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Grapevine: A better handle on scandal?

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Rutgers football players in a huddle in this file photo.

It turns out both finalists for the athletic director post at Rutgers University had experience dealing with allegations of abuse and intimidation by a coach.

Julie Hermann's experience became public knowledge last week, when reporters uncovered how Hermann's tenure as the women's volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee came to an abrupt end when her players accused her of verbal abuse and intimidation. Rutgers President Robert Barchi said the school thoroughly investigated Hermann's background and determined she was the best person to clean up the athletic department after the Mike Rice scandal. Like Hermann, Rice was accused of verbally abusing his players; unlike Hermann, Rice was caught on tape throwing basketballs at players.

The other finalist for the Rutgers job, University of Wisconsin deputy athletic director Sean T. Frazier, also has dealt with such allegations, but under very different circumstances. For starters, Frazier was the administrator in the scenario — not the accused coach. Frazier was the athletic director at Clarkson University, in New York, in 2002, when the school's hockey coach was accused of getting into a physical altercation with a player during a pickup game. The coach, Mark Morris, was fired after a 10-day investigation.

Dream closer to reality

The newly reinvigorated American Dream Meadowlands project was the source of buzz late last month, as retailers and insiders gathered at a top industry conference in Las Vegas.

A source told Grapevine the 3 million-square-foot retail and entertainment behemoth "is on everybody's radar, one way or another," especially when it came to the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual convention. The gathering included chatter that Triple Five, the Canadian developer for the project, is lining up well-known Manhattan brands like James Perse, H&M and Century 21 to help fill out its many retail spaces.

"There are a lot of people talking about it, a lot of tenants kind of comparing notes (about) who's going there," the source said. "I think it's probably the highest-profile project out there."

As with ICSS's New York conference in December, Triple Five reportedly had a leasing team at the Las Vegas event, which was held May 19 to 21. The conference came just days after the former Xanadu project took major steps forward, thanks to a series of approvals from the state agency overseeing the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

The agency, the Sports & Exposition Authority, voted to allow the site to be turned over to Triple Five and approved its plan to add water and amusement parks to the complex, despite looming opposition from the New York Jets and Giants. Company representatives said at the time that they hoped to take control of the site from its current lenders by the end of May.

Insurance appeal

The expansion of Medicaid in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act will bring thousands more New Jereyans into the program — and it also appears to be attracting managed-care companies to the state to compete for those new Medicaid clients.

Right now, four managed-care companies provide Medicaid to most of the program's 1.3 million members, under contracts with the state Department of Human Services. Grapevine has learned that an out-of-state managed-care company could enter New Jersey as early as this summer, and that a second entrant is also eyeing New Jersey's Medicaid market.

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact managing editor Joe Arney at joea@njbiz.com.

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