University of Louisville Foundation board to meet Sept. 16; Ramsey's role at issue
James Ramsey’s continued employment as president of the University of Louisville Foundation could be decided at a special meeting of the foundation’s Board of Directors on Friday, Sept. 16.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – James Ramsey’s continued employment as president of the University of Louisville Foundation could be decided at a special meeting of the foundation’s Board of Directors on Friday, Sept. 16.
Foundation board members were notified of the planned meeting on Wednesday.
Bob Hughes, the foundation’s chairman, said the board will likely hold its annual election of the foundation’s officers, including its president. Ramsey is under contract with the foundation through 2020, but he can be dismissed at any time because he resigned as university president on July 28.
The foundation, a charitable nonprofit, is U of L’s custodian of donations and the manager of its $680 million endowment. Ramsey has been the foundation’s chief executive since he became U of L president in 2002.
Over the weekend Hughes scuttled a plan to convene the foundation’s executive committee to issue a bid for a special audit of the nonprofit organization and to consider a rumored buyout of Ramsey from the foundation post.
Hughes, a staunch supporter of Ramsey’s, said he favors an arrangement whereby Ramsey would resign but receive the remainder of his foundation salary through June 30, 2017 -- the end of the fiscal year – to serve as a consultant or “resource person” for the foundation.
“Dr. Ramsey has a lot of knowledge – a lot of information in his head – that is crucial, and the foundation does not run itself,” he said.
But it will be up to the foundation’s 15 directors collectively whether to continue Ramsey’s employment, Hughes said.
Interim U of L President Neville Pinto, a foundation director by virtue of his position, wrote in an email Monday that it is time for the foundation to sever ties with Ramsey.
Larry Benz, a foundation board member and chairman of the U of L Board of Trustees, has suggested that Ramsey’s continued presence would make it harder to recruit the next president of the university.
Benz also objected to any additional payments to Ramsey, saying it would constitute a breach of the foundation’s fiduciary duty to U of L. That threat led to the cancellation of Monday’s meeting, Hughes said.
Hughes said Wednesday that Benz had previously agreed to the plan to make Ramsey a “resource person” with continued compensation, to which Benz replied: “He’s lying.”
Ramsey has a complex pay package from the foundation that includes a base salary of about $300,000, bonuses, deferred compensation, insurance and long-term care benefits and special payments called “gross-ups” aimed at making much of his pay effectively free of income taxes by Louisville Metro, the state and the federal government.
It all added up to $3.2 million in 2012; $1.8 million in 2013 and $2.8 million in 2014, according to the foundation’s latest available tax returns.
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