Antonio "Tony The Tiger" Vernón's October 25, 2005 Press Release Page
"Have nunchucks. Will travel." - Antonio "Tony The Tiger" Vernón

Antonio Vernón vs. University of Chicago and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, COUNTY DEPARTMENT, LAW DIVISION
Case No. 02 L 015749
Judge Ronald F. Bartkowicz

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October 25, 2005 Press Release1


In a five-count lawsuit challenging his suspension, and eventual dismissal, from his Ph.D. program in the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago, Antonio Vernón alleges that the University willfully violated his contractual rights with the University, which wrongfully curtailed his academic freedom and punitively deprived him of promised financial aid and scholarships. Vernón's financial aid and scholarships were funded by the Graduate School of Business, Citibank and General Electric. In the latest developments in the case that that has spent 3 years in the legal system, Judge Ronald F. Bartkowicz delayed until February the the setting of a trial date and dispositive motion deadlines for summary judgment regarding his claims in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Vernón is attempting to become the first Afro-American to obtain a finance Ph.D. from one of the top five Finance Ph.D. programs (Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, MIT & Wharton). Finance is the science or study of funds management, emphasizing the institutions, instruments, and markets used to fund and hedge business operations.

Holding advanced degrees from the University of Michigan and Washington University, Vernón researches microeconomic corruption, social interactions, and intertemporal complementarity. Vernón alleges that the University blocked him from completing his Ph.D. program and from acquiring the skills necessary to succeed as an academic researcher. Antonio is one letter grade short in 1 of his 15 required courses of the academic requirements for advancing to Ph.D. candidacy. Vernón, born in New Orleans and raised in Buffalo, continues to aspire to be a finance professor, a field from which scholars of color are notably absent. He currently serves on the Harold Washington Tower Exploratory Committee.

In his suit against the University, five claims are at issue. Counts I and II allege, respectively, breach of express and of implied contract, due to violations of University regulations, and his rights to freedom of inquiry, as set forth in the University manual and handbook. Freedom of inquiry, one of the most highly protected freedoms in an academic community, is the freedom to inquire without penalty or retribution. Counts III and IV allege breach of express and implied contracts for financial aid (especially free tutoring). Count V alleges detrimental reliance on the promises of the University; Vernón claims the University lured him from another program, and uprooted his life. Vernón is represented by Elaine Siegel (ELAINE K.B. SIEGEL & ASSOC., P..C., 39 South LaSalle Street, Suite 617, Chicago, Illinois 60603, (312) 236-8088, EKBSiegel@aol.com).

Vernón, a kukkiwon certified black belt, is one of Chicago's most prominent non-projectile weapons practitioners and he often performs using the nickname "Tony the Tiger". You may have seen Vernón performing with his bo staff and nunchucks in a "Focus on Self Defense" seminar at the Taste of Chicago or performing on the beaches of Lake Michigan and in the Chicago Parks District parks during the summer. He was the 1st middleweight collegiate athlete to deadlift 600 lbs. without using steroids. His father, Dr. Carlos Vernón (1937-2003), was the 1957 Athlete of the Year for the Republic of Panama and is the greatest sprinter in Latin American history. He ran a 10.2 when the world record was 10.1.

Donations to his legal fund by check and money order, at Vernón Legal Fund, 1507 E. 53rd. St. - #608, Chicago, IL 60615 are welcomed. Donations by credit card and electronic payment can be made via free paypal accounts (from www.paypal.com) to vernonlegalfund@gmail.com or vernonlegalfund@yahoo.com.

1This press release was issued to both major local newspapers, several smaller local and ethnic newspapers, several radio stations and several local television stations. To my knowledge, the story has not yet been picked up by any of these outlets. Note that this press release was issued during deliberations about the Second Amended Complaint in Antonio Vernón vs. University of Chicago and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. My lawyer is formalizing a Third Amended Complaint that has been necessitated by recent developments and prior discovery in this case. When rulings are made on the propriety of these amendments, a new press release will be issued. Defendant requested an extension until March 10, 2006 (from March 1st) to respond to these new claims and rulings are scheduled for May 3, 2006. It seems that defendant's response was fairly routine and anticipated decisions should be made on May 3rd. However, the session is oddly scheduled for 4:30 so we will hope that the court can hear all issues within that court day.


I am not sure what to expect in the May 3rd session. However, I would be surprise if a count for Spoilation of evidence is not added because defendant confirms in their March repsonses that they have erased electronic documentation and shredded physical documentation of evidence, and the judge has previously summarized their duty to preserve such evidence.
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