Ohio State president Gordon Gee's lavish spending includes $64K in bow ties

Monday September 24th, 2012

A newspaper probe spotlights Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee's spending. (Icon SMI)

A Dayton Daily News investigation into the spending by Ohio State University president E. Gordon Gee reveals an unusual line-item with a distinctive flair: his trademark bowties:

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.

The report lists Gee as "the highest paid CEO of a public university in the county," bringing in $8.6 million in salary and compensation -- but also generating $7.7 million in expenses/spending on the university's tab.

When he travels, Gee is bound by university policy, which says: “The President is expected to stay in accommodations similar to those used by executives of businesses and not-for-profit institutions; however, luxury hotels should be avoided.”

The Daily News investigation found that Gee often stays at modest hotels such as Courtyard and Holiday Inn Express when traveling in-state. 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's discretionary spending greatly exceeds his OSU predecessors but is more in line with similarly sized state universities such as the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan.

OSU officially stated that Gee's spending passes "rigorous standards" and review. Gee was cast into the college sports spotlight for his involvement and response to the NCAA's investigation into a pattern of violations under Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. OSU eventually severed ties with Tressel while Gee declared reports by Sports Illustrated and Sporting News to be "bad journalism." Gee later admitted that he needed to keep his mouth shut after creating controversy comparing TCU and Boise State to the "Little Sisters of the Poor" in regard to their then non-BCS standing.

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