I hear that Carol Folt and her team were not pleased with the timing of the story on USC buying her an $8.6 million house in Santa Monica.
They obviously knew the story was going to be published because Variety sought a comment on the purchase.
But the timing was bad for several reasons:
- It occurred during the pandemic.
- It stepped on the announcement that Folt would take a 20 percent pay cut.
- It paints the opposite image Folt intended because she goes out of her way to meet workers at all levels at USC and now looks like an elitist.
At this point, Folt will just try to ignore the criticism.
One thing USC needs to avoid is trying to paint the official presidential estate in San Marino as being too big, too unmanageable or in need of repairs, which has been an excuse some used for the move.
Several officials who work at USC tell me they believe that is a smokescreen to justify Folt’s personal preference to live in Santa Monica.
What she probably doesn’t realize is USC is essentially losing a third historic home in two years. The famed Gamble House severed ties last year after USC ran it for 52 years.
The owner of another historic landmark home in Pasadena (Arroyo del Rey) amended her will to no longer leave the house to the university last year.
Do you blame her? Especially after the USC-owned Freeman House in Hollywood, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, fell into disrepair and had valuable items stolen.
What’s the saying? Get your own house in order . . .