In Wake Of Blistering Audit, U of L Foundation Fires Chief Financial Officer

Jul 18, 2017

Credit J. Tyler Franklin

After more than a month of speculation, the U of L Foundation fired Chief Financial Officer Jason Tomlinson on Tuesday.

ULF Chair Diane Medley wouldn’t say whether Tomlinson was fired for cause or when the discussion to fire him began, but said his removal is effective immediately.

Tomlinson was put on leave after a blistering audit released last month alleged former university president James Ramsey and his administration purposefully overspent, hid information and made questionable governance decisions.

Ramsey announced his resignation in June, 2016. In the past month since the audit’s release, two top officials have also been fired–Tomlinson and former Ramsey aide Kathleen Smith.

Medley said clearing the board of three major figures from the previous administration gives U of L a new start.

“It is what it is. Those top three individuals are no longer employees of the foundation,” Medley said, answering questions after Tuesday’s foundation meeting. “And as we’ve stated before, we are working to change the culture and change the processes that are going on here.”

Medley said the university will immediately start searching for Tomlinson’s replacement.

Donations Down $21 Million

Meanwhile, removing Tomlinson could appease donors who pulled millions in funding this year.

 

U of L Vice President for Advancement Keith Inman
Credit Kyeland Jackson

Keith Inman, U of L’s vice president for advancement, said compared with the previous year, donations were down by $21 million in fiscal year 2017. Overall funds, from sources like pledges, hospital revenue and gifts, were down $97 million. Citing the declining profits and donations, Inman said the shortfall is unprecedented in his 11-year tenure.

“We’ve never had anything like this affect us. This is the worst,” Inman said. “In our history here going through the campaign, up until now, we’ve broken records year after year. So we’re not used to reporting these numbers.”

Though donations seem to be flailing, Inman and the ULF Interim Executive Director Keith Sherman said donors have not completely spurned the university. They expect donors will pledge more support once the university corrects itself.

To do that, Inman advised board members clearly communicate the ULF’s vision and financially support the foundation. Last year, Papa John’s CEO and U of L board member John Schnatter donated millions to the university. It’s unclear whether he’s donated this year.