Former U of L foundation board member's first consulting deal w - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former U of L foundation board member's first consulting deal worth $27,000 a month

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Burt Deutsch Burt Deutsch
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After leaving the University of Louisville Foundation's board of directors in late 2013, the organization's former vice chairman was given a no-bid consulting contract with the foundation worth about $27,000 a month.

Burt Deutsch's original consulting deal lasted for seven months, until the foundation changed the compensation to a flat $10,000 per month starting July 1, 2014.

The more lucrative terms of the first consulting deal were revealed in a document provided this week to WDRB News under the Kentucky Open Records Act.

WDRB reported earlier this month that Deutsch, who was on the foundation's board for more than 20 years, had become a paid consultant after stepping down from the board following its September 2013 meeting.

The April 19 story was based on Deutsch's current, $120,000-a-year contract running from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

It was not until Monday that the foundation provided a copy of Deutsch's first contract covering Dec. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The original contract says Deutsch would work a projected 30 hours a week at an hourly rate of $225. That works out to $6,750 a week, or $351,000 on an annual basis. After receiving the original contract, WDRB requested invoices that would show the number of hours actually billed.

Deutsch was unavailable Wednesday because he was dealing with family matters after the recent passing of his sister, foundation attorney David Saffer said. Deutsch declined to be interviewed for WDRB's first story on the consulting deal.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey, who also is president of the foundation, offered the contract to Deutsch without advertising it for competitive bidding or seeking approval from the foundation's board of directors, as WDRB reported earlier this month.

Ramsey has declined to be interviewed and did not respond to an interview request Wednesday.

Deutsch, an attorney, is president emeritus and general counsel of the Corradino Group, a Louisville-based transportation engineering and planning firm.

Deutsch's current contract includes no estimate of the number of hours he will spend on foundation business for the $10,000-per-month fee.

Saffer called it “a flat rate per month in recognition of the work Burt will perform and the value of that work.”

The original contract, meanwhile, was more suited to hourly billing because Deutsch was working on wrapping up two important foundation real estate projects: the establishment of the GE FirstBuild micro-factory on the Belknap Campus and the acquisition of the Solae property where the silos once stood along Interstate 65, Saffer said.

Saffer also shared a copy of an email from Dr. William Selvidge, who succeeded Deutsch as chairman of the foundation's finance committee, in which Selvidge attests to the need for Deutsch's consulting services.

Selvidge sent the email Tuesday to Ramsey's chief of staff Kathleen Smith. He declined to speak directly with WDRB, saying the email speaks for itself.

When asked by Ramsey in late 2013 to become the foundation's finance committee chairman, Selvidge told Ramsey it was “imperative that we keep (Deutsch) involved in some capacity, as counsel or consultant, to assist me and the Finance Committee,” according to Selvidge's email.

At the time, the foundation was also transitioning to a new chief financial officer, Jason Tomlinson, after the retirement of former U of L vice president for finance Mike Curtin, Selvidge noted.

(Curtin was one of three senior administrators who got a bigger university buyout last year in exchange for a legal agreement not to “disparage, demean or impugn the university or its senior leadership,” The Courier-Journal reported in March 2014.)

“In 2013, I thought retaining (Deutsch) was essential if we were to maintain the aggressive investment strategy that has served the Foundation so well. While this wasn't the only component of his contract with the Foundation, it was and remains, an important one,” Selvidge wrote.
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