September 11th, 2019 | by CollegeAD

Arizona taxpayers shelled out nearly $140,000 in attorneys’ fees to defend former UA football coach Rich Rodriguez in a federal lawsuit that he was ultimately dismissed from, public records show. On Sept. 3, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow signed an order dismissing Rodriguez and his wife, Rita, from the suit. Because Rodriguez was employed by the UA during the events alleged in the lawsuit, the state was required to pay for his defense. Rodriguez’s attorney, Kathleen Wieneke of Phoenix, billed the state $138,527 for work done between May 9, 2018 and Aug. 28, 2019, according to records obtained from the Arizona Department of Administration through a public records request. Monthly billing totals ranged from $811 in May 2018 to $20,171 in July 2019, the records show. Before firing Rodriguez, the UA paid $137,000 for a third-party investigation into Melendez’s allegations. The investigation was not able to back up Melendez’s claims, and Rodriguez was paid his full buyout by the UA. His former assistant, Melissa Melendez, levied $16 million in sexual harassment and hostile workplace claims against Rodriguez and the UA. The state will again be footing the bill for Rodriguez’s defense in the Melendez suit. – Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star, Read More

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