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Auditor: U of L Dragging Its Feet On Information Requests

J. Tyler Franklin

The long-awaited state audit of the University of Louisville and its separate, nonprofit foundation is delayed.

In a letter sent to U of L on Tuesday and first made public by WDRB on Wednesday, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon says the university and the U of L Foundation have been slow to respond to his office's requests for records and information. He says most of the information his office requested in a February meeting has not been delivered.

"Also, in many instances, information and documentation provided has been unclear or inconsistent, which creates the need to perform more follow-up, verification, and clarification procedures than is (sic) typically required," the letter reads.

In an interview Wednesday, Harmon said the delay would push back the projected release date by roughly a month, to early July.

“We’ve had several good meetings," he said. "It’s just unfortunately after those meetings we just haven’t received all the information that we had requested.”

U of L spokesman John Karman said in an email that both the university and the foundation are cooperating with the audit. He said Harmon’s office has asked for more than 6,000 documents and blamed the delay on a small staff.

"The university and the foundation are cooperating with the auditor’s examination, and we plan to continue to do so," Karman said.

Harmon is continuing the audit that was initiated by his predecessor, former state Auditor Adam Edelen. That was sparked by a request from former U of L Trustee Steve Wilson, who asked Edelen last April to launch an investigation after numerous media reports uncovered massive bonuses for top U of L officials -- most notably Ramsey -- from the foundation.

The U of L Foundation is a nonprofit entity that manages a $650 million endowment. It has its own governing board, of which Ramsey is a voting member.

Larry Benz, chair of the university's board of trustees, had no comment on the letter from Harmon, saying it speaks for itself.

Dr. Robert Hughes, chair of the Foundation's board, said he wasn't surprised it's taking the university longer to respond to the auditor's request.

"This is a very busy time for the university with the close of the semester and graduation, and it is also busy for the auditor’s office, with the legislature having just finished their session," he said via email. "I would expect the pace of the work to pick up for both parties with the semester having ended at U of L and the legislative session having ended."

A copy of the letter, obtained via open records request from the state auditor's office, is below:

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.

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