Big Texas Tech Donor: Francis should resign, will give land for a dental school in Amarillo

In an exclusive radio interview with OSTX radio, Jerry Hodge, a former Amarillo mayor who recently withdrew a $10 million proposed gift to Texas Tech, candidly discusses his thoughts on events since former Chancellor Robert Duncan’s “retirement.”

Hodge makes five things clear over the course of the 40-minute interview:

  1. Tech Board of Regents Chairman Rick Francis should resign immediately without burdening Gov. Greg Abbott into forcing his resignation.
  2. Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp, Hodge’s personal friend of 30 years, has a political prowess that cannot be withstood by the composition of current board of regents.
  3. Hodge will guarantee that he will provide free land on which a dental school can be built in Amarillo instead of Francis’ El Paso.
  4. The four other regents who voted for Duncan’s ouster should be addressed as well.
  5. Hodge is leading a letter writing campaign to Gov. Abbott and the Tech Board of Regents. Those wishing to partake can subject their email “I stand with Jerry Hodge” and send to the regents at these links: Texas Tech Board of Regents and Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.

The full interview transcript is as follows, full interview can be heard here  at 24-minute mark or on podcast link below the transcript.

TRANSCRIPT:

Jay Leeson: A former mayor, Jerry Hodge, is a well-known name in Amarillo. All of a sudden he’s a household name in West Texas and Red Raider Nation. Jerry Hodge, thanks for coming on The Other Side of Texas. 

Jerry Hodge: Hey. Thank you, Jay. I appreciate the invite. I think.

Jay Leeson: How long were you mayor there in Amarillo? 

Jerry Hodge: I was mayor two times, on the city council two times before that.

Jay Leeson: Do you miss it?

Jerry Hodge: No. No, I had a good time and I enjoyed it. I was 30 years old when I was elected mayor so it’s been a long time. Yeah, I enjoyed it and really love the city of Amarillo and have always tried to make it better.

Jay Leeson: Well, we appreciate you making time. We have just described this whole cluster, Jerry, as RegentGate. That’s just a simple way to talk about everything that’s gone down since August 13 and Robert Duncan announcing that he was “retiring” from Texas Tech University.

Jay Leeson: Your name has come up since Sunday evening, as we broadcast now, late Sunday about midnight a Texas Tribune story comes out. That was the first name that your name to my knowledge had been put into public play so far as a gift, a proposed gift, of $10 million.

Jay Leeson: I want to start with some confusion that has surfaced around all of this and give you the opportunity to talk through it all. Of course, earlier in the week you let me have access to an email. I want to read a line of that email to which you wrote to a Texas Tech official, “I don’t like to be called out of the blue by a reporter about our planned gift.” 

Jay Leeson: Now in the story itself … Here’s the paragraph talking about some conflict that’s gone on some time between the board of Regents chairman, Rick Francis, and former chancellor Bob Duncan, “Another source of internal strife was a proposed gift for $10 million and how those funds would be split between a vet school and the pharmacy program that would be given the donor’s name.”

Jay Leeson: Where I want to start with this there are two people, three people who are quotes. There’s the governor’s spokesperson, there’s Bob Duncan, there’s Rick Francis. How do you think this Texas Tribune reporter, Shannon Najmabadi, even got hold of this information?

Jerry Hodge: I have no idea. From my knowledge, after it all broke, it evidently came out of the executive session. I would have to assume that it was probably from one of the Regents but I do not know that.

Jay Leeson: Okay. Is that where your assumption still stands?

Jerry Hodge: Absolutely.

Jay Leeson: To the reporter, Shannon Najmabadi, right? Tell me about … This is my understanding. When did this process begin? Was it months ago?

Jerry Hodge: No. About two years ago.

Jay Leeson: Okay.

Jerry Hodge: When the vet school was first started being discussed. I met with Chancellor Duncan and I don’t know maybe one other from Tech. Basically he laid out his goal. Actually it may be a little longer than that because it was when Texas Tech baseball team was in the World Series for the first time, College World Series.

Jay Leeson: Okay.

Jerry Hodge: I’m a big baseball fan. By the way, I’ve still got two years of eligibility left if Tech needs a player.

Jay Leeson: A heavy hitter. Yeah.

Jerry Hodge: That’s how far back it goes. Now we didn’t start talking about a gift back then but he laid out about the vet school, the need for it, and the research they had done and how they proposed to structure it. I was impressed. 

Jay Leeson: Okay. Tim Tadlock’s ears just perked up. We’ve got Jerry Hodge with us here on the program. It’s my understanding that universities, and it’s not just Tech, they go to great lengths to protect donors. It was surprising to a lot of folks, including me, and I’ve followed this rather closely, to see your name in that report. $10 million, was that all to go to the vet school? Where does the pharmacy school get involved in all of this, Jerry Hodge?

Jerry Hodge: Well, let me tell you the history of it. When we finally … We had several conversations back in the spring and then sometime this summer, early maybe June … I don’t remember exactly. We had an agreement. The agreement was that Margaret and I would do the $10 million gift. It was all to go to Texas Tech vet school. If for some reason it did not get approved by either the legislature or the coordinating board, then that money would revert to the pharmacy school.

Jay Leeson: The vet school, if it weren’t approved, it would all revert to the pharmacy school, correct?

Jerry Hodge: Yes. At no time, at no time ever, did I know until last week that there was a discussion about splitting it up. No one approached me on that.

Jay Leeson: You have talked with folks since then that have told you that it was going to be split up?

Jerry Hodge: They used the term … I don’t know the term that they used. That was supposedly the meeting that we had scheduled for this past Tuesday that we did not … Actually we ended up meeting with some of them but we did not discuss anything about the gift or what happened in the executive session about the board not voting for the gift. We did end up meeting but it was just a casual, friendly meeting, and they basically said, “Sorry, you got drug into all this like this.”

Jay Leeson: Yeah. Whenever I look at this, again, I’m still on the topic of confusion and we’re glad that you’re making time and we’ll go as long as you want to to get us through this on your own terms, but that your name gets caught up in some sort of honorary naming or naming rights of a pharmacy school? For people who have followed this Jerry Hodge was instrumental with then-Chancellor John Montford to get the pharmacy school to Texas Tech in the 1990s. Did you ever ask for naming rights or to have your name put on that building as a part of this $10 million gift?

Jerry Hodge: Jay, I don’t think so. I don’t recall ever doing that. It was brought up at one point several months ago. I thought it was a nice gesture. Let me tell you, when John Montford and I worked on the pharmacy school together he was a state senator and chairman of the appropriations committee. 

Jay Leeson: Okay. Thank you for that correction.

Jerry Hodge: I’ll help you all I can.

Jay Leeson: I appreciate that, Jerry Hodge, as we go on here in this interview on Other Side of Texas. I’ve talked with people trying to understand where this money might have been … To me, was the $10 million divided up without your knowledge? 

Jay Leeson: Or was it that … I talked with somebody at another Texas university, I can’t go into depth, trying to get perspective on how gifts are run these days. I was told that they’re invested. Almost like T. Boones Pickens’ gift at OSU. That it was invested and it became more money. That maybe your $10 million could have been invested, more money brought in … This is how it was explained to me from somebody outside of Lubbock was that maybe it would accrue interest, it would accrue earnings, and then the pharmacy school would be named after you with the extra.

Jerry Hodge: Jay, I have no knowledge of that, so you’ve got more information than I do.

Jay Leeson: Okay. I’m about to just let you riff as much as you want to. I’m working through my set of questions first. Big gifts in these proposals can be handled outside of the board of regents. I’m wondering why yours was brought into the board of regents. Maybe it was because of the naming rights that got involved, apparently without your knowledge, but whenever they’re brought into the board of regents, they’re brought into open session. Why do you think this went into closed session? Was it just about naming rights?

Jerry Hodge: Jay, you’re asking me questions I can’t answer. I have no idea.

Jay Leeson: Okay. Maybe Duncan was trying to be on the up and up. Trying to give them an opportunity to take a pass at it. We know that the vet school … I’ve written about this extensively. I’m going to state my opinion and then I want you to just go from there. You don’t have to concur. I know you, Jerry Hodge, will correct me if you disagree.

Jay Leeson: It seems to me, and I think it seems to anyone looking from the outside here, that there was a point in time in which Tech was made to decide a vet school or a dental school. You’ve got the chairman of the board of regents from El Paso, that’s obviously a threat to him where the proposed dental school was going in El Paso. 

Jay Leeson: Some would say it would make perfect sense for your gift to be opposed, and maybe even some of those parties applauding you withdrawing $10 million from the vet school, because they feel like the dental school is the top priority. It’s a priority for them, and they don’t want competition with it. What do you think about that?

Jerry Hodge: I cannot answer that, Jay. I don’t know. You know, the fact you make a $10 million gift and they don’t vote to accept it, what can you draw from that? My thoughts, and I may be wrong, but it basically is they did it for some reason to go against the vet school. I don’t know.

Jay Leeson: Okay. If I’m chairman of the board of regents, and I have a reporter, a statewide reporter, in a story in which I’m talking about a donor knowing or understanding, at least how much universities try to protect big donors … I would put you in big donor category. I give to the Red Raider Club but you gave $10 million. 

Jerry Hodge: I proposed to give $10 million. 

Jay Leeson: Okay. That’s a good correction. Did Rick Francis ever call you before the story came out? We know that it was supposed to come out maybe on Friday. That’s what all the buzz was. They (Texas Tribune) waited until Sunday night. Has Rick Francis … Did he call you before or has he called you after, as a potential major donor of the university, to have any sort of conversation about all of this being drug out into a statewide forum?

Jerry Hodge: I have never spoken to the chairman. I have never spoken to any regent of Texas Tech. I have not heard from anybody. Period. Even the four that voted for Chancellor Duncan. I haven’t heard from anybody. I think maybe … I don’t know. The only one I’ve heard talking at all is the chairman and maybe the cat got the rest of them’s tongue. I don’t know. I think they ought to step up and say something.

Jay Leeson: Let’s talk about the chairman then because a lot of people on the show … Your name has come up of course a lot. It seems … Well, I think it’s pretty clear that the chairman has over and over again … In the Avalanche-Journal, in his first op-ed, and then in this followup in the Texas Tribune, he essentially said Robert Duncan had to go because we had a $5 million disagreement over the course of four years.

Jay Leeson: What do you think the chairman thinks whenever he sees that somebody has pulled out a proposed gift of $10 million, twice of whatever the conflict was about in the systems office, system office budget? It kind of has, I think a lot of people would say, that (Francis) has it all over his face now once you pulled out there, Jerry Hodge. 

Jerry Hodge: Well, I don’t know that. You’d need to ask him that. I’ve never spoken to him. He’s never called me. To my knowledge, I’ve never met any of the current Regents at all.

Jay Leeson: Okay.

Jerry Hodge: You’re asking me some things that I can’t answer.

Jay Leeson: Okay. Now it’s your turn. I’ve got my questions out there. Just give us, a lot of people listen to this program, a lot of Red and Black people listen to this program, your general thoughts, things you want people to know and things that you want done at the university, Jerry Hodge.

Jerry Hodge: Well, I think I’d like to start first and tell you my background with Texas Tech. I did not go to school there. I went to school in Oklahoma. I’ve lived in Amarillo since I was 13 or 14 years old. Graduated from high school here. Went back to college in Oklahoma. 

Jerry Hodge: Governor Bill Clements appointed me to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice board back in the ’80s sometime. This was when Texas was under [a] lawsuit and I think fined for like $800,000 per day because we were in contempt of court. He told me … I had never been in a prison before. He said, “Straighten out the healthcare. That’s the biggest problem we got.” 

Jerry Hodge: I’m giving you that background so you’ll know how I got involved with Tech. We got our friend Bernie [inaudible 00:15:41] who is still at Tech and we got the head of UTMB together and we decided that to get the best healthcare we needed the two university’s health science center. They both stepped up and helped us, got us out of the lawsuit, and it was a good deal for the state of Texas. They had to save us at least 10% and they did that. Plus it was a very profitable deal for both Texas Tech and UTMB.

Jerry Hodge: After that, I worked with John Montford to get the pharmacy school in Amarillo. Texas Tech, to me, has always stepped up and it’s the least I can do if … I think I am right. If I am right it’s the least I can do to step up and protect Texas Tech and do what’s good for Texas Tech and for Amarillo. I love Amarillo. I love the Texas and West Texas.

Jerry Hodge: That’s how I guess my emotions run with Texas Tech. They’re very deep and very strong. We’ve talked about the gift. The only comments I’ve heard has been from the chairman. He talks about transparency. Well, I don’t like that term because to me it’s just another term for looping. I would prefer honesty and honor and integrity, which I’m not sure he’s long on that. I think if he was honorable, he would step down. He would resign. 

Jay Leeson: Resign before the end of his term?

Jerry Hodge: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think he should. I’m a lone voice out there, but if anybody else agrees with me they need to start either emailing or writing to him and the governor. I think he should. I thought what he did to Bob Duncan, to me, was a disgrace. 

Jerry Hodge: As much as Duncan has done for Texas Tech, and maybe I’m doing it all of this standing up because of my friendship with Chancellor Duncan, but I think (Francis) ought to resign. I think he ought to do the honorable thing and resign.

Jay Leeson: Is he the only one who should resign?

Jerry Hodge: Well, I think if he doesn’t resign, then the governor needs to come out and publicly say that he’s not going to reappoint him in January. Now the governor and … Hey, I like the governor. We supported him. We had a fundraiser here for him last week. We participated in it. I think he’s done a good job for Texas. He denies having anything to do with it.

Jerry Hodge: My information … I will tell you. Some of it comes from some of my Aggie friends who are kind of bragging that the governor’s office should step in on this. To what extent, I don’t know. I’m going to make some comments about John Sharp. 

Jay Leeson: Okay.

Jerry Hodge: I’ve known John Sharp for over 30 years. After I get through talking you can ask me more questions if we have time. We’ve had a friendly, cordial relationship. He and I don’t always agree. We have worked on things that we agreed upon. West Texas A&M is one of them. 

Jerry Hodge: Their nursing school needs to be expanded. Some of us in Amarillo are working to do that. I would like to see West Texas A&M work with Texas Tech to establish a nursing school at Texas Tech in Amarillo because we have a a shortage of nurses. The hospitals are begging for more nursing students. They’re having to recruit them out of Dallas, fly them in, work however many hours and days, and then fly them back. 

Jerry Hodge: We need more nurses in Amarillo. There’s a place for both of them. I think and I’ve tried to explain this to West Texas A&M that I think the vet school will help their agricultural program, their health sciences stuff. I would hope that at some point we can get them all together and work on these things together. I don’t think it hurts the Texas A&M veterinary school. We do have a shortage of vets, and I support that. 

Jerry Hodge: Now I’m going to tell you this about John Sharp. Like I said, I’ve known him for 30 years. We’ve agreed and we’ve disagreed on different issues. He has always been a straightforward guy to me. He looked me in the eye and said, “Jerry, you’re wrong. I disagree with you.” I’ve been able to do the same thing with him. We disagree on the vet school. Very much.

Jerry Hodge: I’m going to say this about Sharp. He is a competitor. He is a fighter. If we get this vet school approved, then we got to have a strong board of regents because John Sharp will bite, kick, poke you in the eye, and kick you on the shins. We’ve got to have a strong board of regents. That’s another reason I think the chairman ought to step down. 

Jerry Hodge: The other thing I think that what we ought to do is maybe look at putting that dental school here in Amarillo. We’ve got property out here that we’ll provide for them. 

Jay Leeson: Are you saying that you’ll donate property if Tech moves the dental school to Amarillo? 

Jerry Hodge: We will give them free property to move the dental school, put it in Amarillo. I guarantee you that.

Jay Leeson: Wow. Jerry Hodge, here with us, a household name now in the region. Is Francis … I’m going to go back to my other question. Is Francis the only regent that should resign? They’re called by different names. We call them the RegentGate Five here on the program. Some call them the Aggie Five. Should it just be Francis who steps down in your opinion? Should others?

Jerry Hodge: You know, there’s a lot of internal stuff I don’t know about, but he’s the chairman of the board and he’s the one that screwed all this up, so he ought to be the first to go. 

Jay Leeson: Jerry Hodge, have you been a chairman of boards in the past? I’m assuming you have been.

Jerry Hodge: Yes. I have.

Jay Leeson: If you went into an executive meeting as mayor, let’s say you’ve got nine, seven … Let’s say you’ve got there in Amarillo, I believe, five city council people? Something like that.

Jerry Hodge: Five, including the mayor.

Jay Leeson: If you went into executive and something was very contentious … I’m told that the meeting involving your gift and then the meeting there after, with Duncan’s or the informal vote that wasn’t a vote but was a vote happened, 3-2, wouldn’t you as chairman bring that back out into open session and let everybody have their public say so that’s all in the public purview and everybody knows where everybody fell? Do you think that Francis threw the regents under the bus here? 

Jerry Hodge: I think he did. At least, four of them. I don’t know any of them and I don’t know … I don’t know why … They talk about transparency. That’s crap. I don’t believe that.

Jay Leeson: It’s mind-numbing to me, Jerry Hodge, that you have $10 million up in a proposal and you’ve not heard from any regents this week, including Rick Francis in the fallout of all this? They’ve all just left you on the sideline? 

Jerry Hodge: Oh, I think they think I’m radioactive. They don’t know me but I’m not backing down. I don’t know how many listeners you have, but if any of those people out there agree with me you need to start writing letters, emails, and whatnot. Even if you don’t agree with me your voice needs to be heard. Don’t just leave a few out there that are trying to fight for what’s right and what was wrong is what they did to Chancellor Duncan. Period. He has done a lot for Texas Tech, and he’s done a lot for Lubbock. 

Jay Leeson: I opened this interview by saying that you’re suddenly a household name within the households of a lot of Red Raiders in West Texas, within their homes. I wonder if … Do you feel like you’re a lone voice here? Have you heard from other people who’ve said, “We support you. Keep going?”

Jay Leeson: Even though … It’s a little bit counterintuitive. Like in normal circumstances, and I guess this speaks to Duncan’s regard that you just laid out, Jerry Hodge, in normal circumstances, a donor who withdraws a $10 million gift might even be spat upon. Maybe with Copenhagen in West Texas. What’s been the reaction that you’ve heard from people since you’ve withdrawn the gift? 

Jerry Hodge: Well, I’ve had several people come up and tell me they agreed with me and they’re upset at what regents did to Chancellor Duncan. Anybody that knows him couldn’t think anything other than that. I even had one from a small town outside of Amarillo, a banker, a Texas Tech graduate, call in, and I said, “Hey, don’t call me. Call the governor. Send him messages.” 

Jerry Hodge: This is kind of funny because I’m working on an open letter to the governor and the obstacle I’ve run into is [that they’re are so many who want to co-sign] so I’ve got to change it from “I” to “we.” 

Jay Leeson: Wait, sorry, you just cut out there on the audio. Say that again. You’re working on an open letter to the governor and then what?

Jerry Hodge: I’ve had so many people wanting to sign it with me that I’ve had to change it from first person to a plural and put everybody’s name on there.

Jerry Hodge: Anyway, here’s another thought. You’ve got nine board members that are all men. Nobody from Lubbock, nobody from Amarillo. I think the closest one was Midland or Abilene. Why don’t we have some women on there? There’s good women in Amarillo that are Tech supporters and graduates. I’m sure there’s some good ladies in Lubbock that would be great board members and break up this good ol’ boys system. 

Jay Leeson: You know, George McMahan, a really well-respected developer in Lubbock, Marc McDougal, Delbert McDougal, all developers in Lubbock, took a stand against, because they felt like the governor may have had a role in what had happened. At least George McMahan did. 

Jay Leeson: When George McMahan was disinvited from the governor’s event, based upon comments that it’s pay-to-play to be a regent, his money was sent back, he was disinvited, and then Marc McDougal and his father Delbert McDougal pulled out because they didn’t like the way that George and Linda McMahan were treated in all of that.

Jay Leeson: I think that they met the same sort of response that you’ve gotten, that, “Way to go. Way to hold strong.” I know that you may feel, Jerry Hodge, like a lone wolf out there, but I think once you start to begin to combine the regent up that there are a lot of people who once they see folks like you and folks like the McDougals and the McMahans jump in, that there’s a lot of momentum here.

Jay Leeson: I state all that to say you want to write an open-letter. If people want to be a part of your open letter how could they be a part of it?

Jerry Hodge: I don’t know. You tell me. I am not big on emails and certainly don’t do Twitter or all that other stuff. At my age, you just don’t do that. 

Jay Leeson: Well, look, I don’t want to advise you… We’ll put up emails where people can reach the governor and can reach Rick Francis, and they just make their subject line of their emails, “I stand with Jerry Hodge”?

Jerry Hodge: If they would do that, I would be happy. I would appreciate it. I have a lot of people that say nice things to me about standing up, but I would like for somebody else to stand up with me.

Jay Leeson: Jerry Hodge, I want to ask you this. Unless you’ve got more to throw out there and you’re welcome to, I told you you could have as much time as you wanted here. You think that a solution … As you said earlier, the honorable thing would be for Rick Francis to step down. Do you believe …

Jerry Hodge: Absolutely.

Jay Leeson: Okay. Do you plan on throwing in your hat for a Regent position? Do you know people in Amarillo that would want to throw their hat in?

Jerry Hodge: I do not. I am absolutely not a candidate period.

Jay Leeson: You’re too busy, because as everybody has always read and the most feedback I’ve gotten on your email number one was, “Wow”. Number two was, “Don’t ever call Jerry Hodge during a Cowboys game.” 

Jerry Hodge: Well, that’s true. But you might start, [given] the way they played Sunday. 

Jay Leeson: You might have some available time on your hands. I appreciate you trying to make all this clear with us. Obviously, you think Francis needs to step down. I will ask you this, we’ve written extensively on the website, backed it up with research. You may not answer this. I don’t know.

Jay Leeson: From a businessman’s standpoint, a businessman whose got $10 million to propose and then withdraw, do you think that maybe Rick Francis has some ulterior motive here outside of, well, he disagreed [with Duncan] over $5 million over the course of four years? That maybe there’s some preservation that he has in place for … 

Jay Leeson: I think a lot of people would ask this question. Is there some ulterior motive as to why … I think you’ve made it clear, and tell me if I’m wrong, [Francis] effectively wants to kill the vet school. Do you disagree?

Jerry Hodge: The vet school is the bottom line on all of it. I will tell you there’s only two groups … Well, maybe the regents, I don’t know. Two groups that are happy that Margaret and I have withdrawn this: one of them is John Sharp and my Aggie buddies, and the other are four kids because that was coming out of their inheritance. 

Jay Leeson: Maybe Rick Francis too? 

Jerry Hodge: Well, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know about that guy. I know nothing about him other than he did a shameful thing. 

Jay Leeson: Have you completely taken off the table of going back and looking, you and Margaret, is this gift permanently withheld or is it temporarily withheld?

Jerry Hodge: Jay, I’m not going to answer that because who knows what will happen tomorrow. I have not had any conversation … I will tell you this, Margaret and I were talking last night. She says, “You know, we were so excited about all of this and now we got such a bad taste in our mouth. I’m just sick about it.” Margaret says, “I wish you’d just be quiet occasionally and not be doing this.”

Jerry Hodge: I said, “Margaret, it’s the right thing to do. What they did to Chancellor Duncan was totally wrong.” Hopefully I’m not the only one standing up for him because he is an honorable man. I have a lot of respect for him. 

Jay Leeson: This has been my argument. This is my last question to you, Jerry Hodge unless you have something else to throw in. We will put up the emails to reach the governor and to reach Chairman Francis and we’ll post this there on OtherSideofTexas.com. 

Jay Leeson: Do you think that … Well, I don’t know quite how to state it. You don’t know if you’re …

Jerry Hodge: Be nice, Jay.

Jay Leeson: You don’t know if you’re going to revisit it or not, correct?

Jerry Hodge: No. Ask me something else.

Jay Leeson: Okay. All right. I was going to dig in on that question.

Jerry Hodge: How are the Red Raiders going to do Saturday? Let’s talk about that.

Jay Leeson: Well, we’re going to… Of course, you and I are pre-recording. Chris Level, the master of all Texas Tech knowledge, will have been on before you. I can’t quite answer that question right now. I’m going to the game. I’m going to wear my cotton. I hope that we do well. Like you, I can’t answer that question, Jerry Hodge. 

Jerry Hodge: Well, I’ll tell you. One of the funny things about John Sharp, I get a call early Monday morning. I just got in the office and I was fixing coffee. Karen, my assistant, came in and said, “John Sharp is on the phone.” I said, “Karen, which one of my friends is harassing me?” She said, “No, I think it’s John Sharp.” 

Jerry Hodge: I said, “Really?” She said, “Yeah, I think it’s John Sharp.” I said, “Okay, I’ll get it. Put it in my office.” Then she said, “Who is John Sharp?” I can’t wait to tell him that everybody in Texas doesn’t know him. 

Jay Leeson: Jerry Hodge, I tend to think that he called you into response of our posting your email to Texas Tech and he had already read it. I tend to think that he’s going to call you back about why your assistant doesn’t know his name by the time he hears this audio.

Jerry Hodge: Hey, but John did call me. We discussed that. He is right. He didn’t… I’m convinced of it. That’s what an honorable person does. You know?

Jay Leeson: What does it mean, though, Jerry? I hear you say that and I’m back to the confusion where I started. What does it mean that John Sharp had the wherewithal to call you, but none of these five regents who have had development officers working with you, as you say, for two years? You don’t get the courtesy of a call from any of those five, but you get a call from John Sharp? Somewhere I can hear John Sharp laugh-bellying right now because he called you but you didn’t get a call from any of the five.

Jerry Hodge: Well, you know, I guess that’s different in the character of people or how they handle issues. John Sharp and I have agreed on some things but we’ve disagreed on a lot of stuff. All the way back to when he was comptroller. You know, at least I can tell him, “Hey, John. You’re crazy. You’re out of line on that” or he does the same thing to me. How I found out all about this is from a reporter? That doesn’t blow my skirt up. 

Jay Leeson: Well, Jerry Hodge, here’s what we’re going to do. If [listeners] want to be a part of the Jerry Hodge movement, Red Raider Nation, send an email with the subject, “I stand with Jerry Hodge”, This will be up in OtherSideofTexas.com. Email with the subject line “I stand with Jerry Hodge” and then you can make your own statements to the governor, to the chairman, and about any other regents that you want to.

Jay Leeson: What I’ll do offline, Jerry Hodge, is try to connect you with somebody who can help you organize an open letter publicly that people can jump in on. 

Jerry Hodge: Okay. Hey, Jay, not only the people that agree with me, the people that don’t agree with me. People need to be heard. This is a big deal.

Jay Leeson: You got it. Jerry Hodge, tell Margaret we said hello. Please let her know that I think we’re sitting around 40 minutes of audio. None of it will be edited, so it’s all your fault, not mine. 

Jerry Hodge: Well, don’t let her know that I did this. 

Jay Leeson: I tend to think she’s going to know that you did this. Jerry Hodge, thanks for coming on. We hope to hear from you in the weeks to come. 

Jerry Hodge: All right. Let me know. Thanks. 

Jay Leeson: All right. Thank you, Jerry Hodge. 

AUDIO (tune in at 24-minute mark, or subscribe to our podcast):

 

Jay Leeson is the founder of Other Side of Texas. You can hear the radio program by the same name each weekday 5-6pm CST on AM 580 Lubbock, streaming at OtherSideofTexas.com. Each episode is posted as a podcast, subscribe at Apple podcasts.

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