Judge issues blistering order denying Gov. Bevin’s request to reconsider UofL trustees case Friday, Oct 21 2016 

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd | Photo by Joe Sonka

In a blistering order issued on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd denied Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to reconsider his ruling that blocked the governor’s executive orders abolishing and recreating the University Louisville Board of Trustees because he did not have the legal authority to do so. Bevin’s attorneys asked Judge Shepherd to alter, amend or […]

WLKY: Debate on installing metal detectors at JCPS continues Friday, Oct 21 2016 

A panel discussion on the prospect of installing metal detectors at JCPS middle and high schools was held Thursday. | Photo courtesy of WLKY

Story reported by WLKY News and reposted here with permission. The debate about whether walk-thru metal detectors should be installed at area middle and high schools continues in Louisville. A panel conversation was held Thursday at the Chestnut Street YMCA just days after Louisville community members and Jefferson County Public Schools administrators traveled to a […]

U of L Gets Notice of Allegations – Here’s Response from Jurich and Pinto Thursday, Oct 20 2016 

Joint statement from the university’s acting president and vice president/director of athletics

The University of Louisville has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA and a redacted copy of the document is attached.  The university is currently reviewing the allegations and will prepare a response, which will be provided to the NCAA within 90 days.  The university will continue to cooperate with the NCAA throughout the process.

Below is a joint statement from Acting President Dr. Neville Pinto and Vice President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich:

Nope, staying at U of L

Tom Jurich

“As parents and university leaders who care about every student who comes to the University of Louisville, we are heartbroken that inappropriate behavior took place here.  It saddens us tremendously.  We promised that if something was done wrong, we would be open about it, acknowledge it, and correct it.

From the beginning, no one wanted to know the truth more than UofL and that’s why we immediately notified the NCAA Enforcement Staff and worked diligently with them to determine what took place.  It’s why we retained NCAA consultant Chuck Smrt and outside counsel Steve Thompson to determine the facts.

We are now in receipt of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations (NOA). This is the next step in a process that will end with our appearance before the Committee on Infractions in the spring of 2017.  We have 90 days to determine our specific position on each allegation and prepare a written response.

From the start, the NCAA Enforcement Staff had our full cooperation.  Its staff and our investigators spoke to numerous Louisville employees and third parties, and the university produced every document requested by the NCAA.  We are disappointed that former Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee did not cooperate.

These allegations underscore why it was appropriate for the university to self-impose strict penalties on our basketball program earlier this year.


Rick Pitino…photo by Bill Brymer

The NOA aligns with the results of our inquiry: improper activities took place in a dormitory that never should have occurred.  When the facts were established, we acted.  We took appropriate punitive and corrective actions.  The penalties we imposed were among the most severe penalties ever self-imposed by a NCAA member.

It is important to note what is not being alleged.  The NOA does not contain an allegation that Coach Pitino had knowledge of what took place in the dormitory.  The NCAA does not allege a ‘lack of institutional control’ at Louisville, a very severe allegation.  The NCAA does not allege that there was a ‘failure to monitor’ against the institution, also a severe allegation. The NCAA does not allege that Coach Pitino failed to ‘promote an atmosphere of compliance’, a serious allegation.  The NOA does contain a narrower allegation – which we will dispute – that Coach Pitino failed to demonstrate that he monitored Mr. McGee.

We believe that Mr. McGee acted furtively and note that the NOA does not indicate that any other university employee besides Mr. McGee had knowledge of these activities. We are confident in Coach Pitino and we know he is and always has been committed to NCAA compliance.

The entire episode is a deep disappointment to all of us who love this university.  We appreciate the NCAA’s efforts and we regret tremendously that this took place.  Everyone who works here knows it can never happen again.  We will continue to work cooperatively with the NCAA for the final resolution of this matter.”

The post U of L Gets Notice of Allegations – Here’s Response from Jurich and Pinto appeared first on Louisville KY.

Read NCAA’s Allegations Of Stripteases, Sex Acts For U of L Basketball Players, Recruits Thursday, Oct 20 2016 

A former staffer of the University of Louisville men’s basketball team provided at least $5,400 in stripteases, sex acts and cash to recruits, athletes and coaches, according to the NCAA.

On Thursday morning, university officials released a letter from the NCAA dated Monday that outlined its findings.

The investigation was prompted by allegations that former staff member Andre McGee hired an escort service to provide strippers and sex to recruits and players.

With likely punishment looming, then-president James Ramsey self-imposed a ban on post-season play in February.

According to the NCAA’s letter, representatives of the program “arranged for and/or provided impermissible inducements, offers and/or extra benefits in the form of adult entertainment, sex acts and/or cash at Billy Minardi Hall (Minardi), a campus dormitory, or Louisville, Kentucky, hotels to at least 17 then men’s basketball prospective and/or current student-athletes, two then nonscholastic men’s basketball coaches and one then men’s basketball prospective student-athlete’s friend. The value of the impermissible inducements, offers and/or extra benefits was at least $5,400.”

U of L President Neville Pinto and athletic director Tom Jurich said in a joint statement that the “entire episode is a deep disappointment to all of us who love this university.”

“We appreciate the NCAA’s efforts and we regret tremendously that this took place. Everyone who works here knows it can never happen again,” the email statement said.

In a press conference, Jurich said he’s asked himself “a million times” if head coach Rick Pitino should have known.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that he could not have known,” Jurich said. “No matter what he did or how close he is to his players and his staff, he could not have known.”

Pitino says he’s only guilty of trusting McGee.

U of L has 90 days to respond.

Read the whole report.

This story has been updated.

Rick Howlett contributed to this report. Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546. 

Disclosures: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board member Stephen Campbell and former member Sandra Frazier have donated.

Bevin Asks Judge To Reconsider U of L Board Ruling Wednesday, Oct 19 2016 

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is asking a state judge to reverse himself.

Attorneys for Bevin asked Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Wednesday to reverse his ruling last month banning the governor from abolishing and replacing the University of Louisville board of trustees.

Bevin attorney Stephen Pitt said Shepherd incorrectly summarized Bevin’s arguments and used inaccurate interpretations of prior court rulings to form his opinion.

Lawyers for Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear said Shepherd’s decision is correct and does not need to be changed.

Shepherd said he would consider the arguments and issue a ruling soon. When he does, it will give both sides an extra 30 days to file an appeal, which would delay a final ruling in the case.

LouisvilleKY’s 4th Annual Community Shield Conference set for Thursday Tuesday, Oct 18 2016 

Increase Community Awareness and Reduce the Impact of Violence

Louisville, Ky., – Community Shield, a local collaborative whose mission is to reduce the impact of violence on children in our community, will hold their 4th Annual Conference on October 20. Featured speakers will be Dr. Nancy Hardt of Gainesville, FL (Professor Emeritus, Pathology & Obstetrics/Gynecology College of Medicine, University of Florida) and Dr. Ruth Shepherd (former Director, Division of Maternal & Child Health, Kentucky Department for Public Health).

The event will take place at the Crowne Plaza (Louisville Airport), 830 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Subject matter will include information to increase awareness and understanding of the effects of exposure to violence on children and appropriate response and referral, within the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) model. Participants will learn how to effectively utilize data to secure resources and design concrete strategies to reduce the negative impact of violence on children in the community.

city skyline

“Research examining Adverse Childhood Experiences has been able to connect the childhood experiences of adults to risk factors and long lasting effects on health and well-being, stated Chris Owens, director of Louisville Metro’s Office For Women one of the event organizers. “Now we have the opportunity to use that information to identify, in real time, children whose future health and well-being are at risk due to adverse childhood experiences; improve how we work with families; and implement targeted trauma informed programming and prevention measures.”

Social workers, counselors, psychologists, teachers, out-of-school time providers, child care providers, medical professionals, faith based ministers and other youth workers are encouraged to attend.

The event is co-sponsored by Kosair Charities, Metro United Way and Face It. The Department of Community Services/Office For Women is a core partner of Community Shield.

To learn more and register for the 4th Annual Community Shield Conference visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/4th-annual-community-shield-conference-tickets-27473367582.

The post LouisvilleKY’s 4th Annual Community Shield Conference set for Thursday appeared first on Louisville KY.

U of L Trustees Reverse Course, Won’t Sue School Foundation Thursday, Oct 13 2016 

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Thursday reversed course on an earlier proposal to sue its own foundation for records, a sign that tensions have eased following a series of scandals and leadership changes.

The trustees also awarded a stripped-down compensation package to acting president Neville Pinto. Pinto’s compensation includes none of the highly criticized perks that his predecessor, James Ramsey, received.

One of the most contentious issues facing the university board — the threat of litigation against its own nonprofit foundation — is no longer necessary, according to U of L Board chair Larry Benz. The board unanimously agreed on Thursday to rescind the resolution it passed last month authorizing a lawsuit.

The foundation has improved its response to records requests, launched an audit process and made personnel changes demanded by trustees, Benz said.

“We are now completely aligned with the foundation,” Benz said.

Neville Pinto

Neville Pinto, acting president of University of Louisville

The other big move Thursday concerned Pinto. Trustees agreed to pay the acting president $655,000 while he leads U of L. Pinto rejected any deferred compensation or bonus eligibility. He declined a free car or a car allowance.

“This is really about my responsibility as a faculty member at the university being called to lead the university back to a path that will make our students, faculty and our staff comfortable,” Pinto said.

The board has not yet launched a search for a new president. Trustees are barred from making major personnel decisions until Gov. Matt Bevin appoints new members and increases minority representation.

Pinto was the interim provost in July, making $400,000 a year, when then-president James Ramsey stepped down. Pinto’s new role includes a bump to his base salary, now $480,000, and a $175,000 stipend for taking on the role as president.

Benz said the unanimous approval of Pinto’s contract reflects Pinto’s mature leadership during a challenging time — and a shift toward a culture of accountability with “no illusions” when it comes to money.

“We can’t have these behind the scenes, behind the documents, unauthorized approval of various complex transactions and compensation ever again in the history of Louisville,” Benz said.

Ramsey’s pay sparked controversy because, in addition to salaries from both the university and the foundation, he received bonuses and deferred compensation packages that often were disclosed only in the the foundation’s tax documents. Ramsey’s top deputies, including Pinto, also received lavish perks and benefits. (Read “Ramsey Leaves Top U of L Deputies With Extraordinary Perks“)

In 2014, tax records show Ramsey was paid $2.8 million total.

Pinto’s appointment letter states he is guaranteed a five-year term as dean of the engineering school for at least $540,000 a year once a new president is hired. Pinto said Thursday he intends to return to that role.

“My job right now is to get the campus ready for a new president,” Pinto said.

Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546. 

Disclosures: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board member Stephen Campbell and former member Sandra Frazier have donated.

Fred ‘Mr. Eclipse’ Espenak On The 2017 Eclipse And Louisville’s Prime View Thursday, Oct 13 2016 

Retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak knows so much about eclipses that he’s earned the nickname, “Mr. Eclipse.” Espenak will deliver the Bullitt Lecture in Astronomy at the University of Louisville this week.

I spoke with him about the lecture and the rarity of next year’s eclipse. You can listen to our conversation in the audio player above.

On how rare next year’s total eclipse is for the United States:

“The last total eclipse that passed through the lower 48 states was way back in 1979 and that particular eclipse only passed through the Pacific Northwest. The last time we had an eclipse that passed through the entire country from coast to coast you have to go back 100 years to 1918.”

On why Louisville is well-situated for viewing the 2017 eclipse:

“The most important thing of the eclipse is the very brief, brief period when the sun is completely covered by the moon. And that’s referred to as totality. It only last, typically, a few minutes, and in the case of 2017 it lasts about two minutes and forty seconds. And Louisville happens to be fairly close to that point. Now Louisville is outside the actual path of totality, so you can’t see totality from Louisville. That’s important for your listeners to know — that they’ve got to travel down to the eclipse path which travels through southern Illinois and into Kentucky. And it’s not very far from Louisville, it’s a very short drive.”

On how he fell in love with eclipses:

“I was an amateur astronomer as a boy and I knew about a total eclipse that was passing through the U.S. back in 1970, and I sort of had it on my radar for a couple of years. It was shortly after I got my driver’s license that the eclipse took place, within a year, and I convinced my parents to let me take the family car and drive 600 miles to get into that eclipse path. And I thought this was one of these once in a lifetime chances to see total eclipse. But after I saw the eclipse — it only lasted about just under three minutes — but the eclipse itself was so spectacular, so beautiful that I knew I couldn’t let it be a once in a lifetime event. I needed to see another one. And that just led to another one and another one and another one.”

Retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak will give the Bullitt Lecture in Astronomy on Thursday, October 13 at 6:30 p.m. in Comstock Hall (105 W Brandeis Avenue) at U of L. There’s more information here

U of L Chairman Calls For Further Scrutiny Of Real Estate Deal With Donor Thursday, Oct 13 2016 

The chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees is calling for further examination of a real estate transaction involving the school’s foundation and a major donor.

Larry Benz said Wednesday that he is researching the “intricacies” of a deal in which the foundation bought into a vacant factory in Oklahoma at the request of a donor, a transaction revealed a day earlier by WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. The foundation waited more than two years for the factory to sell, but ultimately canceled the arrangement after inquiries from KyCIR. (Read “The University of Louisville Foundation Bought An Empty Factory In Oklahoma—Because A Donor Asked“)

Following the unwinding of the deal, foundation attorney David Saffer said last month that the nonprofit would hire an independent expert to review its actions.

A 151,000 square-foot factory in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, previously owned by Louisville-based Henry Vogt Machine Co.

A 151,000 square-foot factory in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, previously owned by Louisville-based Henry Vogt Machine Co.

“I’m glad to see that it is being independently reviewed and I’m anxious to see that report when it is complete,” Benz said Wednesday. “I am personally asking a lot of questions to understand the complexities of this transaction.”

Saffer didn’t respond to an email Wednesday asking for an update on the review’s status.

U of L interim president Neville Pinto declined an interview request through a university spokesman. Foundation board chairwoman Brucie Moore couldn’t be reached for comment.

University staffers described the foundation’s investment in an Oklahoma factory as a gift attempt that didn’t pan out, but experts questioned whether it was engineered to give tax advantages to a donor.

The foundation is the school’s nonprofit fundraising arm and manages the school’s roughly $700 million endowment. It is the focus of both a state audit and an upcoming forensic audit by the university.

The foundation in 2014 purchased 99 percent of a holding company created by donor Henry Vogt Heuser Jr. The foundation borrowed $3.47 million from Heuser to purchase shares in his company. University and foundation staffers said this wasn’t a true debt, since it would have only been paid back when the factory sold. The promissory note functioned as a vehicle to get a donation to the foundation, staffers said, and would have directed proceeds from the sale to the foundation.

updated-sapulpa-flowchart-what-happened-v5The foundation ended its involvement in the factory a day after a KyCIR reporter visited the city of Sapulpa. The factory is still on the market.

Benz, who serves on both the university and the university foundation’s board, said one of his main questions is why foundation board members were asked to approve the deal initially, but not asked to approve the deal’s cancellation.

Bob Hughes, the former chairman of the foundation board, said he doesn’t have any concerns because the foundation didn’t spend money in the transaction. Hughes, who wasn’t on the foundation board when it approved the transaction, noted that the arrangement could have netted the nonprofit money.

“Any money received through the foundation helps advance the education mission through scholarships,” Hughes said. “I didn’t personally see any problem with that.”

Kate Howard can be reached at khoward@kycir.org and (502) 814.6546. 

This story was reported by WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

Disclosures: In 2015, the University of Louisville, which for years has donated to Louisville Public Media, earmarked $3,000 to KyCIR as part of a larger LPM donation. University board member Stephen Campbell and former member Sandra Frazier have donated. Foundation attorney David Saffer previously served on LPM’s board.

UofL’s student, faculty and staff senates pass unanimous resolutions urging Gov. Bevin to appoint trustees Wednesday, Oct 12 2016 

Grawemeyer Hall

The University of Louisville’s Staff Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Tuesday urging Gov. Matt Bevin to fill vacancies on the university’s board of trustees by making appointments “without delay” so the board’s makeup complies with state law, allowing it once again to make major personnel decisions. The Staff Senate’s action follows unanimous votes with […]

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