WVU wants to depose Rodriguez's wife

By Steve Korris | May 27, 2008

MORGANTOWN – West Virginia University attorneys want to depose the wife of former football coach Rich Rodriguez.

MORGANTOWN – West Virginia University attorneys want to depose the wife of former football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Jaclyn Bryk of Charleston wrote May 27 that the university has requested deposition dates for Rita Rodriguez since early April, by letter and in person, to no avail.

Bryk did not ask Monongalia Circuit Judge Robert Stone for a subpoena, but she dropped the hint.

"Counsel for the University is continuing to seek the voluntary appearance of Mrs. Rodriguez to avoid the publicity and embarrassment that would surround the issuance of a subpoena," Bryk wrote.

In an April 21 deposition, Rich Rodriguez identified Rita Rodriguez as one of his two closest advisers, along with agent Mike Brown.

He said "she had the same concerns I did" about a buyout clause in his contract.

He said that at a meeting with university officials last August, "I did a lot of the talking, yes, and Rita did some."

He said, "I said numerous times, as did my wife, that we just wanted what's fair, what's out in the market, what's fair and normal for division one football coaches in my situation."

Rodriguez resigned Dec. 19 to coach at the University of Michigan.

The university sued him Dec. 27, seeking to enforce the buyout.

Rodriguez countersued, claiming university officials breached his contract by failing to keep oral promises they made when he signed it.

University attorneys won't need to depose Rita Rodriguez or anybody else if they prevail on another point that came up in Rich Rodriguez's deposition.

Rodriguez, on advice of attorney Marvin Robon of Maumee, Ohio, refused three times to say who might pay the $4 million buyout for him.

He already had objected in writing to questions about who might cover his loss.

Agent Brown, in a May 9 deposition, also refused to answer.

Now Bryk wants Stone to compel answers.

"If arrangements for the outside payment of the liquidated damages exist," she wrote, "then it is misleading for Rodriguez to argue that the liquidated damages payment is an unlawful penalty that was to prevent him from freely leaving his employment or, in leaving employment, bear an onerous financial burden he cannot pay.

"Rodriguez projects an image that the amount of liquidated damages is an unenforceable penalty because he, personally, could not pay the contractually enumerated amount of liquidated damages if he wanted to leave West Virginia University."

She urged Stone to override his April 3 order holding that how Rodriguez would pay a judgment would not be an issue.

"Rodriguez has made this issue relevant by testifying, in his own words, that he was held 'hostage' by the liquidated damages provision to the extent it prohibited him from freely leaving West Virginia University and taking other employment of face onerous financial consequences," she wrote.

Rodriguez plans to depose university president Mike Garrison June 12.

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