- Associated Press - Thursday, April 19, 2012

HARRISBURG, PA. (AP) - The lawyer for Joe Paterno’s family says that the university’s payment of millions under the former coach’s employment contract wasn’t a settlement and that the family declined a request for a full release.

Wick Sollers issued a statement Thursday after the school disclosed it had provided the estate with more than $5.5 million in money and benefits to finalize the payments due under the contract.

Sollers said the university asked the family for a full release in return for the payments. But “that request was declined, and no release was signed.”

The payments and benefits include a $3 million career bonus and his family’s use of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years.

Paterno died at age 85 in January from lung cancer.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Penn State says it provided Joe Paterno’s estate with more than $5.5 million in payments and benefits Thursday to settle his employment contract.

School spokesman Bill Mahon said the university and Paterno’s estate finalized the remaining payments that were due to the longtime coach, who was fired in November in the wake of former assistant Jerry Sandusky’s arrest on child sexual abuse charges.

Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.

A breakdown provided by the school included: a career bonus of $3 million; an annual bonus of $425,000; the use by Paterno’s family of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years, valued at $1.5 million; and $900,000 from television and radio revenue from last season.

The deal also pledges payments to the coach’s widow, Sue Paterno, of $1,000 a month for life, and gives her on-campus parking and access to university hydrotherapy equipment.

No one answered the phone at the Paterno home in State College late Thursday, and messages for Paterno lawyer Wick Sollers and spokesman Dan McGinn were not immediately returned.

Other elements of the package include a final paycheck of $34,000; a death benefit of $51,000; a bowl bonus of $50,000 and $350,000 _ payable over five years _ under a 1986 consulting agreement. The university also agreed to forgive $350,000 in outstanding loans and debt. No explanation was provided regarding Paterno’s debts to the school.

While the school said in a news release that the total value of the package was “over $5.5 million,” added together the various elements are worth about $6.7 million.

Mahon said the trustees decided to honor the terms of Paterno’s contract as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 season.

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