Thursday, April 28, 2011

[UPDATE] Dean James Thelen from Thomas M. Cooley Law School Responds With A Threatening Letter

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Dean James Thelen, Associate Dean for Legal Affairs and General Counsel at the Thomas M Cooley School of Law, sent me a threatening letter about an hour ago. At his request, I have posted his letter in its entirety. However, I refuse to take down my previous posts (and that is what he is demanding). I have a right to raise these questions, and nothing about my posts are defamatory. They have no right preventing me from sharing this information. The public can reach its own conclusion. I hung up this response on advise of counsel, and will not be threatened by the implied slap shot suit that Dean Thelen mentions.

April 28, 2011

Ms. Johannsen:

I write to address your April 27, 2011 blog posting on http://alleducationmatters.blogspot.com.  I note that you have just updated your posting today.

Your report regarding Thomas M. Cooley Law School is, at best, false and misleading; at worst, it is defamatory and actionable.  A simple Google search would have demonstrated that the defamatory material passed off as truth – admittedly by your own “hunch” – is nothing but a regurgitated Internet rumor circulated and discredited months ago.  (I’ve reviewed too your Twitter feed regarding these allegations, which is stated as fact and is thus defamatory as well.)

Thomas M. Cooley Law School is not, and never has been, under any investigation for its Title IV student loan programs or any other reason.  Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a Michigan non-profit private educational corporation—not a for-profit entity that you assert to be the subject of a rumored government “crackdown.”

You should immediately remove these defamatory postings from your “All Education Matters” blog page, as well as from your Twitter feed and any other site that you control.  I also expect that you will post an appropriate statement of the reason for your retractions.

Thomas M. Cooley Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  We have in place a Program Participation Agreement with the United States Department of Education, as required by the Higher Education Authority Act and its implementing regulations, and we dutifully meet our obligations under federal and state law, as well as our PPA agreement, to maintain the integrity of our Title IV program and funding.  There have not been, to the best of our knowledge and information, any complaints of inappropriate activity regarding our Title IV programs to the DOE’s Office of Inspector General.

We at Thomas M. Cooley Law School are proud of our mission to provide one of the most affordable and accessible private legal educations in the country.

(You have my permission to post this statement, but only on the condition that it is posted in its entirety.)

**************************
James B. Thelen, Esq.
Associate Dean for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Thomas M. Cooley Law School
300 S. Capitol Avenue
P.O. Box 13038
Lansing, MI  48901
(517) 371-5140 ext. 2003
fax: (517) 334-5752



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The threatening Cooley letter should confirm the truth of your initial post. People only make threats when they're scared; and when they threaten you for exercising your first amendment constitutional rights it means they're really really scared.

Great job!

JDpainterguy said...

Which leads me to a question that has been nagging me for a while:

If I were to lose in a defamation suit, or any kind of civil suit, and was found liable for damages.......

........given my student loan debt, am I "Judgement proof" or "Collection Proof?"

Like, if I won the lottery in an hour, who would be first in line for the money? The Student Lenders, or the winner of the lawsuit?

And, one last question, and kind of esoteric: Are the student loans inadvertently and as a sort of corollary creating a large block of people that are "Collection Proof?"

If so, doesn't that harm the rest of society by extension?

Not to beat this to death, but for instance:

Joe drives drunk and Kills someone, and is successfully sued by the plaintiff's family.

They can't collect however, because the tortfeasor is deeply in debt to the Student Lenders (First in line)

Also, the t-feasor couldn't get a job to make any decent money in or out of law. So he's broke anyway!

And what's with Paul Newman?

How ya doin anyway Cryn?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous-- I disagree. I would be angry if someone were making something up about me. It took me 10 seconds to discover that the school is non-profit.

Unless you can back this up with more than one source, you should go along with the most knowledgeable source you've got-- the spokeslawyer from the school.

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

The 'tipster' didn't state that the school wasn't non-profit. If you go back and read the comment carefully, you'll see that. We know it's a non-profit. That's not the point.

Anonymous said...

James, the fact that it could even exist as a hoax should make people wonder what Cooley did to attract such a thing.

You have my permission, James, to post this statement.

Really, you may...

Big Sur Blogisphere said...

Cryn, I support you.

Tiger

C. Cryn Johannsen said...

Thanks, Tiger.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that many self-proclaimed de jure "non-profit" institutions are in actuality de facto "for profit" institutions where the shareholders are the organization's directors, administrators, and faculty. Just because an organization is formally "non-profit" for tax purposes does not mean that its stakeholders do not profit from the success of the organization, in which case they might not care about the people they are supposed serve and might have an incentive to take advantage of people.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, this pile of garbage "law school" is certainly a "non-profit", but the disgraceful dean is certainly making a nice sum of a "profit" every year. Isn't that right you garbage attorney scum "James"?

Cryn, I'm a licensed attorney and I would be happy to defend any "lawsuit" against you pro bono.

The audacity of these law school scumbags.

Nando said...

Hi James Thelen.

It is a known fact that TTTThoma$ M. Cooley Law $chool is non-profit. (Let's be real, with each other, and recognize that "non-profit" is a legal designation. This distinction is largely for tax purposes.)

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2008/381/988/2008-381988915-052e1fe8-9.pdf

Check out pages 10 and 21 of Thomas M. Cooley’s 2008 IRS Form 990. On page ten, you can see that the following “law professors” and their TOTAL COMPENSATION – for 2007: Philip Prygoski, $225,821; John Scott, $234,143; Marjorie Russell, $227,559; and Kathleen Butler, $226,456. Plus, associate dean John Nussbaumer made $232,942 in 2007.

On page 21 of this report, you can see that “president and dean” of this lowly law school, Don P. LeDuc, made $530,053 in TOTAL COMPENSATION for 2007. Yes, as the “president and dean” of this private “non-profit” school, LeDuc made FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND AND FIFTY-THREE DOLLARS in a single year!! Apparently, “higher education” does pay off – for some. The “VP of Operations” made $203,973, and the CFO and Treasurer made $188,836 for the same year.

(James, you have my permission to cram these figures up your ass, but only on the condition that they are crammed up your cornhole, in their entirety.)

Nando said...

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/381/988/2009-381988915-0661fd69-9.pdf

Here is the commode’s 2009 Form 990. On page 37, we can see that “dean and president” Don LeDuc made $548,067 in TOTAL COMPENSATION - for 2008. That signifies a 3.4% increase in his compensation. While this may not seem like much, it is an extra $18,014 from the year before.

Even a lawyer cannot argue with the math. By the way, Thomas M. Cooley is widely considered to be one of the biggest laughingstocks of American “legal education.” While many graduates note the harsh grading curve, most recognize that this is a low-end school. And that is being kind.

http://thomas-cooley-law-school-scam.weebly.com/1/post/2011/02/the-thomas-m-cooley-law-school-scam3.html

Check out this critique, from an alleged former Cooley student.

Again, you have my permission to cram these figures and statements up your rectum, on the condition that you do so in their entirety. Have a bad day.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+3

Lastly, US News & World Report lists the average law student indebtedness - for those Cooley members of the Class of 2010 who incurred law school debt - as $105,798. Fully NINETY PERCENT of this unfortunate class took on such debt. So much for your claims of providing affordable, private “legal education.” To wit:

“We at Thomas M. Cooley Law School are proud of our mission to provide one of the most affordable and accessible private legal educations in the country.”

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+8

This is for a fourth tier trash can, or as US News now refers to it: “rank not published.” The school charges $30,644 per year in full-time tuition. Now, THAT is disgusting and reprehensible. Maybe you can muster up some anger and indignation over that, James.

Nando said...

http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/381/988/2009-381988915-0661fd69-9.pdf

Here is the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s 2009 Form 990. On page 37, we can see that “dean and president” Don LeDuc made $548,067 in TOTAL COMPENSATION - for 2008. That signifies a 3.4% increase in his compensation. While this may not seem like much, it is an extra $18,014 from the year before.

Even a lawyer cannot argue with the math. By the way, Thomas M. Cooley is widely considered to be one of the biggest laughingstocks of American “legal education.” While many graduates note the harsh grading curve, most recognize that this is a low-end school. And that is being kind.

http://thomas-cooley-law-school-scam.weebly.com/1/post/2011/02/the-thomas-m-cooley-law-school-scam3.html

Check out this critique, from an alleged former Cooley student.

Again, you have my permission to cram these figures and statements up your rectum, on the condition that you do so in their entirety. Have a bad day.

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings/page+3

Lastly, US News & World Report lists the average law student indebtedness - for those Cooley members of the Class of 2010 who incurred law school debt - as $105,798. Fully NINETY PERCENT of this unfortunate class took on such debt. So much for your claims of providing affordable, private “legal education.” To wit:

“We at Thomas M. Cooley Law School are proud of our mission to provide one of the most affordable and accessible private legal educations in the country.”

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+8

This is for a fourth tier dump, or as US News now refers to it: “rank not published.” The school charges $30,644 per year in full-time tuition. Now, THAT is disgusting and reprehensible. Maybe you can muster up some anger and indignation over that, James.