2/5/2016: Kilkenny Towers sold for $30M. Elon Glucklich has the story in the RG here.
2/21/2012: ODE reporter Deborah Bloom teams up with investigative reporter Jeff Manning from the Oregonian to produce a fascinating story on how UO’s former Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny developed the Courtside and Skybox apartments next to Matt Court, while he was on the UO payroll. He started working on the deal summer of 2009, and didn’t tell Lariviere until construction was well underway, summer of 2010. ODE link here, Oregonian here:
Cody and Kilkenny’s 2009 gamble now seems ahead of its time. Both Courtside and the larger, adjacent Skybox complex are 100 percent occupied, marketing themselves as “anchors of the up-and-coming Arena District.” Rents range from $625 to $1,250 per bedroom per month, making them some of the more expensive student housing units in the city. As 50 percent owner, Kilkenny figures that he could eventually earn $7 million to $10 million.
There’s nothing wrong or illegal about a public employee making a profitable investment, even a hugely profitable one. Ron Bersin, executive director of the Oregon Ethics Commission, said state law allows public employees to participate in private ventures. What would constitute a violation is if Kilkenny made decisions in his public role from which he benefited. Kilkenny was no longer athletic director when the buildings were erected. But he remained employed until March 2011 as special assistant to the athletic director.
Kilkenny stepped down as AD in July 2009, when Frohnmayer left. But then the string of new AD’s – Mike Belotti, Lorraine Davis, and Rob Mullens, all kept him on the payroll at 0.50 FTE. This let him get UO health insurance. Guy with a private jet gets the state to pay for his health insurance? Too bad UO won’t give that same deal to the 0.49 FTE NTTF’s getting paid $25,000. (By very rough count, about 100 NTTF’s are at exactly 49%, so no benefits.)
Meanwhile the athletic department is still stuck with a $10 million ten year balloon loan on the baseball park Kilkenny built for us. And we’re still stuck subsidizing athletics’s overhead, thanks to the secret deal Kilkenny cut with Frohnmayer.
We should note that the Courtside scandal was first brought to light by Camilla Mortensen in the Eugene Weekly last year, here. UO finally took Kilkenny off the payroll 2 months later. At the time we wrote a little bit about how Kilkenny came to be hired by Frohnmayer as AD, here. Apparently this is the first in a series of investigative stories that the Oregonian and Emerald will cooperate on. Great idea. Obviously there is plenty of material to work with.