UCF to student: truck off

For Kevin Koenig, the choice was clear: continue to fight, or continue to own a pickup. He chose the pickup. Koenig sued UCF President John Hitt and the state Board of Regents last year after Hitt dissolved the student government. Koenig, a student senate leader, claimed his rights had been violated. Hitt acted after student leaders refused to reign in their spending, which included skybox seats for an away football game and an attempt to procure a Lincoln town Car. State law gave Hitt permission to act as he did. Koenig fought anyway, but last week admitted defeat. "I was faced with a $30,000 legal bill," the 26-year-old criminal justice major says. "I could have appealedâ?¦But during that time they would have taken my truck, my stereo, everything I have." The settlement basically has everyone drop all their claims, and forbids Koenig from raising them again. He had previously dropped claims against Regents, only to refile later. It was that behavior, and Koenig's refusal to promise not to sue Hitt again, that begat the hardball tactics. "I said, 'I want a guarantee that you won't bring Hitt back in. I'll waive the legal fees if you do that. He said no," says Carl W. Hartley Jr., Hitt's lawyer in the case. State law allows a defendant who is dismissed from a case, as Hitt has been, to collect his legal fees immediately. But Koenig did not have $30,000, or a portion thereof, to spare. "I gave it my best shot," Koenig says. "The administration pulled out all the stops." And they weren't bluffing. "Did I suggest to Koenig's lawyer that his truck was in danger?" says Hartley. "yes."
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