This is an odd one.
Pat Kilkenny is well known for his friendship with Phil Knight and his brief tenure as Dave Frohnmayer’s Duck Athletic Director, during which he set up the peculiar financing scheme for the Knight Arena, which is still costing UO’s academic budget $450K a year.
Connie Ballmer was one of the original UO Board of Trustees members. She has donated many millions to UO and particularly Pathway Oregon, a UO program that ensures low-income Oregon residents can go to UO tuition free, and then provides academic support services. It’s led to graduation rates on par with those of kids from rich families. She unexpectedly resigned from the BoT in March.
Kilkenny is also one of the founders and owners of Aladdin Bail Bonds, dba as Two Jinn Inc, a CA based company that has made a lot of money under that state’s cash bail bonds laws. In 2018 the CA legislature outlawed the cash bail system, arguing that companies like his were using the system to exploit low-income families. Kilkenny and the other bail companies put up more than $10M to challenge this law with Proposition 25 in the 2020 election. They won, the reformers lost, cash bail remains, and Kilkenny is still in business.
Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve were the major donors opposing the cash bail system and the unsuccessful effort to defeat Kilkenny’s Prop 25, which spent $13M. The LA Times has the story here.
More on Kilkenny’s
other sleazy business dealings civic-minded efforts to help PERS reduce its unfunded liability are in the Oregonian here, and copies of the email chain between Kilkenny, Gov Brown’s chief of staff Nik Blosser (now working for the Biden transition team), and John von Schlegell (his Endeavour Capital Fund is a big investor in Kilkenny’s bail bonds company) here.