Records released Tuesday revealed more information about LSU’s 2013 sexual harassment investigation into Les Miles, which spanned eight months and prompted hourslong meetings among LSU officials.
The records also included some information about settlement talks between Miles and a student who accused him of harassment, but LSU redacted those portions.
Unredacted versions obtained by this newspaper show the documents outline, if vaguely, settlement negotiations between attorneys for Miles and a student who accused him of harassment. For example, LSU redacted details of a July 5, 2013 meeting that pertained to the “status of discussions on settlement” and a July 16, 2013 email exchange about the “status of settlement papers.”
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The billing records show that LSU paid the Taylor Porter law firm around $80,000 for the sexual harassment investigation into Miles in 2013.
Taylor Porter’s work began on Feb. 28 of that year, with a "telephone conference" with LSU senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar over "potential HR issues."
On March 1, 2013, Taylor Porter attorneys Vicki Crochet and Bob Barton met with Segar and former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva over a complaint that had been filed against Miles. The next day, they met with Miles and attorney Ed Hardin about the complaint.
“We weren’t friends with Taylor Porter; we thought they were aggressive and intrusive in a lot of ways,” another attorney representing Miles, Peter Ginsberg, said in a recent interview. Ginsberg’s name often appears in the billing records as well.
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Early on in March, William Jenkins, then interim president of LSU, was also informed of the complaint, while the billing records show that the LSU Board of Supervisors received emails related to it.
Taylor Porter confirmed through an LSU spokesman, however, that references to the "board" in their billing records in fact refer only to the three board members who were involved in the investigation, not the entire 16-member board. Those former members are Hank Danos, Bobby Yarborough and Stanley Jacobs.
Jenkins previously told this newspaper that he did not remember the Miles allegations. While Danos, Yarborough and Jacobs were named in the Taylor Porter report as being among those who helped decide whether to fire Miles, the other former LSU board members from 2013 have not said publicly whether they were made aware of the investigation into Miles.
Within a week of the February phone call with Segar, Taylor Porter began meeting with the student who had filed the complaint and her father.
Barton and Crochet billed more than $1,000 apiece on March 5, when they interviewed the student and discussed it with Alleva and LSU’s former general counsel, Shelby McKenzie. They also reviewed Miles’ contract provisions that day.
Crochet also included a snippet of information on her March 5 billing record that said she had contacted former LSU Human Resources director A.G. Monaco. Monaco previously told this newspaper that Crochet called him in 2013 and asked that he help convince a professor to let a student retake a failed quiz after the student accused Miles of sexual harassment. Monaco said he reported the incident up the chain of command and refused to change the grade.
By March 8, Taylor Porter was discussing how to field any media inquiries the investigation might prompt. Taylor Porter conducted interviews throughout March, the records show.
And by April 10, Taylor Porter was preparing for a Board of Supervisors meeting. The next week, the firm reviewed "potential resolutions with Alleva." LSU's recent Husch Blackwell report states that on April 19, Alleva emailed Jenkins to recommend that Miles be fired "for cause" over the investigation.
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But that didn't happen. By the end of April, Taylor Porter billing records say the firm's lawyers were instead discussing "policies suggested by coach's counsel" and reviewing a draft report for the LSU Board of Supervisors related to Miles.
Crochet included in a May 2 billing record that she reviewed correspondence from Segar related to a “student grade” — potentially the issue Monaco brought up. Taylor Porter also finalized the draft in May and reported to the board that month.
USA Today filed a lawsuit this year to receive a copy of Taylor Porter’s investigation. The version LSU released after USA Today’s lawsuit is dated May 15, 2013. That document — which was also released with redactions — said a student accused Miles of kissing her twice, of “unwanted touching,” and of telling her he was attracted to her and that he wanted to go to a hotel or his condo with her. Miles denied all of those allegations and more broadly, any wrongdoing.
But even after Taylor Porter wrapped up that report, the firm continued to meet with the student's attorney, Miles' attorneys and other LSU officials. A June 5 billing entry describes Taylor Porter as meeting with Alleva, Segar, Jenkins and board members to discuss the status of the investigation.
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By June, LSU had also installed F. King Alexander as president. He’s referenced by name in the billing records for the first time on June 7, and Alexander previously said that he started at LSU at the tail end of the investigation.
On June 20, Taylor Porter created "revisions to letter agreement with coach" and met with Miles' attorney about "steps toward resolution."
The meetings continued into July.
Among the work that Taylor Porter billed the most for: a July 1 meeting in New Orleans with attorneys for both Miles and the family of the student who filed the complaint. The unredacted versions of the records say the meeting was to discuss “possible resolution.”
Barton billed $1,068 for 6.10 hours of work that day, while Crochet billed $1,050 for six hours.
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On July 2, they recorded a "meeting at LSU to update Dr. Alexander and board members" while Ginsberg made LSU a "new offer" on behalf of Miles.
And on July 12, the attorneys talked with Segar about a new policy for student workers — another issue LSU redacted from the billing records.
They continued to review terms in August over an agreement LSU made with Miles that he would go to counseling sessions over the sexual harassment allegations. Throughout August, Taylor Porter went back-and-forth with Miles’ attorneys over a “directive letter” to the coach.
By the end of August, Taylor Porter billing records say the firm was on "final revisions" to their directive to Miles and executing that agreement.
On Sept. 10, 2013, Miles signed off on an agreement that said he would stop texting and calling student employees and hiring them for personal work like babysitting. Miles also agreed at the time to attend eight, one-hour training sessions with an attorney who specialized in employment issues and workplace harassment. Ginsberg recently said those training sessions were only meant to teach Miles how to avoid situations where people could make “baseless allegations” against him.
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The Taylor Porter investigation into Miles wound down after he signed the agreement, though the records show that Taylor Porter billed for a few final matters in September and October, including more discussions with Miles' attorneys.
Miles, who was near the height of his popularity at the time of the previously unknown sexual harassment investigation, lost his job at LSU in 2016 amid a losing streak. He became head coach at the University of Kansas in 2018, but "parted ways" with Kansas a few weeks ago after the sexual harassment investigation from his LSU days became public.
LSU gave Segar a brief, unpaid suspension after the release of the Husch Blackwell report over her handling of other Title IX cases at LSU, including incidents involving former LSU star running back Derrius Guice.
Alexander has resigned from Oregon State University, where he became president less than a year ago after leaving LSU. The OSU board of trustees accepted Alexander’s resignation Tuesday.
Staff writer Brooks Kubena contributed to this report.