By Kyeland Jackson –
After an audit revealed financial dysfunction in the University of Louisville Foundation June 8, Kentucky’s top legal officer said he will decide whether the ULF broke laws.
Attorney General Andy Beshear announced the investigation in a press conference Monday, saying there could be criminal acts if foundation workers knowingly sought personal gain regardless of the ULF’s situation.
“The audit is very disturbing, and it’s concerning to watch how that money was mismanaged,” Beshear said in the press conference. “There is definite findings of gross mismanagement here, which is terrible considering that these are funds that are supposed to support the university.”
The U of L Foundation is tasked with managing and investing the university’s $790 million endowment, advancing university goals.
Thursday’s audit found damning evidence against former U of L President James Ramsey and his administration. Ramsey’s administration: loaned $52 million to the ULF companies which may not be repaid, paid more than $21 million to administrators in deferred compensation, hid and destroyed information from the public to cover its tracks and more.
Staff members were appalled by the audit’s findings, demanding legal action punish the former administration.
“As a body, we need to ensure … that this (the audit) is not quietly put to sleep,” Senator Alex McWilliams in Monday’s Staff Senate meeting. “If there is a legal path to take against any one of these individuals it should be explored to the fullest extent that we can.”
Ramsey and many of his former administrators do not work for the foundation now, part of efforts by the ULF’s new board to instigate change. Those changes include halting its deferred compensation plan, barring the university president from also being the foundation’s president, lowering spending, sharing documents with the public and more.
Board of Trustees Chair David Grissom said the board will decide whether they will take legal action against the former administration within weeks. The board is scheduled to meet Thursday in preparation for U of L’s budget and possibly to discuss the audit.