Daily Kent Stater’s Doug Brown Reveals Administrative Cover-Up in $1 Million Donor Investigation

An article of mine focused on Daily Kent Stater reporter Doug Brown’s investigation into a scandal-soaked big-time donation saga has just gone up on College Media Review.  It includes a podcast chat with Brown.  Snippets of the article are included below, in hopes of enticing you to click and read the full feature.

Early last month, Daily Kenter Stater enterprise reporter Doug Brown reported on the past legal troubles of Jason Cope, an alumnus who was preparing to donate $1 million to the Kent State athletics program and have the school’s basketball court named after him.  Brown dove into the story after the paper’s web editor received an email from a stranger with a one-sentence tip: ”Google Jason Cope v SEC.”

What Brown discovered: A bit more than a decade ago, as branch manager of a financial firm, Cope had been part of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of close to $9 million.  He was found guilty of breaking federal securities laws that “involved fraud and deceit” and ordered with his co-defendants “to pay a total of more than $19 million in penalties.”

Brown, 23, is a final-year journalism master's student at Kent State University.

Brown’s investigation into this criminal activity prompted Cope to suddenly renege on the million-dollar gift.  Since his original piece’s publication, Brown has continued digging, determined to pinpoint who at Kent State knew about Cope’s past, how long it had been known, and if anyone concealed his criminal history while seeking approval for the donation and court naming.

His follow-up story, published Sunday, reveals that university trustees were not told by an athletics representative of Cope’s past and details how Kent State officials huddled together in crisis management mode after Brown began asking questions.

In an exclusive podcast interview timed to appear with his latest account, Brown talked to me about his ongoing reporting efforts, the attention and impact of his initial scoop, and the power of documents and recordings to provide needed information– especially when sources are refusing to speak.

To read my full College Media Review feature on Brown’s reporting efforts, click here or on the screenshot below.

Podcast Chat with Doug Brown

2 Responses to “Daily Kent Stater’s Doug Brown Reveals Administrative Cover-Up in $1 Million Donor Investigation”
  1. Tom Habanek says:

    Great piece of work. However it doesn’t surprise me. My personal problems with Kent State pertain to poor judgement on my part, lies by the university, and fraud, and that was from 1970’s. Seems life and greed just keeps on keeping on!

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