Robert Burton and His $3 Million: Why We Must Stand With Him and Against UConn

Jacob HarrisContributor IJanuary 26, 2011

Burton, like the Bearkats, must elude the menacing hold of UConn football
Burton, like the Bearkats, must elude the menacing hold of UConn footballElsa/Getty Images

I usually despise the fact that we already feel the need to talk about college football even though we are only two weeks into the off-season.

But, every once in a while, a story comes along that is so upsetting and heart-wrenching that it deserves to get full attention, regardless of the time of year.

The University of Connecticut hired Paul Pasqualoni as their Head Football Coach last week to replace the recently departed Randy Edsall.

There were mixed emotions among UConn supporters but, if God is a fan of the Huskies, I can promise you he is not happy with Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway.

Wasn't it God who said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth?"

I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "meek," I immediately think of the lowly Samaritan, Robert G. Burton Sr.    

Unlike every other person I can think of who feels the need to have their middle initial included in their name, Burton is a meek man who stays to himself and leaves others to live their own lives. He keeps his opinions private unless he is forced to defend his family name against extreme and unjust provocation.

But then the Huskies brazenly and disrespectfully spat on his image by forgetting to clear the hiring of Pasqualoni with him before they made the announcement.

Understandably, the downtrodden, but somehow still selfless, Burton refused to bow to the sinister forces that run UConn athletics and bravely offered his timid take on the situation of the program and the hiring of Pasqualoni.

Burton shyly asked for the return of a $3 million donation that paid for the new Burton Family Athletic Complex and mentioned that he would no longer be donating any money to the athletic department. 

He "informed UConn Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway of his intentions via a six-page letter dated Jan.19."

A sad day for Burton and his family, but a proud day for all of us in this world who stand for things that are right.

Burton is not some silver-spoon-fed, pushy, pompous blowhard who regularly attempts to wield power through his money, writing threatening letters of this sort on a whim. This is a unique circumstance. For example, he has certainly never sent a letter to Cenveo Inc. that prompted them to respond with:

"While we disagree with virtually all of the assertions made in your letter, we agree that the stock of Cenveo has been significantly undervalued by the market at large. The Board of Cenveo has not been "dismissive" of any proposal made to it."

The letter, whatever it may have said, that prompted that response was sent by Burton Capital Management, LLC to Cenveo Inc. The innocent by-stander, Mr. Burton, as a result, was accidentally made Chairman and CEO of Cenveo Inc.

There is no way he could have orchestrated such an unforeseen outcome since he is only the "Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and sole Managing Member since January 2003" of Burton Capital Management. It is surely just a coincidence.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that he had any hand in the drafting of the letter that eventually handed him the top paid position at Cenveo Inc.

I mean, so what if he had a title like "sole Managing Member?" In this day and age where anybody can get on LegalZoom.com and give themselves whatever title they choose, he might as well have been called the sole "Mop Handle Locator of the First Through Third Floors of Building C-A in Complex Nine." And that's certainly not a decision-making position in the firm.

Burton Capital Management, which is a hedge-fund, was able to reach a settlement with Cenveo and get their "eight nominees to the Board." Those nominees, in turn, were the ones who placed Burton at the helm of the newly-acquired company.

So you see, he was chosen by chance, as if his name was merely drawn from a hat.

If I was Burton Capital, I would probably see nothing wrong with taking those same principles and using them against a publicly-funded university.   

Mr. Burton also made a "bid to wrest control of Creo Inc. from Amos Michelson and the current board of directors" earlier that year (2005) but it's not like he has an unquenchable appetite and obsession to control any and everything he can get his hands on.

He probably just needs the money.

He was only compensated $4,203,940 in 2009 from Cenveo Inc., the company he stole...er... bought. And he only has three other jobs and five other board positions.  

I could bore you with more salaries, stock portfolios, hedge-fund acquisitions and similar random acts of kindness, but this is not an educational piece on how to live your life in God's image.

This is a call to arms!

One of our brethren has fallen upon hard times and we cannot allow him to make this stand on his own. The evil empire of UConn football and their blue-hoodie-wearing mob of hooligans have besieged a good, honest man who only wants what is right.

Well, maybe he only wants what is right-wing. But that's close enough.

What is this world coming to when a multi-million dollar donation doesn't buy you a university?! If you ask me, it should have come complete with the school, full credit for the women's basketball winning streak, Geno Auriemma's hair, a book deal for Khalid El Amin's diet secrets, a renaming of the city from Storrs to something with a middle initial and four happy endings from at least two different Asian co-eds.

If it was me, I would have also asked for the number three million to be retired so that no player could wear that number for as long as UConn has sports teams. But I'm not meek.

Mr. Robert G. Burton, Sr. is.