July 19, 2018

Board of trustees lost two members in two days

By Joseph Lyell —

Brian Cromer resigned from the board of trustees July 10, citing his employment with Stites & Harbison, PLLC as the reason for his departure.

His resignation came the day before “Papa” John Schnatter stepped down from the board after admitting to using the N-word in a conference call with Papa John’s executives.

U of L is currently suing Stites & Harbison, where Cromer is a partner. The university alleges the firm and other parties including ex-president James Ramsey were actively involved in the planning, execution and cover-up of the illegal misconduct that occurred under Ramsey.

The alleged charges include breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent appropriations and improper diversion of funds for personal gain.

In April, Cromer recused himself from the board’s discussions about litigation with Stites & Harbison.

President Neeli Bendapudi said the litigation could bring the firm and the university into a potentially adversarial relationship, so he stepped down to avoid conflict.

“He wanted to do his fiduciary duty by both organizations,” Bendapudi said.

Cromer and Schnatter’s replacements will be appointed by Governor Matt Bevin, but Bendapudi said she hasn’t heard when to expect new trustees to be named.

During a July 19 board of trustees meeting, chair David Grissom said the university and the state are seeking nominations for the empty seats.

“At this point, we’re waiting for more nominations to come in,” Bendapudi said.

Cromer and Governor Bevin’s press office each did not return calls from The Cardinal.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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