Local Kappa Alpha sued by national chapter for house, possessions
The national Kappa Alpha fraternity organization filed a lawsuit against its former UT chapter, claiming the group owes the national organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets.
The lawsuit alleges the UT group hired exotic dancers that performed live sexual acts for recruitment purposes and hazed pledge members. When the national organization suspended the UT chapter for the incident in June, the UT chapter disassociated and formed Texas Omicron, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit demands the return of delinquent dues, real estate at 2515 Leon St., kitchen appliances, artwork and other property the national chapter alleges belongs to the Kappa Alpha organization.
Attorney Robert Alden is an alumnus and board member of UT Texas Omicron. He said he believes the lawsuit is just a way for Kappa Alpha to embarrass Texas Omicron because it is the only chapter to ever leave the national organization.
“The lawsuit is full of inflammatory language intended to generate bad publicity for the chapter,” Alden said. “They are completely irrelevant for the merits of the legal claims they’ve made and are inappropriate to even be in a pleading.”
But Kappa Alpha said in a Tuesday press release that its former Texas chapter violated the fraternity’s law when it decided to form a “rogue, independent chapter” while holding $200,000 of possessions the national organization says belong to them.
“Kappa Alpha law expressly forbids this action,” the organization’s press release said. “Regrettably, the national organization will have little choice but to seek the expulsion of each individual, undergraduate or alumnus involved in this effort.”
Alden said the national Kappa Alpha organization filed the suit after the alumni board and active UT chapter decided to leave the Kappa Alpha organization when the national office made allegations of fraternity misconduct in May. The national Kappa Alpha organization punished the chapter by threatening to seize its fraternity house.
Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said the University will conduct its own investigation into the allegations of the lawsuit. The University had already been working with Kappa Alpha national and local representatives since 2004, when the fraternity was suspended because of hazing, when new hazing allegations arose in 2011, a statement released Tuesday said.
“We take allegations like this extremely seriously and will not tolerate hazing of any sort in our student organizations,” Reagins-Lilly said in a statement issued by her office. “We began investigating immediately. The lawsuit lays out additional allegations that we will also look into.”
Alden said alumni conducted their own investigation into allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct.
“The alumni advisers for the chapter investigated these allegations and we have not found any evidence of hazing,” Alden said. “As for the sex show, there’s a lady with her sidekick who comes around to all the fraternities and offers her services. Omicron wasn’t the only one. She does this nationally.”
Alden said the UT chapter enacted its own disciplinary measures that it believed were more appropriate than national Kappa Alpha’s more severe terms.
“It’s not acceptable behavior,” Alden said. “We’ve taken corrective action, and that kind of thing will never happen again.”
© 2011 Texas
Associated Press via Longview News-Journal
Posted September 28, 2011
frat faces allegations of sex shows, hazing
AUSTIN- A suspended University of Texas fraternity hazed recruits and hired performers for live sex shows, according to a lawsuit filed by the fraternity’s national organization that seeks to recover more than $200,000 in money and property from its former local chapter.
The Texas Kappa Alpha fraternity was suspended for two years by the national organization in June, but has continued to represent itself as being affiliated with the national Kappa Alpha Order, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 21.
A spokesman for the suspended chapter on Tuesday denied the hazing accusation, but acknowledged the fraternity hosted a female adult entertainer and her partner on at least one occasion.
Hazing in Texas is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to two years in jail.
The lawsuit provided no details on the hazing and sex show allegations, but Jim Ewbank, an Austin attorney representing the Lexington, Va.-based national fraternity, said the hazing included pushing and shoving pledges and forcing them to do calisthenics on multiple occasions.
Ewbank said the hazing did not cause any serious injuries, but the organization reported its findings to the university to determine if criminal charges should be pursued.
“This lawsuit is about getting property back. The press likes to pick up on the salacious stuff, like hazing and sex acts,” Ewbank said.
University of Texas Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly said the university has suspended the fraternity as a student organization.
The university “will not tolerate hazing of any sort in our student organizations. We are investigating and reserve the right to take action based on our findings,” Reagins-Lilly said.