Kentucky Auditor delays University of Louisville examination because of difficulty getting records
Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon says he has been forced to delay the release of his examination into the University of Louisville and its nonprofit foundation because U of L officials still have not turned over records requested more than two months ago. Meanwhile, much of the information and documentation U of L has released has been “unclear or inconsistent.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon says he has been forced to delay the release of his examination into the University of Louisville and its nonprofit foundation because U of L officials still have not turned over records requested more than two months ago.
Meanwhile, much of the information and documentation produced by U of L has been “unclear or inconsistent.”
Harmon outlined his concerns in a letter, dated Tuesday, to U of L President James Ramsey. WDRB obtained the letter from the auditor’s office through a public records request.
In a statement, U of L spokesman John Karman said Harmon's office has asked for "more than 6,000 documents" and the university has a "very small staff" to handle the requests.
"We are trying to meet the requirements of the auditor’s staff, respond to Open Records Requests and finish a fiscal year where we have a reduction of 2 percent in operating funds," Karman said, referring to the recent immediate budget cuts ordered by Gov. Matt Bevin. "The university and the foundation are cooperating with the auditor’s examination, and we plan to continue to do so."
Because of the difficulties getting information, it is “no longer feasible” to release the “special examination” in early June as originally planned, Harmon said in the letter.
Harmon will be able to determine a new target date for the examination “once the flow of information becomes more consistent and outstanding requests for documentation and information are filled,” according to the letter.
Harmon said the “majority of the documentation” his office has asked for since a Feb. 18 meeting with U of L officials has not been turned over, and he gave U of L a deadline of May 17 to produce the information, which will “likely lead to additional future requests.”
Harmon’s report will examine the “governance and oversight structure” between U of L and the U of L Foundation, a charitable nonprofit with an independent board of directors separate from the university’s board of trustees.
The foundation receives all donations to U of L and manages the university’s endowment, which stood at about $650 million as of March.
Harmon’s predecessor Adam Edelen began the examination last year after WDRB and other media outlets reported on multi-million-dollar pay packages from the foundation to top U of L administrators, including Ramsey, and six-figure, no-bid consulting contracts given to an ex-foundation board member.
Ramsey gets the vast majority of his pay – now well over $1 million a year – from the foundation, where he is the chief executive, a voting board member and permanent chairman of the committee that picks most new board members.
As WDRB reported last year, Ramsey’s outsize role in the organization differs from peer universities with affiliated foundations.
Here is a copy of Harmon's letter:
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