GAINESVILLE — University of Florida (UF) Vice President and General Counsel Jamie Keith has resigned from her position effective June 28 following months of escalating conflict and the university's resulting internal investigation.
Some speculate issues began when Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson was hired by Antonio Callaway, a UF wide receiver, when he faced a Title IX hearing in 2016. Since then, fiction between Johnson and Keith had been mounting.
“(I knew she wasn’t good for UF) when she lied to me,” Johnson of Johnson & Osteryoung P.A. told the Florida Record. “She lied to me on several things, and it doesn’t matter to me that the public knows what they were. What matters to me is that she lied and when she lied to me that got me very interested in her and her role at the University of Florida.”
Johnson’s conflict with Keith allegedly continued when he filed a lawsuit against UF for failing to fulfill his 38 public records law requests regarding her files. He later requested the State University System investigate her office and then petitioned UF’s board of trustees, questioning her competence and ethics. Johnson's records requests allegedly included complaints about Keith to UF’s ethics hotline and negative feedback by her staff about Keith’s performance. It was also reported that some UF public records were destroyed.
“I’m not surprised by her resignation – that was a no-brainer,” Johnson said. “The investigation the University of Florida is doing will be very, very revealing and that’s one of the things I’m waiting for, is the finality of that report being filed and then I will feel free to (speak on the matter).”
Though he isn’t granting official interviews at this time he is clear about one thing.
“I will (speak) at a later time, but let me say this: I went to the University of Florida – the University of Florida is a better place for Jamie Keith not being there," he said.
As for the UF, though they released a statement about Keith’s resignation, they remain tight-lipped about the whole affair.
“Basically (this statement) is the extent of what I can share,” Margot Winick, director of communications at UF, said. “I’m not sure that there’s any new information at this time.”
Janine Sikes, UF’s assistant vice president of public affairs, was also asked about the situation between Keith and Johnson.
“It would not be appropriate to comment as we still have a pending public records lawsuit with him," Sikes said.
Winick sent the Florida Record a copy of UF’s previously released statement, that reads: “University of Florida Vice President, General Counsel, and University Secretary Jamie Lewis Keith has resigned her position.
“Jamie Lewis Keith has made many significant contributions to the University of Florida over the past 10 years,” said President Kent Fuchs. “She was committed to advancing UF’s interests, supporting our board and serving as a trusted advisor. On the national level, Jamie has been active on higher education, diversity and research issues.”
Under an agreement reached by the university and Keith, she will be compensated for unused leave and a prorated retention payment contained in an employment contract signed in 2014. She will also receive a severance payment, relocation expenses and attorney fees. She will be on leave through June 28.
The internal investigation involving Keith is ongoing and is expected to be completed in a few weeks.