UO Foundation loses $84 million

1/29/2010: From the Chronicle:

From June 30 2008 – June 30 2009:  $470,515,000 to $386,509,000  -17.9%
From June 30 2007 – June 30 2008:  $455,583,000 to $470,515,000     3.3%
From June 30 2006 – June 30 2007:  $365,859,000 to $455,583,000   24.5%

These lump together investment gains/losses and spending/new gifts. Really bad news but hardly unique to UO. Still, you’d think Lariviere might take it as a chance to cut back on the administrative bloat. But apparently you’d be thinking wrong.

PERS underwater

1/29/2010: PERS currently has assets to pay only 75% of liabilities. This Ted Sickinger story reports that the board votes today to  raise the pay in rates from 12% to 18% next year all at once or do so so gradually (most likely scenario). Either case will mean a big increase in UO’s payroll costs. Not clear if OUS will raise TIAA contributions as well.

Frohnmayer leaves UO for real?

1/29/2010: Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week reports:

Former University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer is rejoining his old law firm, Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, and opening a Salem office. Prior to leading the U of O from 1994 through 2009, Frohnmayer served as Oregon’s Attorney General from 1981 through 1991 and he ran for governor in 1990, losing to Democrat Barbara Roberts. Joining Frohnmayer, 69, at Harrang Long will be Pete Shepherd, the long-time top deputy to former AG Hardy Myers and former Oregon School Boards Association lobbyist Jim Green.

I’m not sure if this is really news or if Nigel is confused – Frohnmayer has been triple dipping at the Eugene office of Harrang Long since September, but a move to Salem would presumably be the end of his UO connection and save us about $400,000 in salaries and perks. Downside, we’d have to find someone to teach the 23 students in his PS 199 course, though from what the students say co-teacher Barbara West does most of the work anyway.

Theories of Leadership. This seminar investigates how theoretical concepts about interaction of personality, training, character, and environment help explain the principled or unprincipled exercise of power and influence. We’ll examine definitions of leadership and test insights of theorists.

Nah, Dave will never give it up – unless he’s figured out how to get a big PERS payoff at the same time. Hmm.

Ouch

1/28/2010: Given all the recent pepper spray abuses in Eugene, I’m tempted to say something sarcastic about this Oregonian story:

A Portland police officer accidentally used pepper spray instead of a fire extinguisher on a man who lit himself on fire downtown near a fur store Wednesday.

But actually it just reminds me of how the cops are mostly just trying to do the right thing in a crazy world. Tough job. Glad my mistakes don’t play out like that. The guy died.

Next Friday: Senate and FAC union info town hall

Note: The Union organizing committee will be represented on the panel by Prof Gordon Sayre, English.

The University Senate, in consultation with the Faculty Advisory Council, is sponsoring a non-partisan, informational town hall meeting on unionization on Friday February 5th at 3-5pm in PLC180. The goal of this meeting is to provide information on the unionization process. The meeting will consist of short presentations by 3 speakers: Doug Park, Assistant University General Counsel; Linda King, Associate Vice President for Human Resources; and, Michael Tedesco, adjunct professor of law and private lawyer. Following their presentations, there will be a question and answer period from the audience.  All campus community members are warmly encouraged to attend.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us.

Sincerely,

Nathan Tublitz
University Senate President

Barbara Altmann
Chair, Faculty Advisory Council

UO salaries, and Frohnmayer makes top 5 most overpaid list

1/26/2010: Curious about who is getting UO’s cash? Salary info is now online, at http://ir.uoregon.edu/alpha. Scroll down, or just click here for the fall 2009 quarter. (Big pdf). This is the “Salary Book” that is also in the reserve room.

Top 10? Obviously these numbers leave out a lot: Millions for Kelly, ?? for Bean, and at least $300,000 for Lariviere. Why the hell is John Moseley still on the payroll?

Kelly, Charles E 450,000 Head Football Coach
Dunlap, Michael G 400,000 Assoc Head Men’s Basketball C
Bellotti, R M 350,000 Dir Intercollegiate Athletics
Bean, James C 306,800 Senior VP and Provost
Bullis, Michael D 257,140 Dean
Moseley, John T 248,941 Special Asst to the Provost
Frohnmayer, Dave 245,700 President Emeritus
Lariviere, Richard W 245,700 President
Paris, Margaret L 232,904 Dean
Kaplan, Paul 230,951  University Physician

Today Dave Frohnmayer was singled out by a Wall Street investors report as one of the top 5 most overpaid university presidents, adjusting for endowment, enrollment, and staff numbers: 

David B. Frohnmayer:  President of University of Oregon made $636,445 last year.  That represented 0.13% of the $497 (million) endowment.  He was paid $31 per student and $382 per staff member, both above average.

Lariviere would also be substantially overpaid by these criteria, not clear if he’d make the top 5 though.

I wonder what’s next ?

1/25/2010: From the Oregonian:

EUGENE – The Eugene Police Department confirmed this morning that its officers are investigating an alleged theft, and the student who filed the report has told The Oregonian that the men he accuses in it are University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry.

Fraternity member Max Wolfard filed a police report alleging that the players took two MacBook Pro computers – one valued at $2,000, the other at $1,500 – and a $900 guitar from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at 812 E. 14th Ave. in Eugene early Sunday.

… Wolfard said the two players then ran out the back door. Wolfard said Masoli fled north and Embry went east up Agate Street as Wolford chased him. Blocks later, Wolfard says, Embry stopped running, gave him back his projector screen and said, “You’ve got it back, now you better get out of here.”

I know how these guys feel, I also prefer the 15″ Mac Pro screen to the smaller 13″ on the regular Macs like the Jaqua center gives every UO athlete. I guess they are harder to run with though. Seriously, this Wolfard guy must have a very large pair, going public like this.

Scepticism on Frohnmayer’s privatisation proposal:

1/25/2010: From an Op-Ed in the Oregonian, from 2 higher ed union leaders:

To achieve these goals the university system will have to participate in an honest and open dialogue involving all committed and relevant participants to meet our commitment to the students of today and tomorrow.

What we don’t need is a quick fix in the form a permanent redesign of our universities that assigns administrators more authority and less responsibility and — even worse — offers no assurance of additional resources. Switching to a corporate funding model is no panacea and might actually prove counter-productive.

Lariviere has also voiced his scepticism about this move. My view is it certainly need some open debate and more credible info, both in scarce supply at UO after 15 years of Frohnmayer. Apparently Frances Dyke still hasn’t provided Lariviere with believable budget numbers – millions pop up here, millions disappear over there.

Income inequality

1/25/2010: This is old news nationally, I hadn’t seen the Oregon breakdown. From Jeff Manning in the Oregonian:

Oregonians earning at the 50th percentile saw their inflation-adjusted wages grow 4.5 percent from $31,866 in 1990 to peak of $33,318 in 2004.

The group’s income has fallen every year since then, finishing 2008 at $32,659, the lowest level since 2001.

In contrast, those at the top 98th percentile of earners saw their inflation-adjusted wages climb 31 percent in the same 18 years from $118,453 in 1990 to a peak of $155,496 in 2007.

Keep in mind that these numbers don’t tell you much about the standard of living – think how much you benefit from things that really matter, like cell phones, the internet, love, the environment, sex – relative to what you pay for them. I wish I knew enough about economics to understand how those benefits play out in terms of changes in the distribution of living standards over time.

Tax deductions for athletics

1/24/2010: A reader pointed me to this article questioning the tax-deduction for college athletics, noting that college coaches are the best paid non-profit executives in the country. “In order to remain untaxed, the money earned from a university’s businesses must be used “in furtherance of” the school’s educational mission, according to tax laws.”” The precedent is a 1950 case involving a for-profit macaroni company set up by NYU. Of course.

Howard Slusher v. Frances Dyke

1/24/2010: The Jaqua Athletes Only Study Center story just gets weirder. We’ve now managed to get a few more of the peculiar agreements between UO and Phil Knight’s “Phit LLC” from the UO lawyers.

  • License agreement, Dyke and Knight, 1/8/08 (UO “leases” land to Phit, to allow no-bid construction.)
  • Amendment 1, Frohnmayer and Knight, 1/8/08 (UO to pay for parking, computers, staff.)
  • Amendment 2, Dyke and Slusher, 7/31/2008 (UO can’t use extra space but must pay 2/3 cost of landscaping it)
  • Amendment 3, Dyke and Slusher, 4/1/2009 (UO to pay for SEED energy improvements)
  • Amendment 4. Dyke and Slusher, 4/1/2009 (The contractor for the Academic Center has contracted with UO for the Arena and Parking Garage. Weird, not sure what that’s about.)

The person who signed the amendments for Knight is Howard Slusher. Maybe that name doesn’t mean a lot to people now, but back in the day Slusher was the lawyer and sports agent who crushed the NFL owners association’s hiring cartel and made it possible for athletes to play for the team that offered them the most money. He was known as “Hold em out Howard” and “Agent Orange”.

Before Slusher, the owners didn’t just own the teams, they owned the players too. They set the salary and if a player didn’t like it he could always try selling used cars. The players loved Slusher, and the owners hated him for taking “their” money.  It was a long struggle and it made headlines for years. From one 1983 NYTimes story:

In the offices of some National Football League franchises, owners and general managers spit out Howard Slusher’s name from between clenched teeth … . ”I don’t have to be put through the wringer,” said Art Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns. ”My preference, given our experience, is not to do business with him.”

After this, taking a few hundred grand from UO’s VP for Finance Frances Dyke must barely budge Slusher’s pulse. So how did Slusher end up with Nike, and on the other side of the table from UO? No idea.

The irony of all this is that the money Slusher is asking UO to pay for the Jaqua Center is only there because the NCAA has been able to keep college athletes under an even stricter hiring cartel than the NFL one that Slusher broke up. We pay them nothing and make them redshirt for a year if they have the nerve to transfer to a team that will be better for their career.

The difference between the old NFL and college is that in college the coaches get the resulting profits, not the owners.  Someday there will be a Howard Slusher for the college athletes too – we saw a glimmer of that when LeGarette Blount’s lawyer got Coach Chip Kelly and UO President Richard Larviere to back down and reinstate him. When that happens – well, it won’t really matter much. There will be a little less money because the fans will be a little more cynical. The players will get what there is, instead of the coaches. Whatever.

no bid contracts and the Arena

1/22/2010: An anonymous commentator pointed readers to this ODE story by CJ Ciaramella on no-bid contracts for the Arena. There’s another in the RG today:

I’d wondered what the story on that billboard on Franklin Blvd was. When someone rents a billboard to complain UO is not following the public records law it kind of gets your attention. The Director of the union group that erected it says of UO:

“The amount of time that it’s taken to get a public records request processed is far longer than we are used to dealing with,” Bonham said. “For this institution to be not completely transparent and forthcoming is a concern for the public.” The University general counsel’s office, which handles public records requests for the University, did not return calls seeking comment.

For the record, The UO official in charge of public record requests is Doug Park, dougpark@uoregon.edu, (541) 346-3082. Doug doesn’t sign his name to public records responses, and likes to use the email address gcounsel@uoregon.edu instead of his real one. I’m not sure if this is because he is embarrassed by what his boss Melinda Grier makes him do for a living, or is just trying to forestall an ethics investigation over the details.

I still remember the efforts to get a copy of this report on the arena revenue forecast from UO. Melinda Grier was trying to hide this report because its revenue forecasts were 1/3 of the 15 million needed to justify tax-exempt bonds. She and Doug Park stalled for months, ignored repeated emails and calls, and the Oregon DOJ played along with her efforts to keep this report secret. Finally it came out and we found this:

So the projection is for $4 million in net revenue, for $15 million per year bond repayments. When the State Treasurer’s office finally saw this report they refused to allow UO to sell the bonds as tax-exempt, because these numbers mean the IRS could have argued this was tax arbitrage, and imposed millions in penalties on UO. I wonder what Melinda is hiding this time?

WTF

1/21/2010: This is a pretty amazing story about former UO AD Bill Moos and his replacement Pat Kilkenny, from Ron Bellamy in the RG yesterday. I missed it, thank for the tip, Anonymous. It’s just bizarre. What are these people doing messing around with universities? Can anyone tell me the point to any of this?

In the end, he fell out of favor with Oregon’s chief benefactor, Nike chairman Phil Knight, whose generosity had been essential to Moos’ accomplishments and was essential to building a new basketball arena. So Moos was forced out late in 2006 and he was given the aforementioned settlement agreement, largely financed by the UO donor who would become his successor, Pat Kilkenny.

But it seems clear that that Oregon raised the prospect that Moos would lose the $1.4 million remaining on his agreement if he took the UNLV job and tried to cut a deal. Just to save money? Out of vindictiveness? Who knows?
Kilkenny, who largely financed the buyout and says he’s never actually read the agreement, said he’s already paid virtually all of his share of the buyout into a fund. “If you’re asking from a financial perspective if it’s material to me, it’s not,” Kilkenny said adding: “What the university agreements were and what those details are, I generally understood what it was, but it wasn’t anything that was done on my watch, so I never went back and looked at it.”
What’s Oregon’s explanation? UO general counsel Melinda Grier has neither returned phone calls nor responded to requests for interviews, including written questions, submitted through Phil Weiler, the UO senior director of communications.
And then the illustrious and irrepressible former UO President and endowed Knight Chair in Law, past Oregon Attorney General, one-time gubernatorial candidate, current Professor of a UO Honors College course on the “Theory of Leadership”, and conduit for $350,000 in Pat Kilkenny donations Dave Frohnmayer chimes in:
“I don’t want to make any judgment about that because I wasn’t party to the hammering out of that specific language, other than approving the final contract, and that was not a matter of particular focus,” Frohnmayer said. “I can’t really shed much light on that.”
He approved the final contract but he can’t shed light on it. It was all a bunch of real complicated legal stuff, is that it Dave?

So why doesn’t new President Richard Lariviere just tear up the contract and let Moos go on his way? Because the athletic department lost $1 million last year. Next year they’ve got to start covering the $15 million Arena bond repayments, figure out how to fund Chip Kelly’s new contract, hire a replacement for Kent, and so on. Lariviere has to kowtow to Knight and Kilkenny because the academic side is legally on the hook for any deficits. Lariviere has no choice about UO’s future: Knight and Kilkenny have owned it since the day they convinced Frohnmayer to borrow $270 million for their Arena, in UO’s name.

So why did Frohnmayer start UO down this one-way road? I’m sure it’s his love of sports, not the $50,000+ per year he got from Knight and the $350,000 Kilkenny’s “Lucky Duck Foundation” sent to Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation. This couldn’t get any sadder.

But it can get more absurd. Kilkenny apparently got a tax deduction for the $2 million he used to buy out Moos so that he could take his job – because the IRS says donations to university athletic departments help provide an important public good.