Postel takes lead for U of L in negotiation on KFC Yum! Center p - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Postel takes lead for U of L in negotiation on KFC Yum! Center payments

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Dr. Gregory Postel, interim president of the University of Louisville Dr. Gregory Postel, interim president of the University of Louisville
KFC Yum! Center KFC Yum! Center

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  The University of Louisville board of trustees voted Thursday to give interim U of L President Greg Postel the authority to work out a new lease for the university’s basketball programs at the KFC Yum! Center, and Postel said he hopes to ink a deal in the next few weeks.

At the same time, Postel and U of L athletics director Tom Jurich denied that the university had already agreed to contribute an additional $2.5 million per year to the financially struggling arena, as a top official with Gov. Matt Bevin’s office told legislators in March.

The $2.5 million has been floated since then as U of L’s assumed increased payment. It's an amount that would allow the arena authority to get an investment grade rating with lower interest payments when it refinances the facility’s construction debt.

And earlier this week, Postel said in a statement that U of L already had agreed to an amended lease that would "return at least an additional $2.5 million" to the arena for its debt.

But Postel told reporters on Thursday that the university never agreed “in writing” to the increased contribution.

“There was a very early conversation that Tom Jurich was involved in, I think, with the governor himself where this number was mentioned,” Postel said. “It’s not been in writing and that may, at the end of the day, be the deal, although we are not to that point where we can announce that yet. So that’s just a conversation that took place.”

Bevin’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Jurich told reporters Thursday: “Did we ever make an agreement? No. We visited with the governor about it. We told him we’d be a big help; we told him we’d help any way we could.”

Postel and Jurich denied any significance to the trustees' action Thursday to empower Postel to complete the deal, as opposed to Jurich.

"He is the president of the university," Jurich said.

Postel said, "We’re all part of the same family, and so Tom Jurich and I work closely together. We’re all doing this together and I just happen to be the face of it."

RELATED: State audit of Louisville Arena Authority released 

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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