UofL President Jim Ramsey’s Money Problem

Note: Posting this on both Page One and here because of its level of importance.

What is it with the University of Louisville, president Jim Ramsey and money? Apparently the Robert Felner scandal wasn’t enough.

Here’s what the Herald-Leader editorial board had to say about the matter:

University of Louisville officials should provide a better explanation of the $1.9 million paid to President James R. Ramsey in 2007.

The payment might never have come to light if Herald-Leader reporter Ryan Alessi hadn’t stumbled across it while reviewing IRS filings by the University of Louisville Foundation.

That lack of openness is just part of what’s troubling.


The payment apparently was meant to make Ramsey whole for state pension income he could have received had he remained an employee of state government. When U of L hired him in 2002, he was state budget director and under consideration for the presidency of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

He was supposed to receive the money after age 65, but a change in tax law precipitated paying him a lump sum in 2007. At least that’s how the U of L Foundation spokesman explained it. An actuary determined the amount.


The argument that the $1.9 million doesn’t count because the foundation’s money comes from private sources does not wash. It’s money contributed to advance U of L that could have been spent on scholarships, professorships, buildings, maintenance or even a one-time employee pay bonus.

With this absurdly generous, $1.9 million secret payment, U of L has made it harder for all of higher education to make a convincing case that it’s needy or deserving. And that is a shame.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the C-J’s ed board to say anything that isn’t fluff and defensive.

Kudos to Ryan Alessi for uncovering this mess.