Tag: Dale Boden

Follow the money: A trail of footnotes and government documents leads to Insider Louisville’s front door

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

In business journalism, some of the most interesting news shows up in fine-print footnotes in documents companies file with government agencies. Hospital and nursing giant Kindred Healthcare is great example. Last spring in a statement to stockholders, it disclosed two special payments to top executives: $6 million to then-executive vice chairman Paul Diaz in connection with his leaving the CEO’s job, and $250,000 to Chief Financial Officer Steven Farberto help him escape a high-profile dispute with a Glenview neighbor. But to uncover that, you had to follow three different footnotes on a table showing how much they got paid overall.

Insider Louisville logoThis leads me to another footnote, of sorts — one that appeared on a story today at Insider Louisville, the online news site launched in 2010, and to a document I’ve run across at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Together, they open a window on who’s investing in Louisville’s news media at a time when the once-dominant Courier-Journal has been losing influence amid steep staff cutbacks, shifting the balance of power in Kentucky’s biggest city. They underscore the importance of news outlets everywhere telling readers who’s behind the scenes, and about any conflicts of interest owners may pose for their publication. (I’ve got disclosures of my own.)

This morning, at the bottom of a long story about the Humana Foundation, Insider Louisville editors added this disclosure: “One of the five directors of the Humana Foundation is David A. Jones Jr., an investor of Insider Louisville.”

David A. Jones Jr.

Jones is one of Louisville’s more influential residents. He’s on the board of directors of Humana itself, and his father, David A. Jones Sr., is a co-founder of the insurance giant. Jones Jr. is a partner at Chrysalis Ventures, the Louisville venture-capital firm he founded in 1993, and he’s chairman of the elected seven-person board overseeing the Jefferson County Public Schools. (Here’s Chrysalis’s portfolio of company investments; it doesn’t show Insider Louisville, which suggests this was a personal investment.)

Tom Cottingham

To be sure, close readers of Insider Louisville have known Jones was an investor for several years. In August 2014, owner Tom Cottingham told readers he’d brought in three new minority investors he knew from a prior venture: Jones; Doug Cobb, the former Greater Louisville Inc. CEO, and Jon Pyles, now the site’s vice president of marketing. The story — which carried only a “staff” byline — didn’t say how much they’d invested, nor the exact size of their stake. Cottingham said he remained the majority holder.

Douglas Cobb

Now, though, an SEC document filed in April offers more clues about the publication’s investors, whom we learned this summer include a prominent heiress to the glittering Brown-Forman whiskey fortune. I can’t find any mention of the regulatory filing on Insider Louisville’s website, nor in any other media outlet in Louisville. My readers may well correct me after I publish this post; in any case, this is certainly the first time I’m writing about it.

The April 12 document shows that Insider Louisville LLC raised $975,000 from 12 investors in a $1.5 million stock offering that drew the first investment March 31. It didn’t identify the investors by name, however, and it didn’t say how big their stakes were. The first $450,000 was to pay down an undisclosed amount of debt, according to the document; anything left over would go to any of its directors: Jones, Cottingham, and a third named Jamie Wilson. (Who’s Wilson? I haven’t figured that out; maybe one of my readers knows.)

Minimum investment: $25K

Continue reading “Follow the money: A trail of footnotes and government documents leads to Insider Louisville’s front door”

Bevin appoints Brown-Forman, Glenview Trust, other big-money heavy-hitters to new UofL board; Schnatter and Frazier raise profiles

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 10:42 p.m.

Matt Bevin

Tightening his grip on the University of Louisville, Gov. Matt Bevin today added 10 more members to his reconfigured board of trustees, appointing a slew of business heavy hitters, including at least one with long family ties to the board.

Among them: Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter; Glenview Trust Co. founder and chairman David Grissom, who’s also a retired Humana executive; and Brown-Forman heiress Sandra Frazier.

Schnatter is a major UofL booster, donating millions for naming rights to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. He and conservative industrialist Charles Koch donated $6.3 million to the school in March 2015 to establish an on-campus center to study the virtues of free enterprise; responding to criticism, the university said the money wouldn’t curtail academic freedom.

Sandra Frazier

Frazier, who is now cycling off the Brown-Forman board of directors, also is a director of Glenview Trust, a boutique investment firm that serves more than 500 of the area’s wealthiest families. Her late father, Harry Frazier, is a former UofL vice chairman, and her uncle, the late Owsley Brown Frazier, was once chairman.

Two other Bevin appointees are private equity and venture capitalists, according to The Courier-Journal: Dale Boden, now a partner with Weller Equity; and Douglas Cobb, who co-founded Chrysalis Ventures with David A. Jones Jr., a Humana director. Jones’ father, David Sr., co-founded Humana and is also a Glenview Trust director. The 10-member Glenview board comprises some of Louisville’s  biggest power brokers.

Here’s Bevin’s order, with the full list of appointees and their terms.

Bevin’s announcement today follows his surprise June 17 dismissal of the previous 20-seat board, which he called “dysfunctional” in its oversight of the university and President James Ramsey. He replaced them with an interim three-member board, which he filled out with today’s appointments. The school has been roiled with controversy over Ramsey’s seven-figure compensation; a sex scandal involving the marquee men’s basketball program, plus other administrative missteps. Ramsey offered to resign when Bevin dissolved the board, but a final decision on his future was deferred to the next board.

In other news: Continue reading “Bevin appoints Brown-Forman, Glenview Trust, other big-money heavy-hitters to new UofL board; Schnatter and Frazier raise profiles”