In responding to the biting criticisms by Yale University academic Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of her tenure as CEO of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina’s campaign hit back at him by charging that Sonnenfeld was fired from Emory University for vandalizing school property, though why that invalidated his criticisms was not made clear.
But it looks like Fiorina messed that up too. As Josh Barro writes:
Mr. Sonnenfeld, it is true, was forced to resign from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 1997. That firing led to years of litigation and then settlements with both Emory and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which had revoked its offer to hire Mr. Sonnenfeld as a result of the Emory firing. But Emory withdrew its vandalism allegations 15 years ago.
In a 2000 statement announcing the settlement of Mr. Sonnenfeld’s wrongful termination lawsuit, Emory withdrew “all accusations that Professor Sonnenfeld committed vandalism or intentional property damage.” Mr. Sonnenfeld said he was unable to comment on the terms, but The Wall Street Journal reported in 2000 that he was “believed to have won a multimillion dollar settlement” from the university. A spokeswoman for Emory declined to comment beyond the 2000 statement, calling it a personnel matter.
In addition to the Emory litigation, Mr. Sonnenfeld said in an email that he received a seven-figure settlement from Georgia Tech, which is consistent with budget documents from that university showing a $1.2 million line item for “Sonnenfeld Settlement” in fiscal year 2009.
Sonnenfeld is now firing back at Fiorina and warning her to not persist with what he considers to be defamatory accusations.
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Sonnenfeld characterized Ms. Flores’s statement about vandalism as “defamation,” though he noted it was possible that Mrs. Fiorina and her staff did not know the allegations against him had been withdrawn. He said he would send the campaign a cease-and-desist letter.
“If it persists after I get a letter out tonight, then I guess I’ve got to go ahead and file suit,” he added.
Fiorina seems to be quite a nasty piece of work. In the Republican primaries, that is probably seen as a plus.