Kentucky: Court hears Felner’s interview

by E Wayne Ross on March 27, 2009

Courier-Journal: Court hears Felner’s interview
Defense seeks to block its use

During a six-hour-plus interview with federal investigators last summer, former University of Louisville education dean Robert Felner went from being described as confident by investigators and a colleague to saying he was “freaked” and asking if he could go to jail.

“I’m starting to feel like I’m getting thrown under the bus,” Felner said in a tape-recorded conversation with investigators that was played in court today during a hearing to decide if comments he made during the interview can be used against him in a criminal trial.

Felner, 58, faces 10 counts of mail fraud, money-laundering conspiracy and income-tax evasion after a federal grand jury indicted him in October.

A colleague, Thomas Schroeder, 51, of Port Byron, Ill., also is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment accuses the two of fraudulently obtaining nearly $2.3million in grant and contract money from UofL and the University of Rhode Island. Both pleaded not guilty in October and were released on unsecured bonds.