Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


December 10, 2012

WHERE'S THE MONEY? Top Lon Morris officials were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars prior to bankruptcy proceedings, records show

Former LMC employees are outraged



Loretta Gallegos, a former provost,  received $63,125; Kent Willis, the former dean of students, received $44,873.21 and Scott Gilpin, the former vice president of advancement, received $36,458.31, records show.

In an adamant response, Kent Willis, former dean of students, vehemently denied receiving any payment, stating the last time he'd been paid by Lon Morris was during the winter of 2012.

"No, it's not true," he said. "I don't want to answer any questions about it and I just want to move on."

Attempts to contact the other two were largely unsuccessful, although a reporter was able to email questions to Gilpin through his Facebook account. There was no response.

The statement of financial affairs also indicates payments were made for bankruptcy services provided to the university between June and July. These were to Ragan's company Bridgepoint LLC, which received $204,391.12 and to two law firms, McKool Smith PC of Houston, $127,602.50 and Webb, $57,840.

McKool representative Hugh Ray III, LMC attorney and Webb representative Timothy Webb did not return emails seeking comment.

These bankruptcy dealings are upsetting many employees of the college, which was founded in 1854 and which has hosted such extraordinary students as Sandy Duncan, Tommy Tune and Alan Tudyk over the years.

All but a core group of employees were furloughed in May shortly after McCall resigned. A great many of those furloughed became upset upon learning recently that Ragan is angling for a $144,001 paycheck after a judge authorized a $150,000 loan for the university.

"So Dawn Ragan is trying to get paid before the former employees of Lon Morris get their monies?" asked Jason Thomas, a former LMC athletic trainer. "I understand she's doing a job, but the staff and faculty that was at Lon Morris for two to three months without pay did a job too. And we are still waiting for ours!"  

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