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. …

UO Foundation releases some good fundraising data

There’s some good news coming out of the UO Foundation regarding fundraising for the 2014-15 FY, now posted on “Around the 0”. While the secretive UO Foundation releases only the barest breakdown, gifts (or more accurately, a mix of gifts and pledges) to the academic side are way up:

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The 2013-14 numbers were grim, and nobody bought the happy face Gottfredson and his strategic communicators put on them, here. This time around Coltrane gets credit:

Of the total, $96 million is designated for the university’s endowment, which now totals more than $700 million. [UO Development VP Mike Andreasen] said an overarching objective of the campaign is to build the endowment to levels that will allow the UO to soundly plan and implement its priorities over time.

Schill, whose first day on the job was July 1, thanked former interim President Scott Coltrane for his leadership in the public launch of the campaign and looked ahead to meeting its next challenges.

“This is a tremendous effort,” he said. “Together, we will do amazing things to create opportunities for access and excellence across the university. Now we know how to fundraise efficiently, there will be more money, more opportunities and more positivity coming towards us.

Andreasen says the branding campaign was also responsible in part. To the contrary, I’ve heard rumors that donors are skeptical of the money spent on this, and on UO communications, which might explain the various reports and reorganization efforts.

Most public universities have independent foundations that manage gifts to the university, invest the endowment, and so on. State public records laws vary on whether or not the records of these foundations are covered under public records laws. The trend – in response to a series of scandals – is towards more transparency, as explained in this Student Press Law Consortium article, here:

Courts and others have often – but not always – seen public university foundations for what they are: public bodies cloaked in a thin private veneer. And they have ruled that foundations, no matter how they describe themselves, must comply with a state’s public disclosure laws. Yet, in an attempt to maintain their veil of secrecy, foundations have become increasingly adept at devising organizational structures more likely to avoid public scrutiny.

As with all open-records battles, journalists should remember that their state’s disclosure laws almost always operate as a floor rather than a ceiling. Except in very limited situations, entities are always free to disclose more than the bare minimum required by law, and sometimes can be persuaded to do so. Even if your state has neither a statute nor a court ruling declaring foundation records to be open to public scrutiny, it is important to continue seeking access, because change comes only with pressure.

Unfortunately, back in 2010 UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold managed to get Attorney General John Kroger to agree that the UO Foundation could keep its records secret – request and opinion here. That ruling does *not* extend to foundation records held by UO itself, of course.

There is a little more fundraising detail available in the Foundation’s most recent IRS 990 report for the FY ending June 2014, here. These reports are due Nov 15, but the Foundation typically gets two three month extensions so they can delay releasing the information until May 15 of the following year.

Total contributions to the UO Foundation for 2013-14 were $83M. That includes about $30M in Duck Athletic Fund seat payments, a $10M gift for the new softball stadium, and other athletic and academic gifts. Most donations were for buildings or current expenses – as you can see contributions to the endowment have not been large. (The IRS data is actual contributions, not pledges.)

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Here’s a little info on how overall donations were spent. I assume the Legacy Fund payments for the Matt Court bonds are somewhere in that big $49M bucket:

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Civic Stadium’s replacement, PK Park, will divert money from UO academics until 2021

Today’s devastating Civic Stadium fire prompted me to look at the agreements between UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold, UO Presidents Frohnmayer and Lariviere, and Duck Athletic Directors Bellotti and Mullens for the UO Foundation guaranteed loans that financed PK Park, which became the Eugene Emerald’s replacement field.

One interesting clause shows that UO is using general unrestricted gifts to the UO Foundation – i.e. gift money that could be used for academic purposes – to subsidize the Duck Athletic Fund. Furthermore, the agreement specifies that UO’s academic side can’t reduce those athletic subsidies until the PK Park balloon loan is repaid, in 2021.

The full MOUs – which UO kept secret until I made a public records petition to the Oregon DOJ – are here:

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Read more about Sambla

I’ve made a public records request for the accounting records:

Date: June 29, 2015 at 11:19:25 PM PDT
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>
Cc: Eric Roedl <roedl@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton –

This is a public records request for BANNER accounting statements showing how much in UO Foundation general unrestricted gift funds and gifts designated to general operations (as distinct from Duck Athletic Fund or other contributions specifically earmarked by the donors for athletic purposes) have been allocated to the UO Athletic Department, for each of the fiscal years from 2008 to 2015.

I attach a copy of the PK Park loan MOU’s for 2009 and 2011, which note the existence of these allocations.

I’m ccing Duck AAD Eric Roedl, as he should be able to easily produce these records.

Foundation releases IRS 990 showing assets, expenses, executive salaries

Not the UO Foundation. The OSU Foundation. Their helpful public records person sent me their 990 the day after I asked for it, here.

In comparison, as in past years, the University of Oregon Foundation seems determined to drag out the release of their IRS 990 non-profit reporting form until the last possible day – May 15. Their FY closed on June 30, and the report was due Nov 15. But they’ve applied for two consecutive 3-month extensions, meaning the data will be 10.5 months stale by the time it is public.

Why the delay? Perhaps they don’t want the public to learn more about their IAAF Championship bid, or the costs of their plan to develop the EWEB land. Or perhaps they’re just being shy about their executive salaries and expenses.

I emailed UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold and Compliance Officer Erica Funk last week, asking for the reasons for the delay, but they didn’t answer.

UO Senate calls on UO Foundation to divest from fossil fuels

Jane Cramer and John Davidson have an Op-Ed in the RG, here:

The resolution calls on the UO Foundation to:

Sell its current investments in fossil fuel extraction companies.

Refrain from any future investment in fossil fuel extraction companies.

Create a process for groups to put policy proposals to the foundation board.

Create new transparency and accountability mechanisms.

Include students and faculty in setting foundation policy.

The resolution also calls on the UO president to support these requests to the foundation.

PBS interviews Frohnmayer on Fanconi Foundation

12/31/2014 update:

The PBS News Hour uses the Frohnmayer family tragedy with Fanconi’s Anemia and the UO/FSU Rose Bowl game as a hook to examine the larger issue of research on rare diseases, here:

HARI SREENIVASAN: Dr. Summar, that attention, focus, there are 7,000-plus rare genetic disorders out there. And I’m going to feel a little callous saying this, but it’s almost the best thing that can happen is a celebrity gets it.

DR. MARSHALL SUMMAR, Children’s National Medical Center: In many ways, there’s some truth to that. …

HARI SREENIVASAN: Dr. Summar, what about these other 7,000 diseases? How do they gain kind of attention, especially from the pharmaceutical companies, right?

I mean, I hate to be a capitalist about it, too, but where’s the market? If it’s only 1,000 people or 500 people, do drug companies say, OK, we will take that risk and we will put in all that money into research and development and try to find a cure, vs. going after diabetes or cancer, right?

DR. MARSHALL SUMMAR: Well, that’s actually a great question, because, historically, they didn’t. They stayed away from the rare disease field. They figured there weren’t that many patients. There wasn’t much market. …

4/26/2010: What do gifts buy?

Greg Bolt of the RG will tell you that Pat Kilkenny has been working for UO without a written contract, just like Bellotti did. Not a surprise at this point. But why did Dave Frohnmayer ever put Kilkenny in charge of the UO athletics department, and let him decide how many millions of dollars – most of it public money, or tax deductible gifts – would be spent how, and on which coach?

These things are very complicated and involve lots of mutual respect and consideration of the public interest are usually about money.

Frohnmayer received $200,000 per year in pay from donors to the UO Foundation, and a special $150,000 bonus in 2009. These payments to Frohnmayer amounted to about 3% of the entire payout from the UO endowment that year.  Who gave this money? What were the terms of the gifts? The Oregon Attorney General has ruled that the UO Foundation can keep this a secret.

But the IRS has released the data on donations from Pat Kilkenny’s “Lucky Duck Foundation” to Dave Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation. Courtesy of the IRS and www.guidestar.org. Kilkenny gave $240,000 the year before Frohnmayer appointed him as Athletic Director, and another $100,000 each year since.

This is a sad story for everyone involved, in just about every possible sense. And no one would argue that Frohnmayer benefited financially from these donations to the Fanconi Foundation. But they create an obvious potential for a conflict of interest. Frohnmayer should have immediately made them public, and recused himself from any decisions involving Pat Kilkenny. Instead he kept quiet and then appointed him UO Athletic Director and gave him control of a budget of about $60 millon, mostly public funds. Not good, Mr. Frohnmayer.

2005:

nothing

2006:

2007:

 

2008:

2009:

Not available until 11/15/2010 – assuming they run out the IRS reporting extensions again.

Matthew Kish on UO’s $2B fund drive

I’ve got a bunch of new data on the UO Foundation from various sources, but haven’t had time to put it together. Fortunately Matthew Kish of the Portland Business Journal is on it, with several recent stories:

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/print-edition/2014/10/31/cover-story-can-2b-help-uo-take-flight.html

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/2014/11/woeful-endowments-oregon-universities.html

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UO communicators try to hide Gottfredson’s calamitous fundraising collapse

Chuck Lillis, the Chairman of UO’s new Board of Trustees, wants to raise $2 to $3 billion to get UO back on the AAU track. Gottfredson is not delivering. The word is his style does not go over any better with alumni than it does with students and faculty.

Now UO’s strategic communicators are doing their best to move the goalposts. I’m thinking that Mr. Lillis, who has been very generous himself and has called for the Trustees to develop quantifiable goals for Gottfredson’s next performance review, is not going to be fooled this easily:

Aug 19, 2013: Giving to the University of Oregon surpassed the $200 million mark during fiscal 2012–13, a banner year highlighted by a large increase in gift commitments providing student, faculty and research support. Individuals, companies and foundations contributed 41,460 gifts and pledges helping propel the university’s endowment to a record level. [2013 UO News link here.]

July 28, 2014: For the 2013-14 fiscal year, 77 percent of donors made gifts toward academic purposes. Individuals, companies and foundations made 49,904 gifts and pledges totaling $115,150,868, helping propel the university’s endowment to a record level. [2014 UO Around the O link here.]

From what I can tell the largest donation Gottfredson has brought in so far was $10M – for a new softball stadium. Seriously. More on the UO Foundation here.

Fiesta Bowl chief starts 8 month prison term

6/21/2014 update: The Arizona Republic has the story here. No word on how much Duck money was involved.

2/1/2013: No Policy Update: Duck administrators fly south for Felony Bowl

UO has no policy on free tickets or travel – not exactly “best practices” when it comes to claiming it’s exempt income, folks.

From: “Thornton, Lisa”
Subject: Public Records Request 2013-PRR-185Date: February 1, 2013 12:28:59 PM PST
02/01/2013
Dear [UO Matters]-
The University does not possess records responsive to your request for ” a copy of UO’s policies and/or procedures on paying for travel and tickets to away games and/or postseason games”, made 1/28/2013.
Thank you for contacting the office with your request.
Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records

1/28/2013: Ever wonder how the Ducks get our administrators to look the other way about the accounting tricks that leave the academic side holding the bag for millions in athletic department costs? Free junkets are part of it. The Fiesta Bowl has a long history of corruption, see here.
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UO Foundation still laundering cash for Duck Athletic Fund

5/15/2014 update:

  • 2013 IRS 990 here. It covers the period 7/1/2012 to 6/30/2013.
  • 2012 here.
  • 2011 here.

More on these later.

5/14/2014 update: The UO Foundation has told me that they will release their IRS 990 form tomorrow. This should have been made public no later than November 15, but the foundation requested and received two 3 month extensions from the IRS. Tomorrow is their final deadline. The form will include information on expenses, salaries for their highest paid employees such as Paul Weinhold and Jay Namyet, and some rudimentary information on what the foundation does with the money it manages for UO. Probably not much clarity on how much goes to the Ducks and how much to UO academics, but I’ll post what there is, when I get it.

11/20/2013 update: Two weeks ago I received a “demand for retraction” from Thomas Herrmann, legal counsel to the University of Oregon Foundation, regarding this post which I first published on 10/25/2013. (Page down to read the original post in its entirety.)

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UO Foundation assets hit $600M

Great news – the Daily Emerald has the story, here. Not clear how much of this is for athletics, e.g. Knight’s ~$125M “Legacy Fund” or the $5M Robin Jaqua endowment that Johnson Hall let the jocks hijack.

The recent OUS audit of the Foundation – with a weird $7M exception apparently related to coach’s retirements – is here: https://uomatters.com/2014/01/foundation-releases-irs-990-report-for-2012-13-2.html

For a tax-exempt non-profit, the UO Foundation releases very little data on how they spend money. Their IRS 990 was due 5 months ago, but they keep asking for extensions. I’m guessing they’ll release it on the last possible day: 5/15/2014.

They did release this info for the 2013 AY. It’s incomplete, but shows $21M for athletics, $723K for research.

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