Larry Sager

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Larry Sager
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University of Texas, Austin
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Dean, UT-Austin Law School
Bachelor'sPomona College
J.D.Columbia University
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Larry Sager is the Alice Jane Drysdale Sheffield Regents Chair at the University of Texas, Austin Law School. He was previously dean of the law school from 2006-2011.[1]

Dean of University of Texas law school

Sager served as Dean of the University of Texas, Austin law school from 2006-2011.[2]


On December 8, 2011, Sager resigned from his position as Dean of the University of Texas, Austin law school. Bill Powers, University of Texas, Austin President, demanded Sager's resignation regarding a forgivable loan scandal.[3] The primary issue was the law school's salary stipends and "forgivable loans" that were meant as incentives to recruit and keep faculty. "The fact of the matter is, and there's no two ways about this fact, that I resigned now because I was asked to by the president of the university," Sager said.[4]

A total of 22 professors, including Sager, received six-figure forgivable loans or other payments. At the time of Sager's resignation, 19 members of the law school faculty were paid more than $300,000 per year. From 2006-2011, the University of Texas Law School Foundation -- an entity that is legally separate from the law school -- gave out more than $4.6 million in forgivable loans. Sager himself received a $500,000 loan from the foundation.[5][6]

Former University of Texas General Counsel Barry Burgdorf issued a report in November 2012 after investigating the forgivable loans program. In that report,[7] University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall called the report "insufficient" and said that it did not provide the full story. In a July 2013 letter to State Representative Jim Pitts, University of Texas Regent Eugene Powell detailed a previously unrevealed letter regarding the forgivable loans program that was not included in Burgdorf's report. The letter, which was addressed to University of Texas Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, was written by several female faculty members of the law school requesting an investigation into "two hidden salary systems that our dean has used during the last five years to hide salary raises and to discriminate against women and minorities in our institution." The letter was reportedly forwarded to Burgdorf.[8][9]

Wallace Hall impeachment

See also: Wallace Hall impeachment trial and Forgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School

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University of Texas Investigations

Wallace Hall impeachment trialPolitical favoritism in admissions to the University of TexasForgivable loans program at the University of Texas Law School House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations (TSAO)Joint Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence & Transparency

UT Regents
Wallace HallPaul FosterEugene PowellSteven HicksErnest AlisedaJeffery HildebrandBrenda PejovichAlex CranbergRobert Stillwell

Elected Officials
Rick PerryJoe StrausCharles PerryTrey FischerDan FlynnNaomi GonzalezEric JohnsonLyle LarsonCarol AlvaradoFour PriceJim PittsDan Branch

UT Individuals
Bill PowersLarry SagerBarry BurgdorfKevin HegartyFrancisco CigarroaCarol Longoria

Sager's forgivable loans situation resurfaced in 2013 during the investigations of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall.

After he was appointed in 2011, University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall began looking into what he believed to be clout scandals within the University of Texas system. Hall investigated the university's forgivable-loans program and admissions policies and preferential treatment to politically-connected individuals.[10] Hall, as an individual citizen, filed FOIA requests with the University system after his inquiries via his role as a Regent were rebuffed.[11] According to his accusers, Hall filed requests of more than 800,000 pages, which some Texas administrators called an unnecessary burden.[12][13] However, a letter from University chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in February 2014 said that Hall likely requested fewer than 100,000 pages.[14][15] In addition, Cigarroa wrote: "During testimony before the Select Committee, some early witnesses implied that the U.T. System has not protected the privacy rights of students, staff, and patients. This is simply not true."[16]

An effort was begun in June 2013 to try and impeach Hall from his position as regent. Some legislators are justifying the impeachment on the grounds that Hall did not disclose several lawsuits that he was involved in when he originally completed his Regent background check. Hall updated Governor Rick Perry's office in April 2013 with the full list.[17][18] The lack of lawsuit disclosure by Hall is not unique -- more than 9,000 lawsuits were not disclosed by other appointed Texas officials.[19] No unelected official in Texas has ever been successfully impeached or removed from office.[20] Governor of Texas Rick Perry's spokesperson said the investigations send a "chilling message" to gubernatorial appointees.[21] He added that the investigation was "extraordinary political theater."[22] Texas state legislators have never previously tried to remove an appointed official. Only two elected officials in the history of Texas have ever been successfully impeached.[23]

In March 2013, the Board of Regents voted to re-open the forgivable loans investigation. This action was approved by regents Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich, Paul Foster and Alex Cranberg. Some legislators including Judith Zaffirini (D), Trey Fischer (D) and Kevin Eltife (R) criticized the action as a waste of taxpayer funds. In one specific email exchange among the FOIA'd documents, University of Texas Budget Director Mary Knight emailed President Powers in June 2009 about salaries of UT officials. The email specifically mentioned Sager, with Knight writing: "note: Sager was included due to his $100K per year deferred compensation over 5 years." The email refers to the $500,000 forgivable loan that Sager received which eventually contributed to his forced resignation. While Powers maintained that he had been unaware of the loan until the official UT report was conducted, some regents believe that the email from Knight in 2009 proves otherwise.[24][25]


Sager is married to Jane Cohen. They have nine children.[2]

See also

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  1. University of Texas, "Larry Sager Biography," accessed November 6, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 University of Texas, Austin Law School, "Lawrence Sager Appointed as Dean of UT Austin School of Law," May 10, 2006
  3. New York Times, "University of Texas President Ends Tough Year With Yet Another Battle," December 15, 2011
  4. Texas Tribune, "UT President Asks Law School Dean to Resign Immediately," December 8, 2011
  5. National Jurist, "UTexas dean resignation raises questions about compensation practices," December 19, 2011
  6. Austin American Statesman, "UT law dean forced to step down," December 8, 2011
  7. Texas Tribune, "UT Law's Forgivable Loans to Faculty "Not Appropriate,"" November 13, 2012
  8. Texas Monthly, "Gene Powell’s Letter to Jim Pitts," July 16, 2013
  9. Texas Tribune, "Wallace Hall: The TT Interview," June 25, 2013
  10. American Spectator, "Transparency for Thee," October 25, 2013
  11. Daily Texas Online, "Facing impeachment, Regent Wallace Hall defends actions in debate with Sen. Kirk Watson," September 28, 2013
  12. Daily Texas Online, "Former UT System vice chancellor alleges Regent Wallace Hall’s ‘clear intent to get rid of Bill Powers’," October 24, 2013
  13. Dallas Morning News, "UT regent sought 800,000 documents, official says in impeachment hearing," October 22, 2013
  14. Watchdog, "‘Witch hunt’ fallout: Speaker calls for narrower public records law," February 5, 2014
  15. Texas Tribune, "UT System Responds to Transparency Committee Directives," February 3, 2014
  16. Texas Tribune, "Cigarroa letter to the Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations," February 1, 2014
  17. Texas Tribune, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Updates Lawsuit Disclosures," April 30, 2013
  18. Real Clear Policy, "The Campaign Against Wallace Hall," August 15, 2013
  19., "Case against UT regent Wallace Hall is a sham — here’s proof," September 6, 2013
  20. News-Journal, "University of Texas regent not worried by impeachment inquiry," September 9, 2013
  21. Texas Tribune, "Transparency Committee to Mull Impeachment of UT Regent," June 25, 2013
  22. Texas Tribune, "Perry Blasts Impeachment Probe of Wallace Hall," October 30, 2013
  23. Texas Public Radio, "UT Regent Wallace Hall Will Testify In Impeachment Hearing," November 13, 2013
  24. Houston Chronicle, "UT email exchange may provide key to controversy," March 24, 2013
  25. Houston Chronicle, "Perry-UT power struggle intensifies," March 25, 2013