March 14, 2017

U of L Foundation overspent under Ramsey

University of Louisville Foundation, ULF

By Shelby Brown–

The U of L Foundation overspent drastically under former president James Ramsey, over-reported its assets and is struggling to find new donors, according to a report in today’s meeting.

Foundation executive director Keith Sherman said Ramsey’s capital campaign of $1 billion dollars from 2007 to 2014 was “overhyped with ‘alternative math.'” The actual cash received by the foundation, according to Sherman, averaged only $24 million yearly since 2011.

Sherman said foundation money to U of L will be reduced due to overspending under Ramsey. They plan to disperse $75 million to the university this fiscal year.

Slashes in foundation funding to the university will start July 1. “We are going back to a true spend policy and saying this is what we can afford,” Sherman said.

The board also heard the foundation spent from 5.8 percent to 7.8 percent of its total the last four years, WDRB reported. Sherman said 4.5 is a more sustainable spending rate.

Donations and pledges have plunged this fiscal year, receiving $17 million compared to $47 million last year.

Attorney David Saffer said the foundation created a separate limited liability company, DCPA, to dispense $20 million in extra compensation to a dozen high-placed administrators, saying it was actually created to “hide” those controversial payments.

Prior to his resignation, Ramsey received a check for over $3 million dollars in deferred compensation. It included “stocks, bonds and other securities” from U of L’s endowment.

WDRB reported that Saffer used the word “obfuscation” in relation to why the programs were not made public. He later said he regretted his choice of words, saying that “the intention was never to conceal compensation from the public.”

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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