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Monday, June 16, 2014

Razorback Foundation ran a deficit in most recent tax year: Severance, speaking fees cost millions

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 1:44 PM

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Arkansas Business this week has compiled a report on the best-paid nonprofit officials in Arkansas, using the public 990 tax forms nonprofits are required to file. Seven doctors or hospital administrators led the way with compensation of more than $1 million each, Dr. Ali Krisht, a neurosurgeon at St. Vincent Health, was No. 1 with $1.3 million in tax year 2013.

This reminded me that I hadn't checked in a while on the Razorback Foundation, the secretive, university-controlled putative non-profit that supports athletics at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. It is powered in part by premium ticket sales handled by public employees of the university.

Good timing. Guidestar, an organization that amasses information on nonprofits, now has the 990 filed for the tax year ending June 30, 2013. It was filed earlier in 2014.

Here's the full report.
Some $2.6 million in Razorback Foundation spending went to high-level executives and current and former UA athletic figures.

The highlights:

In the tax year covered by the report, the foundation had $28 million in total revenue, versus $37.7 the year before. Expenses exceeded revenue by $9.3 million, versus a $20.7 million surplus the year before. The Foundation sent $30.6 million in support of UA sports — scholarships, construction and similar. That was a substantial increase over the previous year, likely a product of the big construction needs.  The Foundation relied on reserves to cover the spending. At the end of the year, it had about $39 million in assets versus $47 million the year before.

INDIVIDUAL COMPENSATION (all figures below rounded off):

Norm DeBriyn, associate director, $126,000

Sean Rochelle, executive director, $121,000

Billye Veteto, chief financial officer, $106,000

Harold Horton, former foundation director, $158,000

PAYMENT TO INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Mike Anderson, basketball coach, $700,000 for "speaking engagements."

Frank Broyles, former athletic director, $417,000 for "speaking engagements." (His emeritus status with the UA and foundation ends June 30.)

John Pelphrey, former basketball coach, $410,000 for contract buyout.

John L. Smith, former football coach, $300,000 for "speaking engagements."

Bobby Petrino, former football coach fired in April 2012, $291,000 for "speaking engagements."

TRANSACTIONS WITH 'INTERESTED PARTIES'

Jeff Long, UA athletic director, $400,000 loan from  foundation (balance due said to be $454,000) for life insurance.

I'd ask for more details about some of these things but Sean Rochelle has never returned a call from the Arkansas Times. And the athletic department  refers questions to the foundation. It will be a true public university athletic program the day this $30 million operation, built on the backs of fans, public university students and facilities on public property, is open to the same scrutiny the rest of the university receives. Same goes for the UA Foundation.


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