STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (MCT) — A local businessman who gave $25,000 for the Joe Paterno statue that was taken down over the weekend would like to hear from the university about its decision and its plans for it.
Eddie Lauth, a State College resident and the founder of Aqua Penn, went as far as asking a Centre County judge for a preliminary injunction on Friday to stop Penn State from removing the bronze statue of the former football coach. But Judge Pamela A. Ruest denied the request and scheduled a hearing for Tuesday afternoon that all but appears to be moot now that the university took down the statue Sunday morning.
“I’m still going to seek, as a donor, what they plan to do with it,” Lauth said.
Lauth’s name and other donors were on a plaque on a wall at the statue site beside Beaver Stadium.
He’s upset that the university didn’t contact him about removing it and even more upset how Paterno and Athletic Director Tim Curley, people he called personal friends, have been treated by the media and Penn State.
“It just amazes me that Penn State University can do this and continue to say things publicly about Tim Curley and Gary Schultz when they haven’t even had their chance for due process,” he said. “To me it’s unconscionable.”
Lauth wrote in a hand-written affidavit he filed Friday, “I’ve been informed that the university intends to remove the (statue). I gave money directly to the university for the purposes of a permanent tribute in the form of a statue of Joe Paterno and I have not been contacted by the university in the change of plans nor did I agree to the change of plans.”
Penn State spokesman David La Torre said university officials weren’t aware of the petition.
The 7-foot tall, 900-pound bronze statue was the site of a makeshift memorial to Paterno when he died in January, but the statue became the center of criticism at the university after the Louis Freeh report concluded Paterno and other senior level administrators concealed abuse allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said on July 17 that the university would make a decision about the statue within seven to 10 days. Only five days later, it was removed.
Lauth was one of dozens of donors.
The statue’s former location remained blocked off by a tarp on Monday. People were still going by, taking pictures and leaving mementos, one of which was a farcical “missing” poster for the statue that is taped to the tarp.