18:39, May 31 292 0 law.com

2017-05-31 18:39:05
University of Florida GC Quits While Under Investigation
Jamie Lewis Keith

In a nod to the controversy embroiling her office in recent months, the top lawyer at the University of Florida has resigned, citing her knowledge of “when to step aside.”

The resignation of UF vice president, general counsel and university secretary Jamie Keith is effective June 28, according to an agreement between Keith and university president W. Kent Fuchs. Under the agreement, Keith will receive payment for unused annual leave as well as six-weeks’ severance. She will remain on leave until her official departure next month, according to a university spokesperson.

Keith has been on administrative leave since March 22, about three weeks after prominent Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson wrote the university’s chief audit executive questioning Keith’s competence and ethics. Shortly afterward, the university announced an internal “thorough and independent investigation” into Johnson’s allegations.

About a month earlier, Johnson sued the university, its trustees and Keith, alleging failure to fulfill his public records requests.

Keith attributed her decision to leave UF in part to Johnson’s actions. The Gainesville Sun speculated the battle between the two high-powered attorneys may have started over a complaint filed against Johnson’s client, UF wide receiver Antonio Callaway. Johnson is arguably best known for his successful defense of UF athletes charged with disciplinary violations.

“The only constructive option for the university and for me is for me to leave because it appears that the disruption targeting my role and distracting the university from its priorities won’t stop while I remain at UF, regardless of the outcome of any internal process,” Keith told ALM.

Contact Kristen Rasmussen at krasmussen@alm.com