After years of disgraced alumnus Al Moriarty’s name emblazoned on the scoreboard at the campus sports stadium, Cal Poly can finally remove the convicted fraudster’s name, but not for free.
After legal wrangling with the bankruptcy court in charge of Moriarty’s estate, the university announced that it agreed to pay $480,000 to remove his name from the Spanos Stadium scoreboard.
“It has been a priority to resolve this matter amicably and to remove the Moriarty name from the scoreboard, which has served as a painful reminder to Mr. Moriarty’s victims and to the campus community,” a university press release stated. “The settlement brings closure to a difficult situation and re-establishes the university’s control over the scoreboard.”
In August 2014 Moriarty pleaded no contest to seven felony charges and was sentenced to five years in SLO County Jail in connection with running a Ponzi scheme through his company, Moriarty Enterprises, that defrauded his victims out of millions of dollars.
The name of the company was placed on the scoreboard after Moriarty, a former Cal Poly football player later inducted into the university’s hall of fame, donated $625,000 for it. The scoreboard was installed just before the 2009 football season. The naming rights allowed the name to remain on the scoreboard in perpetuity.
In an interview with Cal Poly Magazine shortly after the donation, Moriarty praised his alma mater.
“Look what we have to sell,” he reportedly said. “We have a gold mine around here.”
Since the fraud allegations surfaced in 2012, and through Moriarty’s trial and subsequent conviction, the university attempted to take the name off the scoreboard but was prohibited from doing so. Eventually, the university was allowed to cover up the name.
The $480,000 Cal Poly will shell out to take the name down covers the estimated cost of the naming rights for the remaining life of the scoreboard, according to Cal Poly officials. The money will come from the Cal Poly Foundation and will not come from state or general tuition funds.
Moriarty, 82, remains in custody in SLO County Jail. According to online jail records, he’s slated for release in December.