A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KYCIR: State Senator Danny Carroll says he didn’t write bill he filed restricting public records access

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting A state senator who pre-filed a bill that would broadly restrict access to public records said the bill was authored by someone else, and he’s open to making changes based on transparency concerns. State Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, said in an interview with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that he’s listening to criticism...

KyCIR: Finance secretary reverses committee decision, approves U of L request for legal expenses

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting The state’s finance secretary approved the University of Louisville’s request to spent $1.25 million more on legal expenses, reversing a legislative committee’s decision earlier this month. The financial sign-off marks the latest step in the back and forth drama over the cost of U of L’s reforms. Last week, the state government contract...

KyCIR: U of L says private groups, not state, will cover most of $2.2 million cost of audit

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Two local philanthropic groups will pay most of the costs of the taxpayer-funded, $2.2 million forensic investigation of the University of Louisville’s troubled nonprofit organization, the university announced Tuesday. The C. E. & S. Foundation and the James Graham Brown Foundation — both of which threatened to pull support last fall...

KyCIR: U of L leaders required to report conflicts of interest, but disclosures not always reviewed

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting The University of Louisville asks its staff to disclose potential conflicts of interest, but it’s no secret the disclosures haven’t always been scrutinized. A U of L Foundation audit, released this month, called out unnamed trustees and other decision-makers who personally invested in foundation-backed startups but never disclosed it. Papa...

KyCIR: Public reaction swift, sharp to scathing audit of U of L Foundation’s financial practices

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Fallout from the scathing audit of the University of Louisville Foundation started to take hold late last week, while attorneys for two top former school executives pushed back against the allegations. The foundation’s chief financial officer is currently on paid leave. Meanwhile, a major donor expressed disappointment in the revelations...

KyCIR: Papa John’s CEO Schnatter files revised conflict of interest disclosure form with U of L

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter filed a revised conflict of interest disclosure with the University of Louisville this week, following questions about his business ties with the school. The latest conflict of interest form has significantly more detail than the form he filed in March, when Schnatter cited multiple business ties and a loan...

KyCIR: Schnatter, U of L officials keeping quiet about details surrounding financial ties to the school

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting John Schnatter had deep ties to the University of Louisville well before he landed seats on the school’s board of trustees and its foundation. But just how deep? No one will say. Schnatter indicated business ties and a loan — to or from the university — on his conflict of interest form, a document trustees are required to file annually....

KyCIR: Detention common occurrence for Kentucky youth, even when they haven’t committed a crime

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Margie Beitz’s son had been gone nearly two weeks when she decided to file a court petition labeling him a runaway. She and her husband were blindsided by his anger. The youngest of five children, Isaiah despised rules in a way the others never did. Doctors and inpatient treatments were temporary fixes until insurance money ran out, and the...

KyCIR: Some felons’ rights restored by Bevin’s action, but dozens more left waiting on sidelines

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Journalism Early this week, Gov. Matt Bevin returned voting rights to 24 Kentuckians with felony convictions. “We have always been a nation of second chances,” Bevin said in a press release announcing the action. But 98 percent of the people who’ve asked Bevin for a second chance since he took office are still waiting. The Department of Corrections...

University of Louisville Foundation halts controversial deferred compensation plan

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting University of Louisville Foundation leaders put an end Tuesday to a controversial deferred compensation plan that doled out an extra $20 million to U of L administrators. The U of L foundation board voted unanimously to kill the plan. A replacement plan cannot be created for at least three years, according to IRS rules. The supplemental pay...

KYCIR: Amid uncertainty, University of Louisville leaders cashed out big perks in ‘run on the bank’

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting All eyes were on the University of Louisville and its foundation last summer. Its president was ousted and its finances scrutinized. Both boards were hamstrung by turnover and uncertainty. University trustees were publicly threatening to sue the foundation. Meanwhile, some of the university’s highest-paid employees were making a run on the...

KyCIR: State audit finds dysfunction, rule-breaking, lack of transparency at U of L Foundation

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting A state audit of the University of Louisville Foundation found a president with too much unchecked power, numerous examples of broken bylaws and a “dysfunctional governing climate” at the school’s nonprofit. But the 59-page report released Wednesday by State Auditor Mike Harmon stopped short of making referrals for a criminal investigation. The...

KyCIR: U of L will resume controversial paralysis study following federal investigation

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting The University of Louisville plans to resume a highly scrutinized research study that was previously halted amid data collection and oversight problems. Earlier this year, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made the rare decision to stop funding a U of L study that evaluated treatments for paralyzed patients. Last...

KyCIR: Over 300,000 Kentucky felons will find themselves on the sidelines on election day

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting When Kentucky goes to the polls Tuesday, more than 300,000 potential voters will find themselves on the sidelines. That total ranks third in the nation. They all have a felony conviction. The vast majority, about 240,000, have finished their sentences. Almost 70,000 of them are black. Unless Kentucky law is changed, their criminal records will...

KyCIR: Request from donor leads to questionable U of L purchase of vacant Oklahoma factory

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting A major donor went to the University of Louisville Foundation in 2014 with a proposition. The company Henry Vogt Heuser Jr. ran for nearly three decades was in bankruptcy. His factory, empty and racking up expenses, was for sale. Would the foundation be interested in making a deal and helping him out? University leaders assured Heuser it would. There...

KyCIR: Departing Ramsey will leave behind top deputies with lucrative contracts in place

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting The University of Louisville’s next president will be saddled with more than just baggage from James Ramsey’s tenure. The new president will inherit Ramsey’s top deputies, many of whom were given lucrative compensation packages and perks that experts say go far beyond the norm. Ramsey’s own buyout is $690,000, but the cost of his...

KyCIR: Ramsey out immediately as U of L president; will receive $690,000 settlement

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting University of Louisville President James Ramsey has resigned his post, effective as of Wednesday, and will receive a $690,000 settlement to avoid potential litigation. The university’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept the agreement after a seven-hour meeting that took place mostly out of the public’s view. The move...

KyCIR: Ramsey says despite controversy, it’s business as usual at University of Louisville

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Despite widespread confusion over drastic leadership changes atop the University of Louisville, President James Ramsey said Thursday that operations are “business as usual.” Ramsey told the University of Louisville Foundation board that he is moving forward with a university spending plan, which includes a 5 percent tuition increase, and...

KyCIR: Consultant’s report paid for by KCTCS used flawed data to justify pay for system’s president

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting The president of Kentucky’s community college system makes $375,000 annually, a paycheck that’s right on the money when compared with similar institutions, at least according to a school-funded consultant’s report. Consultant Lyle Hanna briefed a few members of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System board of regents last...

KSP resale of confiscated weapons generated over $630,000 from gun buyers last year

By Kate Howard Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting Every two months, gun dealers from across the region flock to a Kentucky State Police office with a wish list of weapons in hand. There are old revolvers, hunting rifles, and cheap semi-automatic pistols. Occasionally, an AK-47 is up for grabs. Each was confiscated recently by Kentucky law enforcement, perhaps used in a crime or taken in a...