How does one go about getting to the bottom of an embarrassing fake girlfriend scandal that has tarnished the legacy of one of the greatest linebackers in Notre Dame history?
Why, with a fake investigation, of course — it is only fitting, after all.
Lennay Kekua was supposed to have been the love of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o's life. When the nation learned that the Irish captain had been forced to deal with the dual deaths of both his grandmother and Kekua in a six-hour span, hearts broke for the young man around the country. Then Deadspin literally spun the sporting world onto its head when it exposed the fact that Te’o's dead girlfriend was actually a total and complete fraud.
Once the story broke, Notre Dame brass immediately went into crisis mode to attempt to clean up the mess. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick, in a press conference, told the world that the school had already known about the hoax, that it had hired a private investigation firm to look into it and that it had been planning on making an announcement on the story themselves had it not been for Deadspin.
However, now, according to NBC Sports, that investigation did not lead anywhere because the investigators were not asked to actually, well, investigate.
A university spokesman admitted that the investigation firm literally did not conduct a single interview. It never spoke to Te’o, nor anyone in Te’o's family. Nor did the firm ever try to contact anyone named Lennay Kekua, or Roniah Tuiasosopo, the alleged perpetrator of one of the most elaborate, longstanding and public hoaxes ever recorded.
There was not a single e-mail, cell phone record or Twitter account examined.
Again, why wouldn’t a fake girlfriend result in a fake investigation?
Notre Dame’s decision-makers claim that the reason for the poor-to-completely-absent investigation was the fact that, technically, no laws were broken.
However, that is not quite true. ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap was finally able to hold a sit-down with Te’o once things calmed down a bit. In the interview, Te’o claimed that Kekua asked both himself and his roommate for their checking account numbers, a scam that may be unlawful if it is substantiated.
“Early on, she said that she was going to send me money, actually,” Te’o told Schaap. “And she wanted to send it and she wanted to directly deposit it into my account. So she wants to know my checking account number, which I didn’t give her. . . . I’m not giving my checking account number. I don’t care who you are. I’m not giving my checking account number out to you. Then she went on and asked my best friend, Robby. Hey, Rob, I want to help you guys out with groceries or help you guys pay for the bills for the house. I’ve saved up some money, you know. Give me your checking account number, and I’ll put it in there. . . . I told him, whatever you do, do not give out your checking account number.”
While, at least in Te’o's words, the All-American may have wised up to the scam a moment or so prior to its explosion onto the mainstream, the private investigation firm never did.
Because they never asked. They never even looked.
Next time, Swarbrick should just save the thousands of dollars and run a Google search himself. If the investigators did anything at all, it could not have been much more than that.