LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says his office is taking a close look at the University of Louisville Foundation forensic audit.
The actions of the University of Louisville’s investment arm were scrutinized in a 135-page audit that alleges millions in misspending by former University and Foundation President Dr. James Ramsey and others.
Beshear said it is concerning to see findings of what he calls gross mismanagement of funds, especially with money supposed to support the university. His office is looking into whether that "gross mismanagement" rose to the level of criminal activity.
"Well a criminal act would have to be perhaps seeking personal enrichment in a way that violated the law. You are thinking less of mismanagement and more of theft, and we would have to see more documents to suggest that that occurred, because there’s definite findings of gross mismanagement here, which is terrible considering that these are funds that are supposed to support the university, what we will need is more information to know if that gross mismanagement crossed the line into criminal," Beshear said.
"The audit is very disturbing, and it is concerning to watch how that money was mismanaged. What isn't evident right now is whether or not there was criminal activity, and if there was criminal activity if it would fall within the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s Office, so we are still carefully reviewing the audit and we may well be asking for more information," Beshear said. “The findings are disturbing enough to where we need to carefully review it to see if there is criminal activity and secondly if that would fall within our jurisdiction as opposed to say the Commonwealth Attorney here in Jefferson County.”
The Attorney General says his office is still reviewing the audit and attached exhibits, but they may want to see more information, more documents behind the report. Ramsey oversaw both the University and the U of L Foundation before departing the University last summer and Foundation last fall.
"Well a number of parts in the audit are disturbing, the compensation part, is certainly disturbing, the finding that more money was loaned than the Foundation board had allowed or had voted on is also very disturbing, overall the lack of controls is something that any board and certainly any foundation board ought to be better on," Beshear said.
General Beshear suggested some of the former Trustees deserve an apology from Governor Matt Bevin and Senate President Robert Stivers. Bevin and Beshear are headed to the State Supreme Court for their case stemming from the Governor removing and replacing the board last summer.
"The fact was reformers on the original board pushed for this audit, they came out a long time ago and said we believe that money on the foundation is being mismanaged, and the President of the University shouldn't also be the President of the Foundation, they pushed to know what the total compensation going to President Ramsey was and they were stonewalled. That is what the governor called ‘dysfunction’ within the board and that original deal between the Governor and President Ramsey was intended to get rid of those reformers on the board and if you recall that original deal, it allowed President Ramsey to move over to the Foundation, the interim board negotiated a resolution where he could stay the President of the Foundation and continue these very concerning actions. So, I believe that those reformers on the original board deserve a lot of credit, if not a direct apology from the Governor and the Senate President," Beshear said.
WHAS11 reached out to representatives for both the Governor and Senate President Stivers to get their response from AG Beshear's comments.
Governor Bevin's Communications Director Amanda Stamper sent us this statement: "It is not surprising Attorney General Beshear is defending the prior illegally constituted UofL board whose members donated $750,000 to Beshear family political causes."
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