Education Investigations

A long-awaited special state audit of the University of Louisville Foundation will be released Wednesday, according to the state auditor.

The investigation focused on governance issues at U of L’s nonprofit fundraising arm, which has been plagued with controversy over excessive salaries, big executive bonuses and unapproved loans from the university.

The audit, requested by a former trustee and launched last April, was prompted by media reports about massive bonuses for top U of L officials — most notably former president James Ramsey — from the foundation.

In the months since, numerous outlets have uncovered more financial problems at the foundation. Moody’s downgraded the foundation’s credit rating last month. The university is funding a special forensic audit of the foundation after several big-dollar donors threatened to withdraw their support.

(Read KyCIR’s coverage of the University of Louisville)

State auditor Mike Harmon reported this spring that U of L Foundation leaders were delaying the audit by dragging their feet in providing needed documents. Ramsey, who held a dual role as president of the university and its foundation for 14 years, resigned both positions by September.

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.

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

Kate Howard is a veteran investigative reporter specializing in government accountability and higher education issues.