Medley named chairwoman of University of Louisville Foundation; - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Medley named chairwoman of University of Louisville Foundation; Schnatter questions real estate investments

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University of Louisville Foundation Chairwoman Diane Medley, left, and U of L board of trustees Chairman J. David Grissom University of Louisville Foundation Chairwoman Diane Medley, left, and U of L board of trustees Chairman J. David Grissom

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Diane Medley, the managing partner of Louisville accounting firm MCM LLP, was elected chairwoman pro-tem of the University of Louisville Foundation on Tuesday.

The foundation, a nonprofit organization that oversees U of L’s endowment of about $715 million, needed new leadership after former chairwoman Brucie Moore lost her seat earlier this month when the legislature reorganized the university’s board of trustees.

Medley, whom Gov. Matt Bevin named to the trustee board, was recommended as the foundation’s new leader during the trustees’ first meeting on Saturday.

Medley – who has been on the foundation board since September – said she plans to continue working to restore confidence in the organization’s finances.

“At this point we are just trying to get our arms around where we are so we can report to the public and give them the information,” she said.

Medley added that a special “forensic audit” – which won’t be released at least until May – is “helping us” understand the organization’s financial picture.

During Tuesday’s meeting, new foundation director John Schnatter – co-founder and CEO of Papa John’s International – interjected during discussion of a routine item to question whether the foundation’s extensive local real estate investments have detracted from its focus on students.

“We spend all this time on real estate companies and real estate ventures … but are we really staying on task with what’s in the best interest of the kids?” Schnatter told the board by conference call.

Medley replied that she “understand(s) totally” Schnatter’s sentiment and that the she and other board members are “in the middle of studying that… to understand all the pieces and parts of our investment strategy.”

Under former U of L President James Ramsey, the foundation built up an extensive real estate portfolio that includes, among other properties: the three office buildings on U of L’s Shelby Campus, built in a partnership with local developer NTS; the building that houses Atria Senior Living’s headquarters at 300 E. Market Street; and the empty former Kentucky Trailer property near Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, where U of L plans an engineering research park.

Last year, a WDRB investigation showed that about $70 million of the university’s endowment actually represents an IOU from the foundation for money lent to the foundation’s own sub-organization, University Holdings Inc.

University Holdings provided funding to other foundation subsidiaries involved in real estate projects and paid extra salaries and car allowances to a handful of university administrators. 

Copyright 2017 WDRB News.

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