Admissions scandal: Rick Singer attempted to rope in Pat Haden of USC

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William “Rick” Singer was currently deep into operating a college admissions scam at USC when he attempted to smooth speak the university’s athletic director, Pat Haden, more than coffee at the Los Angeles Nation Club.

Functioning below Haden’s nose, Singer had been bribing USC coaches and 1 of Haden’s best administrators for coveted admission slots that he sold to his wealthy customers, according to federal prosecutors.

But Singer had by no means met Haden, a legendary figure at USC who wielded massive influence as the head of its vaunted sports plan. A word from Haden could assist a kid get in to USC, and that type of pull, for Singer, was gold.

So, in May well 2015, Singer leaned on an old client who knew Haden to make an introduction.

Haden, it turned out, had a distinct agenda.

USC is now at the center of the sprawling college admissions scandal, in which actresses, tech figures and corporate energy brokers have been accused of hiring Singer to bribe and cheat their youngsters into elite colleges. Whilst Singer had toeholds on many campuses, USC stands out: 4 members of the school’s athletic division and 19 parents of USC students have been charged in the case.

Singer’s courtship of Haden, pieced with each other by means of interviews and emails reviewed by The Instances, gives a uncommon window into how Singer attempted to make inroads deep into USC’s senior leadership in apparent hopes of furthering his scheme to get the youngsters of the wealthy into best colleges.

It also shows how Haden saw Singer as an unwitting conduit to 1 of Los Angeles’ richest guys, underscoring the relentless concentrate on fund-raising so prevalent all through the university.

Haden has remained silent about the scandal, except for a short statement he issued final month. In it, he stated only that he had met Singer after and denied understanding something about the man’s illegal dealings.

Haden, 66, declined to comment for this story. A supply close to Haden, who requested anonymity, stated Haden has no recollection of meeting Singer at the nation club or a subsequent meeting due to the fact they have been short encounters amongst thousands of meetings and events Haden attended through his time as USC’s athletic director.

Singer, who has pleaded guilty in the federal case and is awaiting sentencing, declined to comment by means of his lawyer.

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The invitation got proper to the point.

“I would like to introduce you to my pal Rick Singer. He has asked to meet you each,” Chuck Kenworthy emailed to Haden and John McKay, a close pal of Haden’s and 1 of his associate athletic directors at USC.

USC

USC is now at the center of the sprawling college admissions scandal.

(Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Instances)

Kenworthy and McKay had been close friends for years from their time operating with each other at a law firm. The friendship continued when Kenworthy left to go to operate for Patrick Quickly-Shiong, the physician and entrepreneur who bought The Instances final year. And by means of McKay, Kenworthy and Haden struck up a friendship. The 3 are members at the exclusive Los Angeles Nation Club.

Kenworthy, who functions closely with Quickly-Shiong operating the investment arm in his network of corporations, touted Singer in the e-mail to Haden and McKay as “one of the best college counselors and a fantastic guy.” And he vouched for him personally, saying that he had identified Singer for about 5 years and received “great advice” from him when he hired Singer to assist 1 of his daughters navigate the college application course of action.

Apart from his criminal operation, Singer supplied genuine college admission solutions to households. In an interview, Kenworthy stated the operate Singer did with his daughter was above board, and The Instances identified no proof to indicate otherwise.

When Singer referred to as to ask his assist finding a meeting with Haden, Kenworthy stated he didn’t hesitate due to the fact his personal practical experience with Singer had been constructive and numerous close friends whom Kenworthy trusted also spoke extremely of him.

“I only ever saw the genuine side of him,” Kenworthy stated. “He utilised me to get to my close friends. That is embarrassing and it tends to make me seriously angry. He knew precisely what he was carrying out.”

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Singer told Kenworthy he wanted to meet Haden in order to show him what a fantastic asset he was to USC — a person who steered athletes and academically gifted students from wealthy households to the college, and could continue to do so in even bigger numbers.

Pat Haden

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, shown at a football practice in October 2013, has stayed largely silent about the university’s scandal.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Instances)

“He told me, ‘I want to speak to Pat about all the fantastic factors I am carrying out for USC.’ I assume he wanted to be observed by Pat as a person who could make the college even much better,” Kenworthy stated.

To underscore the point, Singer gave Kenworthy a list of higher-profile households with ties to USC who had hired him and told him to consist of the names in his e-mail to Haden and McKay.

Kenworthy obliged, dropping the name of an A-list actor, a couple of prominent Bay Region figures, an L.A. actual estate mogul, and the other higher-profile households Singer supplied.

“Am conscious you know a lot of of these households,” Kenworthy wrote. “And for a lot of yrs to come, Rick will continue to counsel and direct a lot of higher college youngsters to USC.”

The e-mail, which Kenworthy sent on a Monday evening in late May well 2015, got Haden’s consideration. Much less than 20 minutes later, he sent a message to his assistant and copied Kenworthy.

“Please arrange,” he instructed. “Thx Chuck!”

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Haden had been expecting the request.

Just before sending the e-mail, Kenworthy had reached out to McKay to lay the groundwork for a meeting among Singer and Haden, stated Kenworthy and McKay in separate interviews.

McKay knew Haden was inundated with requests like this from men and women who wanted a favor of some sort. Had it been any individual else asking, McKay stated he would have spared his boss and pal the inconvenience by declining the give.

But this was Chuck Kenworthy, a close advisor to Quickly-Shiong, whose fortune is publicly estimated to be about $7 billion.

Along with wanting to do a favor for a close pal, McKay knew Kenworthy could be beneficial to Haden.

Getting athletic director meant developing relationships with wealthy men and women who may donate to USC and, according to McKay, Haden had been attempting for some time to make inroads to Quickly-Shiong.

Haden was especially eager to have a line to Quickly-Shiong as Haden was attempting to sell 24 luxury suites that have been becoming constructed as portion a big renovation of the Coliseum, USC’s famed sports stadium, according to McKay and emails reviewed by The Instances. Twenty-year leases for the suites have been promoting for among $7.five million and $10 million, and Quickly-Shiong was on Haden’s list of attainable purchasers.

Coliseum

The Coliseum in Los Angeles is USC’s famed sports stadium, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation.

(Nick Ut / Connected Press)

If meeting with a college admissions counselor would assist open a door to Quickly-Shiong, McKay reasoned it was time properly spent for his boss.

“I figured we must take the meeting, 1 as a favor to a pal, but also due to the fact, if you are in the globe of creating company relationships, then getting a partnership with Patrick Quickly-Shiong is not a poor thought,” McKay stated. “Who the meeting was with didn’t matter a great deal to us.”

The guys agreed to meet more than lunch at the nation club on June 11, emails reviewed by The Instances show. Lunch later was switched to breakfast due to the fact Haden had a scheduling conflict and then ended up becoming a conversation more than coffee, according to the emails and McKay.

It was a short meeting — no a lot more than 10 minutes, Kenworthy recalled. Each Kenworthy and McKay stated Singer did practically all of the speaking, going on at length about his prowess as a college admissions counselor, his connections at USC and other universities, and how he worked virtually exclusively with wealthy households.

Haden and McKay listened politely just before McKay announced they had to leave for yet another appointment, Kenworthy stated. McKay recalled becoming taken aback by what “a self-promoter” Singer had seemed to be and how unabashed he was about the wealth of his customers. In retrospect, McKay stated he now believes Singer was attempting to convey that he could provide parents to USC who would make sizable donations.

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“That was of zero interest to us,” McKay stated, adding that Haden and the dozen or so improvement officers who worked for the athletic division had no problems raising funds from donors. “We didn’t have to have Rick Singer. In a million years, no way we have taken that meeting if it wasn’t for Chuck Kenworthy and Patrick Quickly-Shiong.”

Haden, nonetheless, expressed enthusiasm in an e-mail to Kenworthy right after the meeting. “Chuck, WOW!! Thanks for the introduction to Rick. Fascinating guy. I seriously appear forward to seeing him once more quickly. Thx!!!”

The supply close to Haden stated it was Haden’s nature to be overly polite to men and women introduced to him by close friends. His enthusiasm right here was amplified due to the fact Singer was an acquaintance of Kenworthy.

The subsequent week, Haden reached out to Kenworthy, thanking him once more for the introduction to Singer and letting him know the two have been arranging to meet once more in a couple of weeks.

Then, he pivoted.

“I would like to present to you relating to our Coliseum renovation and, in certain, our Founders suite/club for you/Patrick or for 1 or a lot more of your corporations to think about,” Haden wrote. “I am quite excited about the product…long overdue at the Coliseum and I am getting some constructive feedback from my early sale course of action. Sold nine so far…We’ll have some pretty fascinating men and women in the 24 suites.”

Haden had talked about the suites just before, but this was his formal pitch.

Haden gave a speedy overview of the costs involved and signed off saying, “Let’s get with each other and let me show you our plans. Thanks!”

Kenworthy responded later the exact same day. He after once more sang Singer’s praises, writing, “I know Rick will provide — he’s a stand-up, wonderfully connected guy.” And as for Haden’s pitch on the Coliseum, he showed himself prepared to assist. “Do you have any supplies I could show Patrick?” he asked.

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Singer produced his move at his second meeting with Haden.

On July two, the guys met in Haden’s workplace, emails reviewed by The Instances show. An e-mail Singer sent the subsequent morning suggests he had utilised the meeting as an chance to hit up the athletic director for assist finding the daughter of a client from Texas into USC.

lori laughlin

Actress Lori Loughlin is 1 of the USC parents involved in the university admissions scandal.

(Joseph Prezioso / AFP/Getty Photos)

“Pat thank you pretty a great deal for the particular time you spent with me yesterday. You are carrying out an incredible job at USC,” started Singer, just before switching gears. He told Haden he was waiting for the mother to send him the girl’s transcript and admission test scores and that he would send them along. A couple of minutes later, Singer sent the girl’s info, the emails show. The name of the loved ones was redacted in the emails reviewed by The Instances.

The girl had currently been denied admission and unsuccessfully appealed the choice, emails show. Now, just two months just before the start off of the college year, Singer wanted Haden to discover a way to get her in.

Early in the morning on July four, Haden forwarded Singer’s e-mail on to Donna Heinel, his associate athletic director who handled most admission challenges for the athletic division, and asked if she had any tips on irrespective of whether the division could be beneficial.

In her response a couple of hours later, Heinel ignored Haden’s inquiry about the girl. She was focused alternatively on Singer. She wanted to know irrespective of whether Singer was “in very good graces” with the university’s president and if he was observed “as an asset to the university?”

“I have no thought,” Haden replied. “Do you know him?”

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Prosecutors in the college admissions case have charged Heinel with crimes they say she committed whilst operating closely with Singer on his scam. She has pleaded not guilty to allegations she took payments from Singer in exchange for assisting to sneak his client’s youngsters into USC by falsifying records that portrayed the students as talented athletes deserving of spots the college reserves for the athletic division.

Months just before Haden asked Heinel if she knew Singer, she was involved in efforts to get the son of a Singer client into USC as a football player, court records filed by prosecutors show. In a February e-mail to a coach who is also accused of conspiring with Singer, for instance, Heinel produced handwritten edits to the sports resume the coach had fabricated for the teen and recommended a fake photo that purported to show the boy playing football be swapped out for a “better picture” that was “more athletic,” prosecutors wrote in the filing. Heinel later encouraged to an admissions committee that the student be admitted as a football player, according to the court filings.

The boy’s father, who is also charged in the case, later paid $75,000 to a USC account Heinel controlled and paid Singer yet another $250,000, prosecutors allege.

Heinel stated none of this to Haden. As an alternative, she responded to his query vaguely, saying she believed she remembered Singer as becoming “a guy that counseled a person” on finding into USC as an athlete. “Not confident even though,” she wrote. The copy of Heinel’s e-mail reviewed by The Instances was partly redacted.

Nina Marino, an lawyer for Heinel, disputed the government’s account, saying that her client did not know Singer at the time and was unaware of his dealings with the USC coach.

Heinel, Marino added, did not meet Singer till Haden introduced him to her at a meeting in Haden’s workplace in July, 2015. Marino did not specify the precise date of the meeting.

Haden, for his portion, expressed issues about Singer. He wrote to Heinel that he “had a red flag up” about the college counselor. “I am becoming cautious with him.”

Some of Singer’s customers, Haden told Heinel, have been youngsters “we are operating with.” McKay stated Haden was in all probability referring to donors or other households who frequently asked Haden for assist finding a relative or pal into USC.

The requests have been handled on a case-by-case basis, and Haden would from time to time create letters of help but had no say in admission choices, McKay stated. McKay added that Haden, who was appointed athletic director in 2010 and left USC in 2017, admonished his employees often against quid pro quos and barred any donations till right after a loved ones discovered irrespective of whether or not their kid was admitted.

Haden asked Heinel to appear into Singer.

“Do some homework,” he wrote.

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Immediately after producing his pitch to Kenworthy on the Coliseum suites, Haden had the informational supplies Kenworthy requested sent out to him. Kenworthy stated he took the thought to Quickly-Shiong, who in the finish did not obtain a suite.

Singer, meanwhile, checked in to see if Haden would be capable to assist with the girl from Texas. Haden replied, “Rick, I am told it is as well late to make one thing come about. Sorry.”

Undeterred, Singer produced yet another request the subsequent day, asking Haden if he would meet with a father and son, who wanted to attend USC, when they have been in Los Angeles the subsequent month. The parents, Singer boasted, had currently offered $100,000 to USC and have been “incredibly profitable people in the technologies space in the Bay Region.” The name of the loved ones was redacted in the copy of the e-mail reviewed by The Instances.

Haden seemed decidedly cooler with Singer than just before. He did not respond for two weeks and, when Singer asked once more, Haden stated only that he was “checking my travel plans.”

Singer persisted a couple of weeks later, but Haden stated he could not meet due to the fact of jury duty. He did not respond to Singer’s request for some other dates that would operate.

Singer resurfaced two months later, to ask Haden after once more if he would meet the loved ones.

It was textbook Singer: He urged Haden to make time for the loved ones, telling him that they have been properly connected with other influential men and women at USC and a “strong investor” in a skilled basketball group.

“Could you please give dates for prospective meeting?” Singer asked.

The e-mail was met with silence.