Bob Hughes submits resignation to UofL Foundation

Bob Hughes has submitted his resignation from the Board of Directors of the University of Louisville Foundation, expressing sadness and disappointment in ongoing attacks on individuals who made unprecedented progress possible at the University.

UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.
UofL grad Bob Hughes returned to chair both the UofL Board of Trustees and the UofL Foundation.

Hughes, a  physician from Murray, served as Chairman of the Foundation for 18 months. He was a supporter of Jim Ramsey, former President of both the University of Louisville and the UofL Foundation —  as well as Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff.

“Over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult for me to watch this work being attacked and halted to the detriment of the University and the individuals who worked so hard to make it happen,” he wrote in his letter of resignation to Foundation Chairman Brucie Moore.

“I have seen many loyal donors attacked publicly and privately for their support of a remarkable team that brought so many successes to the University of Louisville.”

Hughes, former Chairman of UofL Board of Trustees, said he will continue to serve on the UofL Board through his term that expires on June 30, 2017. “I have served on the board for 12 years and haven’t missed a meeting,” he said. “I think I bring some historical perspective that I believe will be valuable as we move forward.”

Hughes admits he has some concerns about the Presidential search process, which he believes is on hold until the issues raised by a Justice Resource Center lawsuit are settled. That can only be resolved with two or three more minority appointments from Governor Matt Bevin.

“Even more concerning is the involvement of some members of the Board of Trustees,” he told CardGame. “We could have a major challenge finding a new President or getting someone to take the job. You’ve got some members of the board wanting to micromanage the University. That’s not your job as a board member, that’s why you hire administrators.”

Hughes, however, remains committed to UofL’s success, wishing the current leadership “the very best of results for the good of the University … so the school can return to the upward trajectory that has taken it to unprecedented heights.”

New UofL Foundation Chairman says lawsuit not necessary or productive

Every day is Game Day at the University of Louisville for Brucie Moore whose first challenge as the new Chairman of the UofL Foundation is the threat of a lawsuit from the UofL Board of Trustees.

Moore, who succeeded Bob Hughes in the role last Friday, said she didn’t believe “a legal lawsuit between the Trustees and the Foundation is necessary or productive.” She said the Foundation has approved the addition of two new personnel to help respond to numerous open records’ requests and intends to be as transparent as possible.

Larry Benz and Mark Lynn during Foundation board meeting Friday.
Larry Benz and Mark Lynn during Foundation board meeting Friday.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Moore is from Waverly in Union County where she serves as County Attorney/Prosecutor. She obtained her law degree from the University of Memphis. She also serves on the UofL Board of Trustees.

“My heart is with this University,” she told reporters. “As I walk around this campus, I see the students, I see the faculty and staff. It’s Game Day every day on this campus. This University has been here over 200 years. We’ve had a rocky few months but every major university responds to challenges, and we’re going to move forward.”

Moore said she was in favor of a forensic accounting of Foundation records, something “that means a lot of different things to different people. This Foundation has grown so much so quickly that we need to get our arms around this process.”

She believes the audit should be a joint effort between the Foundation and the University. “All members of the Board of Trustees are welcome to have input into the process, including the naming of the accounting firm.”

Moore was appointed to the UofL Board of Trustees in 2008 by then Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. According to the Courier-Journal, Moore has given at least $71,745 in campaign donations since 1998, including $4,000 to Beshear; $1,000 to Beshear’s son, Andrew; and $1,240 to the Kentucky Democratic Party.

According to sources, Gov. Beshear, a University of Kentucky grad, wanted to scuttle the UofL Foundation, and fold the organization under the auspices of the Board of Trustees. All recent Beshear appointments appear to be leaning in that direction.

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Last Friday, Jim Ramsey stepped down as President of the Foundation and Bob Hughes agreed to relinquish his chairmanship in the interest of the University and to promote harmony between the two organizations.

No indications as yet of any reciprocal actions from Larry Benz or Craig Greenberg, members of the Board of Trustees who led the attacks against Ramsey and the Foundation.

The Trustees will meet Thursday to consider nominations, the Foundation on Friday to consider requests for proposals to conduct the comprehensive audit.

UofL Trustees loom as distraction as Game Day comes to town

Great news that ESPN has selected the University of Louisville vs. Florida State football game on Saturday as the location for the enormously popular Game Day show. A milestone with significant recognition for the UofL football program.

UofL supporters, however, should hope that the current Board of Trustees doesn’t do anything to further exacerbate the friction that exists between different University factions. The potential for that to happen is very real.

Larry Benz, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and board member Craig Greenberg.
Larry Benz, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and board member Craig Greenberg.

The day before the game, the Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet with its counterpart from the UofL Foundation. The University board wants to conduct a forensic audit on the Foundation’s books and to fire Jim Ramsey from his Foundation post.

UofL Chairman Larry Benz last week described the Foundation, the University’s largest donor, as an “eyesore to the community,” citing a “culture of secrecy and lack of transparency” at the Foundation.

Benz also reflects the view of some Louisville real estate developers who have expressed competitive concerns about the Foundation’s  development efforts, intended to offset the State cuts  to the University’s budget.

“The Foundation at some point forgot its mission and instead got caught up in the allure of real estate to the detriment of the endowment and the university,” Benz said.

Not a coincidence that local developer and trustee Craig Greenberg, who has been a vocal critic of former President Jim Ramsey, was standing directly in back of Benz at the press briefing. Greenberg is a business partner to Steve Wilson, a developer and former trustee, who has also been critical, suggesting that the Foundation be folded into the University.

Exactly what Benz wants to accomplish at the Friday meeting is uncertain. What is obvious, however, is that emotions are running high on both sides, the University board and the Foundation.

“Our foundation has multiple subsidiaries, holding companies and single-purpose entities that make absolutely no sense,” Benz said. “So, forensic accounting expertise is needed to navigate this complex weave that the foundation has created over the last several years.”

Bob Hughes, who chairs the Foundation and is a University board member, hopes a lawsuit can be avoided. “I think reasonable people sitting around a table can come up with reasonable answers without the benefit of a lawsuit,” he said.

That appears to be a long shot, with some members of the University board apparently focused on just sending Ramsey packing, without any additional recognition, financial or otherwise, for his tenure at the University of Louisville.

Update: The scheduled meeting between the UofL and ULF boards has been cancelled.

 

Per Bob Hughes: UofL Foundation had no plans to fire Jim Ramsey

Contrary to a Courier-Journal report, Jim Ramsey was not going to be cut loose from the University of Louisville Foundation at a specially-called meeting of the group’s Executive Committee on Monday. Nor was his assistant Kathleen Smith going to be fired.

The meeting, which was canceled, had been scheduled quickly over the weekend following a missive from the J. Graham Brown Foundation on Friday demanding an audit and warning that it could withhold donations from the ULF without more transparency.

Jim Ramsey would have served as a resource under proposed agreement.
Jim Ramsey would have served as a resource under proposed agreement.

“Actually the main purpose of the meeting was to issue a Request for Proposal for a full audit as soon as possible and get the process started,” said Hughes. “We have the utmost respect for the Brown Foundation and what it has done for UofL.”

Ramsey’s future was to be discussed, based on preliminary discussions between Bob Hughes, ULF Chairman; Larry Benz, Chairman of the “old” UofL board, and Craig Greenberg, another UofL board member. “We were going to debate accepting Jim Ramsey’s resignation but to be available as a resource until June 30 of next year,” said Hughes. “They indicated they were in agreement and thanked me for taking the initiative.”

Continue reading “Per Bob Hughes: UofL Foundation had no plans to fire Jim Ramsey”

Attack on Jim Ramsey sinks to new low


Steve Wilson, a former member of the University of Louisville board of trustees, apparently will go to any length in his crusade to separate Jim Ramsey from his position as UofL President. That’s regardless of any embarrassment to any individual, the university or the board members.

While one, like the owner of the 21C Museum Hotel, may own truckloads of classic art, it’s obvious that money doesn’t buy class.

Wilson, or someone in his employ, this week authored a hit piece attacking Ramsey in the Louisville Eccentric Observer. The piece essentially questioned Ramsey’s dual role as university president and as chief executive of the University of Louisville Foundation.

A small group is unable to appreciate that all of Ramsey's efforts are focused on improving the university in every aspect possible.

The writer borrows from the analogy of “The Emperor Has No Clothes” to fit Wilson’s narrative of Ramsey having conflicts of interest coinciding with some recent embezzlement cases at the school. Wilson commissioned Jimmy Margulies, a nationally-syndicated artist in an obvious effort to ridicule the UofL president.

Curiously WHAS 11, which recently aired an erroneous report about a “secret meeting” at Ramsey’s house to discuss his “retirement,” also carried the same story on its web site.

Continue reading “Attack on Jim Ramsey sinks to new low”