MSU legal bills near $20 million in Nassar-related cases. Here's what you need to know. | Michigan Radio
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MSU legal bills near $20 million in Nassar-related cases. Here's what you need to know.

Jan 23, 2019

Michigan State University is paying the legal bills for three former officials who have been indicted on charges related to former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the university has been billed $19.7 million for Nassar-related legal fees so far. The school is covering all or part of the legal fees for former President Lou Anna Simon, former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages, and former Dean William Strampel. 

What is MSU paying for?

12 law firms have billed the university since December 2016 for lawsuits related to the Nassar scandal. Some of those firms have worked on issues and a lawsuit with the university's insurance carriers, and have been paid at least $3.4 million.

The rest of the money has gone toward the legal defense of former MSU officials.

Lou Anna Simon at her arraignment in Eaton County court last November.
Credit Cheyna Roth

Former President Lou Anna Simon is facing two felony and two misdemeanor charges for lying to police about how much she knew about the 2014 Title IX investigation into Nassar. She served as MSU president for more than a decade before resigning in January 2018 on the day of Nassar's Ingham County sentencing.

Former gymnastics coach Kathie Klages has been charged with one felony and one misdemeanor for lying to police. Klages told the attorney general's office that she hadn't heard of Nassar's abuse before 2016. However, two women claim they told Klages of Nassar's abuse as far back as the 1990s, but that she never reported the abuse.

Michigan State University is paying for Klages' and Simon's criminal defense in full. The school is paying half of the legal bills for former Dean William Strampel, as only two of his charges are related to the Nassar case.

Strampel, the former Dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and Nassar's former boss, was arrested in March 2018. He faces two counts of willful neglect of duty related to the Nassar scandal, which MSU will pay for. Strampel was also charged with one felony and one misdemeanor for allegedly groping and sexual harrassing female students.

According to the Lansing State Journal, "As of Nov. 12, MSU has been billed $29,689 for Strampel's defense and had not yet received invoices related to Klages and Simon."

Where is the money coming from?

MSU settled with Nassar survivors for $500 million in May, and finished that payment earlier this month. These additional legal payments bring the total cost of the Nassar scandal to over $523 million as of November 2018.

The settlement is being paid for through bond sales. The legal fees are being covered by any non-endowment income generated the school's investment office.

What's next?

Simon was arraigned in November and is back in court next week for her preliminary exam.

Klagies and Strampel have both been arraigned, and their next court dates have not been set.