Third new University of Louisville trustee has business tie to U - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Third new University of Louisville trustee has business tie to U of L Foundation

Brian Cromer Brian Cromer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  A third recent appointee to the University of Louisville Board of Trustees has a business connection to the university’s nonprofit foundation.

Louisville attorney Brian Cromer’s firm, Stites and Harbison, is the main legal contractor for the foundation, a separate organization that manages U of L’s $680 million endowment.

Cromer is one of 10 appointees Gov. Matt Bevin named to the board after he abolished the previous board in June and remade it with a total of 13 members, including staff, student and faculty representatives at U of L.

WDRB previously reported that two other new appointees, Sandra Frazier and Dale Boden, have business ties to the foundation.

Frazier’s wholly owned firm, Tandem Public Relations, does marketing work on the order of $500,000 a year with the foundation, according to the organization’s IRS disclosures.

Boden is an investor in Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, a company with U of L ties and in which the foundation has also invested.

Cromer was not named to the board until July 12, about two weeks after the other nine appointees. He replaced Louisville entrepreneur Doug Cobb, who declined his appointment a day before the board’s first meeting on July 13.

Cromer said in an email that he personally does not provide any services to the foundation.

“My firm and I will adhere to all applicable conflict of interest principles pertaining to my service as a trustee, should any circumstances present themselves,” Cromer said.

Stites and Harbison attorney David Saffer primarily handles the foundation’s legal work and serves as the attorney for the foundation board.

The foundation’s spending with the law firm was not immediately available, but the organization disclosed total legal expenses of $673,679 in the year ended June 30, 2014 and $313,672 in the year ended June 30, 2015.

Boden and Frazier told WDRB last month that they would steer clear of any personal conflicts, which for Frazier means recusing herself from anything having to do with the foundation.

The foundation is governed by a separate board that includes U of L President James Ramsey. But an upcoming state audit is expected to suggest ways to improve oversight of the organization and its relationship with the trustees. 

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