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Strip clubs, drugs, memory loss: Bulleted list of Urban Meyer investigation

614now Staff

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The long await for Urban Meyer’s fate has finally ended: 3-game suspension. Gene Smith joins Meyer on the time-out bench with an unpaid leave from Gene Smith from August 31 to September 16.

Since the repercussion for mishandling former assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic abuse allegations have been handed down, more details about the investigation have hit the fan.

Here are some key findings, per The Dispatch:

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  • Zach Smith took high school coaches and an unnamed Buckeyes coach to a strip club, spending upwards of $600 of his personal funds, while on an OSU recruiting trip in Florida in May 2014.
  • Meyer heard about the incident but did not know how much was spent at the club and failed to report it to the compliance department.
  • Meyer threatened Smith to fire him if it happened again and required a “morality claus” to be put in coaches’ contracts.
  • Powell police investigated Zach Smith for 15 months regarding domestic violence and cyber offenses against his then wife Courtney Smith that lasted through 2016.
  • OSU’s Title IX compliance officer got wind of the investigation and notified Gene Smith who then notified Meyer at a practice. Upset, Meyer and Gene Smith ordered Zach Smith return from a recruiting trip.
  • Meyer and Gene Smith confronted Zach Smith and told him, “if you hit her, you are fired.”
  • Shelley Meyer said she never told Urban Meyer about the text messages Courtney Smith sent to her about Zach Smith’s abuse in 2015 because she doubted the allegations.
  • Investigators’ reaction: “Given the closeness of their relationship and Shelley’s concerns, we believe it is likely that Shelley and Urban Meyer had at least some communication about these allegations in late 2015 and were concerned about them.”
  • In the midst of the divorce in 2016, Zach Smith went off the deep end—showing up late for practices and workouts and lying about attending high school recruiting trips.
  • Zach Smith had sex with a secretary of the football program which went unreported.
  • He took sexually explicit photos of himself while at the White House and the football facilities in April 2015 after the team won a national championship.
  • He also had had sex toys delivered to athletics facilities. Meyer and Gene Smith were aware of this.
  • Zach Smith checked into a drug treatment facility in June 2016 for an addiction to a prescription drug to treat ADHD. Meyer advised Smith to check into the facility.
  • Meyer’s lie about knowledge of the 2015 domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith was likely a result of his health, incorrect media report, and confusing text messages from staff.
  • Texts show Meyer was told there was no record of any arrest in 2015, contradicting a media report.
  • He told reporters at the Big Ten Media Day that he was not aware of any incident in 2015, though he actually was.
  • Investigators discovered that Meyer has memory issues and sometimes takes medications that impairs his memory.
  • Upon learning of the initial report from Brett Murphy that Shelley had become aware of Courtney Smith’s allegations, staff member Brian Voltolini linked up with Meyer and together, they worked to delete text messages older than a year from Meyer’s phone.
  • When Meyer turned over his phone on August 2, there were only texts from the last year on it.
  • Investigators found the action of deleting messages “concerning.”
  • The report detailed that Meyer and Gene Smith were both required to report issues such as the allegations against Zach Smith to the compliance department. Meyer simply reporting to Gene Smith was not good enough.
  • Meyer and Smith said that the lack of law enforcement or court action played a part in their decision to not take the Zach Smith allegations to the compliance department.
  • Per the report: “Repeatedly, Zach Smith’s conduct was met with reprimands and warnings by Coach Meyer, but never a written report, never an investigation and no disciplinary action until July 23, 2018. While we do not doubt that Coach Meyer respects women and is dedicated to fostering an environment of respect for women in his program, his apparent blind spot for Zach Smith seems to have impaired his judgment and his management of the behavior of at least one of his assistants.”

Read the full report here.

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MORPC talks Hyperloop cost, passenger rail routes and stations

Regina Fox

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Earlier this month, the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Committee met with Dublin City Council to discuss the future of transportation in Columbus. MORPC is calling this project the Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative, which aims to improve connectivity between Chicago and Pittsburgh through two transportation technologies: traditional passenger rail and hyperloop.

Passenger rail would be able to transport passengers across the Midwest at speeds as high as 110 mph. Hyperloop would connect Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus, and Pittsburgh and use electro-magnetic propulsion to send people through low pressure tubes up to 500 mph. See below for projected Hyperloop rider fares.

Click here for more on the Hyperloop studies.

In order to get these passenger rail off the ground, MORPC must conduct a preliminary environmental analysis and identify routes. And with Hyperloop, MORPC must first determine the feasibility of this new technology. Beyond that environmental, freight, and economic impacts will be explored.

In addition to presenting several route options for these exciting new forms of transportation, MORPC presenting Dublin the possibility of being a station location. According to the PowerPoint from the meeting, the site for a station must meet the following criteria:

  • Local preference
  • Former station location
  • Tangent track
  • Adjacent land use
  • Population center
  • Access to connecting infrastructure

While this all sounds well and good, you may be wondering why these projects are being pursued in the first place. MORPC cites the following reasons for exploring other forms of transportation:

  • It starts with safety—Last year 1,068 people died on Ohio highways. Ohio needs its highways, but we also need safe, productive alternatives
  • Weather, crashes and congestion mean less roadway reliability
  • Limited space to build enough lanes for all vehicles, even automated ones
  • People are asking for choices
  • Like interchanges, stations spur economic development opportunities

Moving forward the MORPC will continue to hold public meetings, facilitate collaboration, and create a travel demand advisory panel of public agencies, academic institution, and Virgin Hyperloop One (the only company in the world to have tested its hyperloop technology at scale) in order to keep the alternative transportation train on the tracks, literally.

Click here to read more about Hyperloop and passenger rail.

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Easton loses home furnishing store

Regina Fox

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Home style enthusiasts will have one less place to shop in Easton now that Z Gallerie at 4194 Easton Gateway Dr. has permanently closed.

No reason for the closure was cited. The store specialized in fashion-forward furniture and decor ranging from traditional to bold.

The number for the Columbus location has been forwarded to the Louisville, KY store, which is now the closest Z Gallerie location to Columbus.

Dozens of other stores remain open across the United States. Z Gallerie has a strong online presence, as well. To learn more, visit zgallerie.com.

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Tee Jaye’s on Tee Vee: Fox News coming to area restaurant this week

614now Staff

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Biscuits and gravy with a side of political commentary? It seems that's what's on the menu this week at the Tee Jay's Country Place restaurant on Morse Road.

Following Tuesday's Democratic Presidental debate at Otterbein University on Tuesday, a reporter from the Fox News show "Fox and Friends" will be on hand at Tee Jaye's from 4am- 9am Wednesday morning to "hear what you thought of the debate and your thoughts about the next election," according to a post on Tee Jaye's Facebook page:

Are your friends and family sick and tired of your political ramblings? Try your hand at punditry over a barnyard buster this Wednesday. Just try not to leave with egg on your face!

The debate will also be covered by CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and the New York Times among many, many other news organizations.

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