By Chris Acree —
What did your former employer give you the last time you quit a job? Heartfelt well-wishes? A free food item? A reminder to not let the doorknob hit your posterior upon your exit of the building?
Whatever it was, I can bet that it wasn’t as good as our dear former president James Ramsey. Not only did he get a sweet check for almost $700,000 on his way out, he gets to mosey on down to Central Avenue where the U of L Foundation is building new digs just for him.
While Ramsey resigned as president of U of L, he is still officially the president of the U of L Foundation – the group that handles the school’s $680 million endowment. It is a pretty cushy deal for Ramsey, enabling him to essentially pay himself and some of his staff members millions of dollars in the last few years.
Ramsey’s contract with ULF requires his removal from the presidency of the organization for a couple different reasons, including if he were to ever resign as head of the university itself.
Whether or not this will actually happen is up to Ramsey and the foundation. Considering the construction of the aforementioned new office space, it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll be sticking around for a while longer.
His ouster as the head of the school has led to questions of whether or not he should stay on as the ULF head. Considering all of the craziness that surrounded the last year of his tenure, and the creation/destruction of a new board/not-board, some have said a clean break from the university might not be the worst idea. The new administration, whether that be former Provost/acting President Neville Pinto or whoever, is probably not going to want the old boss looking over their shoulders, especially whilst holding the purse strings.
I, however, respectfully disagree. I think Ramsey needs to stick around.
The issues concerning this school, particularly financially, grow legion. Last week it was announced the IRS is auditing the school, looking into Ramsey, former provost Shirley Willihnganz and the basketball and football coaches.
According to Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon, the state’s audit of the foundation is wrapping up. These are just two line items on top of all the other federal and state government attention we’ve been getting.
If Ramsey bolts now, with this myriad of issues unresolved and the fat lady yet to sing, he’ll join the long line of corporate executives, higher-ups and rich guys who have set dumpsters aflame and are nowhere to be found right before the fire department arrives. And the little guys, be they rank-and-file employees or lowly students, are left to wallow in the ashes.
If chicanery has occurred, and there has been an awful lot of smoke for no fire to continue the analogy, the right people need to be held accountable and not allowed to get out of dodge before judgement gets handed down.
But all of this pales in comparison to the most important reason I think Ramsey should remain attached to the foundation. If he leaves, what the hell am I going to write about every week?