C.J.: What's a little rain at graduation when the president is speaking

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 29, 2013 - 7:22 PM

Morehouse grad Jordan Sprenger-Wilson is headed to Hamline law school.

Morehouse College 2013 grad Jordan Sprenger-Wilson got soaked while hearing President Obama speak at commencement earlier this month, but it was worth it.

“By the end of it, I was pretty wet,” said the Minnesota native. “I was just excited the president was going to speak. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were finished, ready to move on to the next step. I can deal with a little bit of rain.”

The outdoor commencement was no picnic. Morehouse grads check in for commencement between 5:30 and 6 a.m., to avoid traffic and be present for a series of moving traditional ceremonial moments with alumni.

Normally the graduation ceremony begins at 8 a.m. But to accommodate the president, or more likely Secret Service, this year it started at 11 a.m. And there was rain.

Family members — Jordan had seven from Minnesota and two from D.C. — were only allowed to combat the weather with dispensed ponchos. Umbrellas were not allowed. An aunt’s shoes might have been ruined.

The father of 8-month-old Harper Wilson and the son of Sara Sprenger-Otto and Todd Wilson, both of the Twin Cities, Jordan is following in the footsteps of his famed grandfather, attorney Paul Sprenger, who had a long career in Minnesota before moving to Washington, D.C., some 20 years ago.

Famous for taking on corporate giants from 3M to Cargill on behalf of workers, Sprenger’s most high-profile case established the first class-action sexual harassment case when miner Lois Jenson took on Eveleth Taconite Co. The landmark case was depicted in the movie “North Country.”

Sprenger joked in a 2009 Star Tribune interview that even though he was quite a bit older than Woody Harrelson, who played a character based on Sprenger, he had more hair than the actor.

Sprenger-Wilson said his grandfather is “not really” still practicing, “but he never really will quit.”

In August, Sprenger-Wilson is scheduled to start law school at Hamline University.

Humphries lawsuit

TMZ is reporting Kris Humphries is “firing back in legal docs” against Tracy Paradise, who is suing the NBAer for terminating her employment as his personal assistant.

“Tracy claimed she and Kris entered into a one-year contract, in which Kris agreed to pay her $75,000 (plus housing costs) in exchange for personal assistant services. Tracy says she worked for KH from February to September 2012, but was abruptly fired and never saw the rest of her cash. But Kris says Tracy got her facts wrong, she was NEVER a contract employee and should ONLY get paid for hours clocked.”

An alleged e-mail to Paradise from Humphries’ mom, Debra Humphries, who was also named a defendant in Paradise’s lawsuit, refers to Tracy’s employment status as that of an “independent contractor.” As in: “As an independent contractor, we can’t pay you for vacation, etc.”

Humphries’ attorney, Lee Hutton III, blew off the TMZ story Wednesday, saying as “is not accurate at all. It’s unfortunate that a personal assistant invades the private life of celebrities to try to manipulate the system. One of her claims is that Kris stole a blender and a mug. Give me a break.”

Paradise’s attorney did not return my call.

Cargills among most generous

The May issue of Town & Country listed Minnesota’s Cargill family among the “10 Most Generous.”

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