Postel’s giving to UofL has been spotty through 23-year career

Greg Postel became Interim President of the University of Louisville in January 2017 (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Greg Postel, who has been on the University of Louisville payroll since 1994, says he cares a great deal about the school, suggesting that he has been very supportive of UofL.  His financial support, however, while notable, has been erratic, and interesting in one instance.

Postel’s record of giving to the University is relevant because he wants to be UofL’s next President, responsible for overseeing and growing the school endowment, now valued in the neighborhood of $770 million.   Postel would be the individual expected to inspire donors to invest in the University’s future. It would help if he had been generous himself.

An open records request to the University by UofLCardGame yielded the information that Postel has donated a total of $36,120 to UofL over the past 23 years. That’s for an employee currently drawing at least $950,000 annually, serving as Interim President of the school and Interim Executive Vice President for Health Affairs.

Postel’s most significant donation to the University was on December 1, 1998 when as Assistant Professor of Radiology  he made a lump sum gift of $35,000 to the UofL School of Medicine. Coincidentally, he was named permanent Chairman of the Radiology Department in April just five months later.

This largest gift coming during the administration of former UofL President John Shumaker who reportedly increased the school’s endowment from $183 million to $500 million from 1995 to 2001. No way of knowing 20 years later whether there was any relationship between the gift and the appointment. The timing is interesting.

Postel actually has made only three financial donations to the school, all of them to the School of Medicine. His second financial contribution was 14 years later. It was a gift of $1,000 to the school and the J. Graham Brown Cancer Center in connection with the old Mint Julep Ball before the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

His most recent gift to UofL came four years ago in October of 2014 when he pledged a modest $120, again to the School of Medicine. The money was deducted in amounts of $10 each via payroll deductions over the next 12 months. He has made no contributions to UofL athletics or other academic programs.

The initial gift of $35,000 was credited solely to Postel. The subsequent donations were in the name of Postel and his wife Sally L. Postel, a University of Kentucky graduate. A response to an open records request to UK indicated that the Postels have made no contributions to the Lexington school.

According to the response to our information request on Dec. 21st, Postel had not made any additional financial contributions to UofL since becoming Interim President in January 2017.

Money trail for UofL Trustees: one-sided support for one school

Follow the money, they said. So we did.

Any concerns of University of Louisville supporters about possible relationships between some UofL Trustees and the University of Kentucky appear to be misplaced.  The financial ties are minimal at best based on actual giving patterns.

Lifetime contributions to UofL from the trustees dwarf the giving to UK, with Louisville institution receiving a total of $30.5 million in overall financial gifts as compared to $1.6 million to the Lexington school. That’s according to the responses of UofL and UK to open records requests from Card Game.

A request was submitted to the University of Kentucky Alumni Department and Office of Philanthropy following our recent publication of a list of trustee donations to UofL that prompted some concern about possible UK bias on the board. The UofL records were through August, the UK results were through last week. Here are the results (click on the list to enlarge).

Gifts to the athletics programs from the trustees included $19.2 million to UofL and $72,660 to Kentucky. The bulk of contributions to UofL athletics was from John Schnatter for naming rights to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Four other trustees have given a total of $82,000 to UofL athletics, including David Grissom, James Rogers, Sandra Frazier and Ronald Wright.

Only two UofL trustees have contributed to UK athletics, including donations of $64,150 from Schnatter and $8,510 from Brian Cromer.

UofL also receives a much higher percentage of trustee giving to the universities, with Louisville getting $11.2 million from 11 members, compared to Kentucky receiving $1.55 million from four members of the UofL board.

Academic gifts to UofL included $5.7 million from Schnatter, $5.3 million from Frazier, $108,047 from Grissom, $25,650 from Dianne Medley, and $4,748 from Enid Trucious-Hayes. Gifts of $700 or less have come from William Armstrong, Raymond Burse, Vishnu Tirumula, James Rogers and Cromer.

Brian Cromer, a UK grad who voted against firing Tom Jurich as Athletic Director, is the only UofL Trustee who has given more to UK than Louisville.

— Cromer, a UK grad, voted against firing Tom Jurich at the Oct. 10 meeting of the UofL Board. As stated above, he has given $8,510 to UK athletics but none to UofL athletics. He has given $285 to UK for academics and $75 to UofL for academics.

— William Armstrong, another UK graduate, has given $640 to UofL, all of it for academics, while giving nothing to Kentucky. Bonita Black, the third UK grad on the board, has not made any contributions to either university.

— James Roger, the UofL product who made the motion to fire Jurich, has given $50,350 to UofL athletics and $100 to academics.

— Nitin Sahney, the University of Punjab, India graduate, also has not contributed any money to either school.

— The list of Schnatter contributions to UK academics includes $5,000 to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. All of his gifts come under the auspices of the Schnatter Family Foundation.

— Of Grissom’s $350 in gifts to UK academics, a total of $250 was to the Sanders-Brown Center for Aging.

If following the money is the key to discerning the motives of the trustees, they are obviously more prone to supporting UofL than UK — at least among those who are making actual contributions. If the theory is true, the collective loyalty of the members heavily leans in the direction of UofL.

There is, however, a significant disparity between the top five givers and the rest of the board, with several members seemingly needing to loosen the grips on their purse strings. Board membership should include a strong commitment to supporting UofL’s financial well-being. That would eliminate any questions about loyalties.

Neutral Zone combines UofL and UK stores

Quite the surprise, pulling into the parking lot in front of the Neutral Zone’s University of Louisville store on Blankenbaker Parkway. The doors are locked, the merchandise is gone and the store fixtures for sale.

Whoa. Not good news for UofL fans, who had almost taken for granted the luxury of having a Cardinal-dedicated store for about 15 years. Some can remember the bad old days when it was a challenge to find a decent UofL shirt at the old Bacon’s.

Apparently the hefty prices and the lulls between championship seasons have finally caught up with the Neutral Zone. That and all the competition from newer retail sources, including Cardinal Authentic, J.D. Becker, Fanwear, as well as GoCards.com.

IMG_2341So many places for Louisville fans to shop these day.

The company allowed the lease to expire on its 10,000-square-foot store and has moved all of its UofL merchandise to a store formerly devoted to University of Kentucky goods in the same shopping center.

The future of the former Kentucky-only store, which is now split between UofL and UK goods, is of short duration. An individual at the cash register explained that the lease on the UofL store expired first and that the Neutral Zone will leave the shopping center when the former UK store lease is up. He said they plan to locate elsewhere in Middletown.

All merchandise at the store has been discounted to 50% off and has been since May.

Happy Easter, and Kentucky is done

A beautiful Easter Sunday.

What a weekend in Louisville with the enormous fire at Appliance Park and all the flooding, the road closures and other damage throughout the community. It almost hit home Friday, Barbara shrieking from the basement about “flooding.”I had just tested the carpet with my feet a few minutes earlier and found nothing. Oh, no, as I go running down the steps.

Turns out to be a broken CVC connection, located above the sump pump, leading ground water into the basement on a non-carpeted area. Thankfully a slow trickle, the water emptying outside the sump pump basin. Quick trip to Lowe’s for a new elbow and some plumber’s putty, and the water is going back to the sump pump.

The area is completely dry a few hours later. Some do-it-yourself projects are actually easier than others. But there was still another concern.

The biggest sigh of relief would come the next day at around 11 p.m. after Wisconsin has eliminated Kentucky in the NCAA basketball tournament, immediately squelching all talk about pursuing perfection and a ninth national championship.

The UK fans were subdued, almost difficult to find in church Sunday morning. No UK flags on cars in the parking lot. The only trace of UK apparel to be found on a youngster about 7 years old. The guy sitting next to us wearing a Wisconsin sweatshirt, enjoying new levels of popularity with University of Louisville fans in the congregation.

No smug looks, or mentions of perfect seasons. Happy Easter weekend, indeed.

Denny Crum, Joe Hall want to continue radio show

A decade ago, the Joe B and Denny Show on WKRD Radio was a big hit with local sports fans, providing an opportunity for them to hear debate on issues. That, of course, was before ESPN-680 and a couple of other radio stations wised up to the ratings value.

Now University of Louisville fans can catch up on their favorite athletic program on different stations throughout the day. UK fans as well.

Denny Crum and Joe Hall
Denny Crum and Joe Hall

Twitter was abuzz Thursday evening with reports that the Joe B and Denny Show was coming to an end. Those reports may have been premature.

Joe Hall, the former University of Kentucky basketball coach, and Denny Crum, his counterpart at UofL, have been doing the show for 10 years. Hall broadcasting from WVLK in Lexington, and Crume behind the microphone at WKRD in Louisville. While their primary focus is on the state’s two leading programs, they also discussed a lot of other issues, and spend a lot of time talking about hunting and fishing. On Friday, they were discussing the deer and bear populations in Kentucky.

WKRD employees received an email from station management Thursday that the show would end next week because WVLK is changing formats and was terminating its arrangement with the coaches.

Kelly Carls, the controversial program manager for Clear Channel stations in Louisville, told the Courier-Journal’s Adam Himmelsbach that he wanted to continue the relationship. “We’ve got a 10-year relationship with the coaches now and loved every minute of it,” Carls said. “So it’s basically up to them how long they want to do the show.”

The coaches have said they want to continue the show, which is also broadcast on other stations in the state, including WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green. Lexington has two other AM stations and nine FM stations so there would appear to be some viable options in parts of the state that worship anything UK blue.

Hopefully the show will continue. Their folksy, down home approach is  at least an alternative to some of the biased and argumentative approaches of other shows.