University of Louisville trustee asks state auditor to examine u - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville trustee asks state auditor to examine university, foundation

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Steve Wilson Steve Wilson
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A member of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees has asked Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen to conduct a “truly independent accounting” of the finances of the university and its separate, $1.1 billion foundation, following reports by WDRB and other media of million-dollar executive compensation packages.

“I have for some time been troubled by the lack of information that the Board of Trustees receives from the Administration and Chairman of the Board,” U of L trustee Steve Wilson wrote Tuesday in an email to Edelen's office. “Various events - too numerous to list - have led me to be concerned about fulfilling my fiduciary and statutory responsibilities as a Board member.”

Wilson's assistant shared his email to Edelen's office, but Wilson was unavailable for an interview on Wednesday.

The auditor's office was having “internal conversations” about getting involved in the U of L situation but no decision has been made and no formal process has begun, Edelen spokeswoman Stephenie Hoelscher said Tuesday. She had nothing to add on Wednesday.

The Courier-Journal reported Wednesday that Wilson and fellow trustee Craig Greenberg have called for the foundation to be put under the control of the university trustees.

Greenberg and Wilson are among the founders of Louisville-based boutique hotel company 21C Museum Hotels, of which Greenberg is president. Greenberg said he too was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.

While separate organizations, the foundation and university have four board members in common, and U of L President James Ramsey is also president of the foundation. The boards have had separate chairpersons in the past, but they are both currently chaired by western Kentucky physician Robert Hughes.

The foundation is audited annually by accounting firm BKD, LLP and its last four audits are posted on the foundation's website.

Hughes told the newspaper that Wilson and Greenberg should have brought their concerns to the trustees and not to the press.

The full text of Wilson's email to Edelen's office is below.

Dear Auditor Edelen:

As you know, I serve on the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville, by appointment of the Governor.   I have for some time been troubled by the lack of information that the Board of Trustees receives from the Administration and Chairman of the Board.  Various events - too numerous to list - have led me to be concerned about fulfilling my fiduciary and statutory responsibilities as a Board member. 

Complicating governance issues for the Board of Trustees is the different leadership and separate operation of the University of Louisville Foundation.  As you, too, may have read in the press, the Board of Trustees has been unaware of certain compensation arrangements from the Foundation to certain University Administration members.  These arrangements, I believe, should have been provided to the Board of Trustees in order for us to meet our fiduciary and statutory responsibilities.

To really understand the relationship between the University and Foundation – as well as the administration of each – I believe we need a complete and truly independent accounting of the finances of both the University and the Foundation.

I hereby request you conduct an official Audit to provide the Board of Trustees and the public the information we all deserve.

Sincerely,

Steve Wilson
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