UGA professor sues GA Attorney General and others for racketeeri - CBS46 News

UGA professor sues GA Attorney General and others for racketeering

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A University of Georgia professor accused the state's attorney general of mob-like criminal activities in a lawsuit filed in Fulton County state court Thursday.  

In a 96-page amended complaint, Dezso Benedek alleged the University System of Georgia, the Attorney General of Georgia, the Board of Regents, former UGA president Michael Adams and others conspired to fabricate and spread false allegations and evidence against Benedek 'with the intent to harm him --in a pattern of illegal activity under the RICO statute.'

The complaint also alleged defendants tampered with evidence and committed wire and mail fraud.

Lauren Kane, a spokesperson for Attorney General Sam Olens, said the office had no comment about the litigation. 

A political refugee from Romania, Benedek, 63, has taught comparative literature at UGA for 25 years.

"I came here because of the constitution of this country," said Benedek. When asked if his constitutional rights have been protected, Benedek said no.

"That has been one of the greatest disappointments in my life," said Benedek. 

An outspoken critic of university administration, Benedek said administrators retaliated by sabotaging his study abroad programs, defaming him and bringing formal tenure revocation proceedings against him in 2010.

Benedek was accused of violating University system policies on academic integrity by misleading students and misrepresenting the study-abroad courses he handled.

Officials also charged Benedek had a conflict of interest when he promoted study-abroad programs through a separate foundation. 

A faculty committee recommended that Benedek's tenure not be revoked after a hearing in July 2010.

Benedek's attorney, Stephen Humphreys, told CBS Atlanta investigative reporter Jeff Chirico  that during the hearing he showed university officials lied, fabricated evidence and withheld documents to support their case against Benedek.

According to the lawsuit, university officials also committed mail and wire fraud and violated student privacy laws when it sent students' Social Security numbers to credit evaluation agencies in an attempt to discredit Benedek's study abroad program.

"This is all documented. This is not my theory. We have the papers," said Humphreys. "It's pretty cut and dry. They defamed him."  

Humphreys said state and university officials are able to get away with defaming Benedek because they're protected by state immunity. 

Humphreys said that immunity does not extend to criminal charges like racketeering. 

Benedek, who stood up to Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in the 1970s, said he hopes his lawsuit will expose the injustices committed by state and university officials that destroyed his career and his academic reputation. 

"This is worse than Romania. Because in Romania they never said you can get justice," said Benedek.

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