The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 21, 2014

Governor nominates Benson, Rucci to Penn State board

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett turned to a National Hockey League executive and a former director of the Pennsylvania Lottery on Friday to be the next two members of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

The governor nominated Buffalo Sabres chief development officer Cliff Benson — who also is a former member of the board and finance chairman of The Second Mile, the Jerry Sandusky-founded charity for children — and the lottery’s former executive director, Todd Rucci.

The nominees must be approved by a majority in the Pennsylvania Senate. Benson and Ricci would take the board seats currently held by Ira Lubert and Alvin Clemens.

The governor’s office called Benson “instrumental in facilitating” an $88 million donation by Sabres owner Terry Pegula that funded the university’s hockey program three years ago.

Sewickley resident Benson is a Penn State graduate who spent nearly four decades with Deloitte Tax LLP before retiring in 2010.

Rucci, who lives in Lititz, was executive director of the lottery from September 2011 until he resigned in November. He spent eight seasons with the New England Patriots after playing right tackle for the Nittany Lions. Previously a bank vice president, Rucci currently works as a government and community relations specialist with PAP Technologies.

A Corbett spokesman said the governor was aware of Benson’s involvement in The Second Mile, the charity founded in 1977 by Sandusky where the former Penn State assistant football coach met young men he was convicted of sexually abusing.

In April, a judge ruled The Second Mile could transfer $200,000 and other small assets to a Texas ministry that planned to assume some of its programs.

The Second Mile remains a legal entity and has some assets but no employees. It is in the process of being shut down, CEO David Woodle said.

The Pennsylvania governor appoints six of the 30 voting members of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, and three Cabinet members also serve as trustees. The board’s governing structure was amended after the Sandusky scandal so that the governor and university president no longer have votes.

Sandusky, 70, is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains he was wrongfully convicted and is asking the state Supreme Court to take his case on appeal.

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