role of The Second Mile and failure of The Second Mile to act upon report of 2001 incident;

• Failure to address information, including testimony of Dr. Jonathan Dranov, which casts serious doubt on the credibility of Mike McQueary in connection with the 2001 incident;

• Failure to consider that McQueary’s statements to his father and  Dranov, immediately after the incident, were likely to have greater reliability than statements made over 10 years later;

• Failure to acknowledge the fact that all email records of the university prior to 2004 were unavailable as the result of a computer system change;

• Failure to consult a psychologist or other medical professional for assistance in seeking to interpret the acts of various individuals in response to allegations of improper actions by Sandusky;

• Failure to acknowledge that FSS made personal findings and credibility determinations of witnesses who FSS did not even interview; and

• Failure to identify who waived the attorney-client privilege and authorized Freeh to conduct a nationwide press conference announcing the ‘findings’ of the Report before presenting those findings to the university.