|President Eli Capilouto with UK trustees|
Gov. Matt Bevin unilaterally dismissed all 17 appointed members of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees in an unprecedented maneuver. U of L’s president, James Ramsey, also pledged to resign while applauding Gov. Bevin’s actions.
House cleaning at UofL was long overdue; the university was mired with sex scandals and accounting mishaps. Both the UofL president and the Board of Trustees failed Kentuckians by failing to run the university in a transparent and efficient fashion.
These days, higher education in Kentucky tends to top the news headlines with dramatic changes happening among the top leadership at the state’s universities. Wayne Andrews of Morehead University and Gary Ransdell of Western Kentucky University both declared their plans to retire next year, and Kentucky State University President Raymond Burse also recently stepped down.
Kentucky’s flagship university, the University of Kentucky, is the last remaining institution of higher education that remains untouched by the governor. It is only a matter of time before Gov. Bevin starts to pay attention to UK’s leadership, however.
UK is not in any better situation than the UofL; indeed, it is just better at hiding its own scandals. UK’s president, Eli Capilouto, and his chief counsel, William Thro, had been tussling with Kentucky Attorney General’s office to hide vital documents that may reveal questionable dealings if published.
UK – just like U of L – also has its own secretive foundation, named Kentucky Medical Services Foundation (KMSF), which had been the middleman for countless questionable transactions where university administrators transferred public funds and public land to be used by private entities.
After the arrival of Dr. Michael Karpf to lead UK Healthcare, KMSF’s assets and revenue disappeared from the school's accounting books, and UK’s board of trustees ceased to oversee KMSF’s operations. How this dramatic change happened within UK’s balance sheets remains a mystery.
KMSF commands annual revenue of more than $200 million, which is generated by UK’s clinical faculty, all of whom are state employees. Only a handful of UK administrators, including President Capilouto and Karpf, really know what is happening within KMSF.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear recently decided to declare KMSF a public entity founded and controlled by UK administrators. Unsurprisingly, KMSF’s attorneys promptly appealed this decision in Fayette County Circuit Court.
Kentuckians may ask why UK’s foundation is not accountable anymore to the general public and to the UK’s board of trustees. What is happening at University of Kentucky is simply not much different than what the University of Louisville has been dealing with.
Dr. Lachin Hatemi, a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, is an Indianapolis physician who has filed open-records requests about the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation.