LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Hidden records, unauthorized purchases and salaries paid for by shell corporations headline the finding of a private audit of the UofL Foundation Board. For hours, the UofL Board of Trustees reviewed the audit before releasing it publicly. Chairman J. David Grissom made a short statement after the review.
"The report paints a disturbing picture," he said.
Afterwards, he declined to take any questions along with interim University President Greg Postel and UofL Foundation Chairwoman Diane Medley.
"The forensic investigation speaks for itself," Grissom said.
The audit highlights what it calls "excessive", "un-budgeted" and "unauthorized" spending total tens of millions of dollars.
For example, the foundation burned $17.6 million dollars of endowment money on "executive compensation" and "bowl game trips" when it was supposed to be used for "special projects".
It put $9.9 million into "high risk startup companies" that are now worth just under $2 million total.
Many decisions the foundation made were without the board understanding, according to the audit.
Members interviewed said public meetings "were scripted" and "questions were discouraged."
Former President Ramsey refused to be interviewed as part of the private audit headed by Alvarez & Marsal Disputes and Investigations.
The audit adds that "UofL IT had erased and repurposed Dr. Ramsey's hard drive" before they could see it and that, "Although UofL had put certain employees' email accounts on 'litigation hold', UofL did not preserve all available computer hard drives or other devices utilized by these employees."
Ramsey's Chief of Staff Kathleen Smith repeatedly tried to hide information according to the audit.
For instance, in an email exchange about Larry Owsley "being forced into retirement", Smith told David Saffer she wanted to, "make the paper trail to our holdings as obscure as possible".
Smith told Senior Associate AD Kevin Miller to, "destroy your earlier note to me" when discussing trading "UofL salary increases in exchange for the use of two foundation properties."
In a section regarding the athletic association, the audit shows how the foundation spent $4 million to buy the UofL golf course when the athletic
association thought the owner might sell.
It also outlines a 10-year agreement where the president's office would receive more than 500 men's basketball tickets and nearly 80 football tickets
at a massive discount.
It revealed that Mark Jurich, son of AD Tom Jurich, received a $160,860 salary from the foundation, too. Jurich's recorded total compensation from the Foundation was $767,208.
The 12-page Executive Summary is below:
If you want to read the full, 269-page report, click here.
"This audit reflects activity that took place during a previous administration," Postel said.
That was the line UofL stuck to, and added it's looking at legal action, which will be decided on in a few weeks.
"It answers many questions about the past, and hopefully will begin to close the door on a very difficult chapter in the university's history," Postel said.