Are feds questioning UO Foundation head Paul Weinhold over IAAF “side deals”?

2/20/2018: Austin Meek  has the latest on the Lananna and Tracktown in the RG here. No word yet on whether the feds are also interviewing the UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold, who also played a key role in the IAAF bidding, as reported by Diane Dietz in the RegisterGuard back in 2014:

The foundation’s financial guarantee to the IAAF set no upper limit on what the foundation would have been liable for if the Eugene event had turned into a money loser. …

Weinhold said the UO Foundation faced minimal risk in agreeing to cover meet losses because TrackTown USA’s budget was thoroughly vetted and reliable; Kitzhaber favored the legislation that would have provided millions in state support; and the foundation had confidential side deals meant to hold the foundation harmless, Weinhold said in the interview. Weinhold declined to disclose any specifics of those side deals.

“We do not believe we had any exposure, and we had agreements in place that eliminated our exposure. That should be enough for you,” he said. …

Side deals?

2/19/2018: Feds question Duck coach & Tracktown head Vin Lananna over 2021 IAAF Championships

Austin Meek in the RG:

USA Track & Field says it has placed Vin Lananna on temporary administrative leave after learning that Lananna and Eugene-based TrackTown USA were contacted “months ago” by federal authorities investigating corruption in the sport. …

No word yet on how the UO administration and the Foundation will handle this.

2/14/2018: Eugene loses three NCAA championship meets over Tracktown’s 2021 IAAF extravaganza

This is getting interesting. I wonder what the truth is. The Oregonian:

By closing its iconic track stadium for all of 2019, Oregon would void a three-year contract with the NCAA to host the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Because the Hayward Field tart-up for the 2021 IAAF meet will take it out of commission. Or because the NCAA doesn’t want to go down with Lananna?

In any case this certainly cuts into the rationale for Governor Kate Brown’s endorsement of $40M in public subsidies for the IAAF.

2/8/2018: USA Track and Field strips Duck coach Vin Lananna of his powers, as millions in public money change hands over 2021 IAAF championships

Before the legislature passed SB 270 and created the UO Board of Trustees, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Audit Division had authority for investigating this sort of sleaze. Now it’s all up to UO’s Internal Auditor Trisha Burnett (whose audits are apparently exempt from public records requests) – and of course the FBI, federal prosecutors, the IRS, the French government, and USA Track and Field.

And the Oregonian’s Jeff Manning, who has a stunning report here:

Vin Lananna’s rapid rise to the pinnacle of U.S. track and field has been stalled by a divisive fight on the sport’s national governing board over his business interests.

Less than a year after being elected president of USA Track & Field, Lananna was quietly stripped of some of his authority. The board specifically cited his leadership of several companies and nonprofits – including Eugene-based TrackTown USA — that routinely bid on contracts to host and organize track meets.

The board passed a two-page resolution in October that, among other things, forces the former University of Oregon track and field coach to recuse himself from any matter that involves his companies or their competitors.

Millions of dollars have changed hands between the governing body and Lananna’s numerous outside interests. Most recently, the association pledged $6 million to Oregon 21, the organizing committee of the 2021 track and field world championships in Eugene.

“Vin has been engaged in complete conflict of interest,” said Steve Miller, the track and field association’s chair. “The outcome of the vote is that he has to recuse himself from the vast majority of what he does as president of USATF. Your effectiveness as leader is greatly diminished when you can’t be in the room.” …

Will Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum follow up on this?

Meanwhile Lananna is still on the UO payroll, at 0.69 FTE:

UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold breaks professor’s bequest, transfers control of ~$2.4m from faculty to CoD Dean Lindner

Technically it was Lane County Circuit Judge Lauren Holland who did this, acting at Paul Weinhold’s request. And presumably Weinhold was acting on CoD Dean Christoph Lindner‘s request, and UO General Counsel Kevin Reed went along with the money-grab because he hadn’t done his homework.

Here’s what I’ve been able to figure out. Longtime UO art history professor Marion Dean Ross was a remarkable man:

He died in 1991. He was dedicated to the field of architectural history, the State, the University, and the Department of Art and Architectural History, of which he had been the first chair. In his will he gave the UO Foundation a $1.2M endowment to buy books and photos on the history of architecture, to be selected by his department’s faculty:

Admirable and inspiring – and a lot of money. At the time the UO Foundation’s endowment totalled roughly $120M.

AAA Dean Jerry Finrow and Professor Jeff Hurwit, chair of Art History, set up a MOU to govern how to disburse of the funds in accordance with Ross’s wishes. The MOU was approved by Ross’s executors and unanimously adopted by the department. Full pdf of the MOU here. [See the comments for Finrow’s view of Lindner/Reed/Weinhold modiciation].

The MOU even spells out a procedure for any necessary revisions, as time moves forward:

Ross’s fund is now worth about $2.4M in 2018 dollars, and it generates $94K a year in expendable earnings, according to the Foundation’s regular 4% rule.

Over the years a surplus of $312k in unspent funds has accumulated. That may seem like a lot, but a library could easily drop $50K on a decent edition of Palladio’s Quattro Libri:


Not that I grew up in the shadow of Jefferson’s version of the Villa Capra, copied from this very book.

However as it happens not everyone loves books, and Oregon law has a procedure for modifying the terms of “wasteful” gifts. So on November 9th 2017 UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold started the legal process to modify the terms of professor Ross’s gift, claiming that “the unused surplus cannot be used for Dr. Ross’s charitable purpose”:

Things went pretty quick from there. The same day, UO Foundation lawyer Laurie Nelson had her paralegal notify the required parties:

Professor Ross’s sole surviving trustee objected, but no matter. Five days later UO General Counsel Kevin Reed, speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries of Professor Ross’s gift, notified the court that:

From what I can tell Reed wrote this without consulting the department’s faculty, the librarians, or anyone from the UO Senate. He sure as hell didn’t ask me. It’s not clear what Reed told the DOJ or Judge Laurens about the MOU, or if he’d done any due diligence to try and find out about it.

So on Dec 28th 2017 the Judge agreed with Weinhold:

This did two very different things.

1) It gave UO permission to spend some of the Ross Fund earnings for research purposes other than books and photographs – such as grad fellowships. Great.

2) It removed all control of the spending of the fund from the department faculty and gave it to CoD Dean Lindner, without oversight. WTF?

Ross was a professor who had served as a department head and as an interim dean. I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he put his money under the control of the faculty, not the dean. 

If changes needed to be made to prevent Professor Ross’s money from being “wasted” on books, the faculty should have been given a chance to make the changes. 

But there’s no sign the Foundation’s lawyers or UO GC Reed showed the DOJ or Judge Holland the MOU, or explained the difference between having the faculty in control and having the dean in control. 

I wonder how often Weinhold and Reed have been doing this sort of thing.

Court documents and RG clippings here:

MOU here:

The UO Foundation’s IRS 990 was due Nov 15. They’ve taken 2 extensions.

Their final deadline is May 15th. The IRS 990 form  is one of the few sources of information the secretive foundation will now reveal, other than a bare-bones state required independent audit. The Foundation used to also publish an annual report with data on how much money went to athletics, etc. But since Paul Weinhold took over as CEO, that has been stopped.

Why the filing delays? I don’t know, the OSU Foundation always manages to get theirs in on time. Here is the UOFs 990 for last year, filed on the last possible day. These delays mean that the data on salaries and perqs for the Foundation’s top officials is almost 2 years old by the time it’s public. A few years ago, in response to complaints, the IRS tightened the rules on second extensions and required non-profits give an explanation for the delay. As you can see there’s there’s not much teeth behind that:

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Yikes! Oregon Senate trims Track Town subsidy

2/27/2016: Saul Hubbard has more in the RG here:

A last-minute change by the Oregon Senate on Friday to a proposed increase in the state’s lodging tax left Lane County lawmakers fuming.

The change, adopted because of pressure from Portland area Democratic senators, would erode further the size of the tax increase, meaning a smaller pot of new revenue for tourism-­related ventures across the state.

It also could make it more difficult for the tax increase to cover the full $25 million subsidy that will be requested for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene.

Under the latest amendments, the state’s lodging tax would increase to 1.8 percent, from 1 percent now, for four years. It would then drop down to a 1.5 percent permanent rate. …

I’m not sure why the legislature is considering even this, given that on Jan 14 Diane Dietz quoted Lananna as saying he can make this work without state subsidies:

Not getting the lodging money would be a big challenge to TrackTown’s goal of bringing 2,000 athletes from 214 countries to Eugene for a nine-day event in August 2021, Lananna said.

But coming up empty-handed in the February session would not stop TrackTown, he said.

“Are we going to go ahead? We’re absolutely going to go ahead. (But) don’t ask me what the next step is. I don’t know.”

And here’s what the Oregonian’s Jeff Manning had on Jan 10:

Track Town is not backing off its contention that it eventually needs $40 million in public funding to stage the event. Backed by the formidable political power trio of Nike, Phil Knight and the University of Oregon, it has plenty of clout in Salem.

“But we don’t have to get there today in this short session,” Lananna said. “We’ve got five years to bring people around.”

…  It’s a lucrative arrangement. Even at part-time, Lananna gets paid $440,000 a year, including some deferred compensation, by the university. Track Town and related entities paid him another $334,300 annually, according to the non-profit’s tax return.

On top of that, Nike pays Lananna $30,000 a year as part of a long-term consulting contract.

… “I heard through the grapevine that you are working on possible plans for an IAAF proposal,” then interim UO President Scott Coltrane wrote in an Aug. 26, 2014, email. “Can you give me an update and briefing via telephone when convenient?”

After talking to Lananna, Coltrane immediately emailed his top lieutenants clearly concerned about whether the UO could fulfill the promises Lananna was making.  “Yikes,” Coltrane wrote in the Aug. 28 email. “Have any of you seen any proposals for what specifically is being proposed for new housing for rehabilitation of residence halls?”

2/23/2016: House passes IAAF subsidy, UO won’t waive fees on public records

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IAAF money man Paul Weinhold not part of Lananna’s team for RG meeting

That’s the word from the RG’s Austin Meek, here:

Lananna and his team — TrackTown treasurer Michael Reilly, UO general counsel Kevin Reed and athletic director Rob Mullens — took a step in that direction by meeting face-to-face with a group of reporters and editors at The Register-Guard last week. The meeting was cordial and professional, but no one was holding hands.

Well, they’re going to need a scapegoat. Apparently the RG will have more news soon.

Here’s Weinhold telling IAAF President Lamine Diack that if they give Lananna’s Track Town group the championships, the UO Foundation will make good any losses:

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Lord Coe quits Nike, French cops investigating Track Town bid


The BBC has the latest from the IAAF headquarters – in Monaco, of course. Apparently the IAAF will replace his Nike money by paying Coe a salary, in an effort to reduce the IAAF’s longstanding system of bribes, kickbacks, and side deals:

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The British press is now asking why public money was spent on lobbying the IAAF members to elect Coe. And British MP Damian Colin’s parliamentary hearings will be on Dec 2. Report here:

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IAAF sells 2021 Track Championships to Eugene w/o public bidding

Update: UO’s public records office has been sitting on the RG’s request for documents about the championship bidding process since June 15. PR log here:

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4/16/2015 update: IAAF sells 2021 Track Championships to Eugene w/o public bidding

The BBC has the surprising news here:

The 2021 World Athletics Championships will be held in Eugene, Oregon, after the sport’s governing body bypassed the normal bidding process. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it was “a unique strategic opportunity” to hold the event in the United States for the first time. IAAF chief Lamine Diack said the decision was taken “in the interest of the global development of our sport”.

How much public money did the UO Foundation, Eugene, and the State secretly promise this time? I don’t know, but I expect there will be some reporters digging into this latest from the scandal ridden IAAF.

1/31/2015 update: UO Public Records office finally gives RG IAAF track bid documents – but what did the Presidential Archives show?

I’ll go out on a limb and guess that Dave Hubin’s office carefully scrubbed these records before deciding what to hand over to RG News Editor Christian Wihtol. Presumably the good stuff is in UO’s Presidential Archives though – or was, until Interim GC Doug Park got his hands on them:

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11/25/2014: Paul Weinhold was planning to mortgage UO for Track-Town’s losing IAAF bid

This latest athletics scandal is not going to help UO hire a new President – at least not the sort we need. Diane Dietz’s blockbuster story (in the RegisterGuard tomorrow, online tonight) seems to have made UO Foundation President Paul Weinhold very nervous:

The foundation’s financial guarantee to the IAAF set no upper limit on what the foundation would have been liable for if the Eugene event had turned into a money loser. …

Weinhold said the UO Foundation faced minimal risk in agreeing to cover meet losses because TrackTown USA’s budget was thoroughly vetted and reliable [Editor: Like the Knight Arena budget?]; Kitzhaber favored the legislation that would have provided millions in state support; and the foundation had confidential side deals meant to hold the foundation harmless, Weinhold said in the interview. Weinhold declined to disclose any specifics of those side deals.

“We do not believe we had any exposure, and we had agreements in place that eliminated our exposure. That should be enough for you,” he said.

He should be nervous, given Oregon’s public meetings law, and what he says about the role of the UO Board, which is subject to that law:

Weinhold said the foundation made sure the UO leadership was informed of financial guarantees being made to the IAAF.

“There was full knowledge from the (UO) board to the (UO) president of exactly what we were doing — providing this guarantee,” Weinhold said.

Weinhold said the foundation’s plan was not presented to the Board of Trustees as a whole, but rather in conversations with individuals.

“There was a review with various people at different times — the board leadership with the president with others involved.”

The Board of Trustees didn’t object, but that did not mean that the foundation had an implied approval from the board for the venture, Weinhold said.

“I didn’t say it was implied permission. We didn’t ever talk about permission. We talked about the vision, the benefit to the University of Oregon.”

And then:

“The foundation served this same role with the World Juniors this past summer,” Weinhold told the international body, “and is serving this role with the World Indoor Championships in Portland in 2016.”

The foundation describes its public mission to the Internal Revenue Service — which grants the foundation’s nonprofit status — as “supporting the University of Oregon’s mission of education, research and entrepreneurship…”

Weinhold initially said this week that the Portland meet — not at the UO and not a UO event — was a little far afield.

“That doesn’t help the university in much of any way,” he said. Then he added, “Let me back up. It doesn’t help the university in the way that the World Juniors did, or the World Championship (would have), but it was all part of a three-part series to host the World Championships.”

The foundation believed it would have a better chance of clinching the world championships if it agreed to guarantee all three events, Weinhold said.

The foundation made sure it wouldn’t violate IRS rules by backing the track event, he said. “This was reviewed by our legal counsel and our auditors,” he said.

But after 2016, the foundation has no plans to continue to be a guarantor — “not unless there’s some benefit to the University of Oregon,” Weinhold said. …

Perhaps Eugene lost because we didn’t offer IAAF President Lamine Diack a large enough bribe? I’m guessing the Foundation will try again for 2021, with still more of our money, and even less transparency.  Full disclosure: Last year the UO Foundation threatened to sue me for defamation, for posting that they were “Money laundering for the Duck Athletic Fund”. I really don’t know what to say about this latest, except to say that Milton Friedman was right about “spending other people’s money”.

UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm kicked Dietz and me out of the UO Board meeting about this proposal. So say what you will about the corrupt IAAF – at least they posted the video. Vin Lananna, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, Paul Weinhold, and others trying to spend UO’s money. The whole sad thing is worth watching, but I’ve set this to start with Kitzhaber promising to chip in $20 from every Oregon taxpayer (yep, Beavers too), to help out UO’s very high-maintenance Uncle Phil:

8/2/2015 update: More trouble for the notoriously corrupt IAAF, which will be bringing its championship to Eugene in 2021 thanks to a promised subsidy of $30M in Oregon tax money from John Kitzhaber (after he got a $250K campaign gift from Phil Knight) and an open ended promise of UO Foundation support from Paul Weinhold. Page down for the video. The NYT has the drug story here:

KUALA LUMPUR — Endurance runners suspected of doping have been winning a third of Olympic and world championship medals, two news organizations said on Sunday, after a leak of thousands of blood test results from 2001-2012 threw global athletics into chaos.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper and Germany’s ARD/WDR broadcaster said they had obtained the secret data from the vaults of the global athletics governing body, the IAAF, supplied by a whistleblower disgusted by the extent of doping.

The news organizations showed the data to two experts, who concluded distance running was in the same state as cycling had been when Lance Armstrong won the seven Tour de France victories of which he has since been stripped.

“Never have I seen such an alarmingly abnormal set of blood values,” the Sunday Times quoted Australian doping expert Robin Parisotto, one of the two scientists, as saying.

“So many athletes appear to have doped with impunity, and it is damning that the IAAF appears to have sat idly by and let this happen,” said Parisotto, an inventor of the test used to detect the blood doping agent EPO. …