McInnis still owes foundation $300,000
Family demands repayment of fee
Former congressman Scott McInnis still hasn’t paid the $300,000 he earned for his plagiarized “Musings on Water,” and the foundation that hired him is considering legal action to get it back.
Drew Dougherty, executive director of the Hasan Family Foundation, said Friday the only contact it has had with the GOP gubernatorial candidate since it demanded McInnis pay back the entire amount July 16 has been between attorneys for both sides.
Dougherty said the foundation’s board has become increasingly frustrated by the situation.
“The Hasans are fully committed to full repayment of the fellowship funds, and the foundation is pursuing possible legal proceedings if that does not happen,” he said. “His attorney has contacted the foundation’s attorney, but further contact other than that has not been made.”
Dougherty said McInnis spoke to Dr. Malik Hasan, the founder of the foundation, only once since mid-July. That occurred a day after the Denver Post first reported that the congressman plagiarized a series of articles he wrote on water issues. The foundation demanded repayment several days later.
McInnis has since admitted he put his name on work done by a researcher he hired, 82-year-old Glenwood Springs resident Rolly Fischer, whom he initially attempted to blame for the whole matter. He said Fischer lifted writings from more than two decades ago by now Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, who is the leading contender to replace retiring Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey on the high court.
At the time McInnis was working as a fellow for the foundation in 2004 and 2005, Dougherty said the family was immediately disappointed with his work, saying at the time it wasn’t what they had expected. He said the board also wasn’t happy when McInnis, not long after it hired him, accepted a full-time position with Hogan & Hartson, then a D.C.-based law firm that was renamed Hogan Lovells when it merged with a British law firm earlier this year. McInnis is a partner in the firm’s Denver office.
At $150,000 a year for two years, the board thought it had hired McInnis full-time, but felt it couldn’t do anything about McInnis’ other job because its contract with the congressman didn’t stipulate he couldn’t take on other work, Dougherty said.
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio on Wednesday, McInnis repeated numerous earlier statements that he would pay the foundation back, but hinted it might not be the full amount or entirely in the form of money.
“We’re going to have to do what it takes to fix it,” McInnis told CPR’s “Colorado Matters” host Ryan Warner. “I’ve got to make it right. What shape that takes, whether it’s the funds or whatever it is, it’s going to have to get done.”
After hearing that interview, Dr. Aliya Hasan, a foundation board member, told former Rocky Mountain News columnist Jason Salzman, who now operates a media watchdog website, http://www.bigmedia.org, that McInnis has yet to contact the foundation directly since saying he would pay the money back.
“The general consensus was that he is trying to wiggle out of this,” Hasan told Salzman.
Dougherty wouldn’t comment on that, instead referring more detailed reaction from the foundation on the matter to Hasan’s interview with Salzman.