The University of Louisville board of trustees voted on Thursday to authorize the payment of an additional $200,000 to the firm that conducted the forensic audit on the UofL Foundation. Board chairman J. David Grissom said this is needed to further refine the information in the audit and glean even more information, at the request of university counsel.
Chicago-based firm Alvarez & Marsal originally was contracted to conduct a forensic audit of the foundation’s finances last year for $850,000, hired by the previous board that eventually was abolished in January. The current board expanded that figure to $1.7 million when the depth of the work required increased, and now they would be authorized to receive a final total of $1.9 million.
The trustees unanimously authorized Grissom to negotiate a further amendment with A&M’s contract to cover these additional expenses “responsive to the information requested by our counsel as a result of the audit.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Grissom declined to share any additional thoughts he had on the results of the audit, which he had called “very disturbing.” Asked if the additional spending on A&M means the investigative process is ongoing — as is the case with a new investigative committee created by the board of the foundation on Wednesday — Grissom said “I just think there’s a need to refine further and glean even more information than has already been pulled together by A&M. So it’s just a question of refining the audit further.”
Grissom said there would be “some coordination” between the trustees and the new foundation board committee, as some members are on both boards, “so there will be conversations between both organizations, trying to get to a point where there can be an appropriate resolution.”
As for what actions the trustees take in response to the audit — whether that be litigation against former foundation officials or a recommendation of criminal charges to law enforcement — Grissom said they will receive advice from counsel “in the next two to three weeks,” and he expects to reach a decision on that at their July 22 board meeting.
‘A restoration of the university’s reputation’
Just prior to Thursday’s board meeting, the NCAA handed down stiff penalties against the UofL’s men’s basketball team, vacating much of the program’s wins from 2010 to 2014 — including the 2013 national championship game — though UofL is appealing that decision. Grissom declined to comment on questions relating to the vacation of the 2013 championship and whether personnel changes need to be made, but commented on the overall situation to say “it’s an unfortunate hour in the history of the university and it saddens me.” He added, “but we’re going to prosecute the appeal and do the best we can to restore the reputation of the university, from the athletics standpoint.”
Asked if he had anything to say to UofL students who have withstood a week of devastating news about their university, Grissom said the current board of trustees “is totally committed to getting to the bottom of all the problems, addressing those problems with integrity and transparency. And we’re going to do the best we can to move toward a restoration of the university’s reputation.” He added that the board is “moving the truck in right direction” and that “this is not an insurmountable problem.”
Earlier in Thursday’s meeting, the trustees approved a budget for the 2017-2018 academic year that froze tuition for UofL student for the first time in 16 years.