Tag: David A. Jones Jr.

David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

David Jones Sr
Jones

If there’s anything surprising about David A. Jones Sr. formally entering the high-stakes fray over the University of Louisville yesterday, it’s the fact it took this long to become public.

Nearly three months ago, when Gov. Matt Bevin shocked the community by seizing control of the school and dismissing the 20-member governing board he declared “dysfunctional,” the first person I thought of was Jones, the Louisville native, co-founder of Humana, and one of the state’s leading philanthropists.

That June 17, Bevin said his decision was the “culmination of all the conversations I’ve had with everybody on all fronts.” He didn’t reveal the names of those he’d spoken with, but it certainly would have included alumni whose opinion mattered. And few among that select group matters more than Jones.

“One of the university’s most influential and wealthiest graduates,” I wrote the day Bevin moved against the 22,000-student school, “is Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr., who received a bachelor’s degree in business there in 1954.”

Jones and his wife, Betty Ashbury Jones, have long and extensive ties to UofL. She received a bachelor’s degree from the school in 1955, and the two went on to graduate school: David to Yale Law; and Betty, much later, to the French School at Vermont’s Middlebury College. (More on those two schools in a moment). Back in Louisville, Jones and a law partner, Wendell Cherry, launched the health-care company in 1961 that would become the Humana empire, starting with a single nursing home; they became millionaires after it went public in 1968.

david-and-betty-jones
Betty and David Jones.
A Depression-poor childhood

David served on the board of trustees for a time, and Betty taught French Conversation in the Continuing Education Department from 1993 to 2003. For their service to the school, the couple were among the first to be made members of the Arts and Sciences Hall of Honors, in 2007.

David didn’t come from money, and UofL — which he attended on a ROTC scholarship Continue reading “David Jones Sr., his alma mater UofL, and the politics of money and power in Louisville”

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

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
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
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”

Fund for the Arts raises $9 million, but campaign illustrates risk of shifting Louisville economy

The Fund for the Arts said it received $8.7 million in contributions during its fundraising campaign ended last month, up slightly from last year’s $8.6 million. The money will be distributed to more than 100 charities, schools and other nonprofits to support arts programs, according to The Courier-Journal.

Fund for the Arts logoBut in announcing the figures, the 67-year-old organization warned Louisville’s economy has made it harder to raise more money, especially when big contributions from companies such as GE Appliances and Humana may be threatened by ownership changes.

The Humana Foundation is one of the fund’s biggest supporters. Of the $8.3 million it gave to charity in 2014, $366,000 went to the arts fund, according to the foundation’s most recent IRS tax return. Only six other charities got more:

With $179 million, the Humana Foundation is the fourth-largest foundation in Louisville, according to Boulevard’s database of richest nonprofits. While it’s legally separate from the company, their leadership overlaps. The foundation’s five directors are Humana CEO Bruce Broussard; General Counsel Christopher Todoroff; board member David A. Jones Jr.; his father, company co-founder David A. Jones Sr., and Chairman Michael McCallister, a retired Humana CEO and former chairman.

Michael McCallister
McCallister

It’s unclear whether Aetna would change any of those officers — and the foundation’s giving, too — assuming the Hartford insurer completes its $37 billion purchase of Humana. That deal is subject to final regulatory approval, a hurdle that’s recently grown higher within the Department of Justice’s antitrust division.

Related: As GE Foundation gets new chief, its Louisville ties are less certain after Haier deal.

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
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

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”

Jones vs. Jones: A mystery over the true identity of Louisville’s biggest political donor

Business First logoBusiness First has a curious story about political campaign contributions in its current issue both in print and on its website. (We won’t link to the web version because it’s only for subscribers). The story lists the Louisville area’s top 30 individual donors for the 2016 election cycle — this includes White House candidates — and says whether their gifts went mostly to Democrats or to Republicans. The names were compiled for the business weekly by the well-regarded Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group in Washington that tracks campaign finance.

Here’s what’s odd; bear with us, because it’s complicated. The story says the No. 1 donor is a retired Dr. Mark Jones, who’s said to have given a total $200,950 primarily to Republicans. He’s far and away the most generous donor listed; No. 2 is the philanthropist Christy Brown, who’s given $76,600 (mostly to Democrats), according to the list.

But Boulevard wonders whether the center has erred. We used its searchable database to build our own list of the biggest Kentucky donors for the 2016 election cycle. At the top of our list: one David A. Jones, identified only as a Louisville retiree who gave $200,000 on Sept. 14 to the Kentuckians for Strong Leadership PAC.

David Jones Sr
Jones

He’s almost certainly Humana co-founder David A. Jones Sr.; the PAC lists his $200,000 gift, and his West Main Street office address in its annual 2015 Federal Election Commission report. (Moreover, if you search solely for any David A. Joneses, you turn up another five donations totaling $41,500 from a retired David A. Jones Sr., including $33,400 on May 27, 2015, to the Republican National Committee. However, it doesn’t look like these gifts were from his son, venture capitalist and Humana director David A. Jones Jr.; these appear to be from Jones Sr.)

Back to the Business First story. The center’s database does, indeed, show two contributions by a Dr. Mark Robert Jones of Louisville, but totaling only $950. And unlike Business First’s account, Jones isn’t identified as retired. The donations went to 21st Century Oncology; it’s unclear whether that’s a PAC.

Did the center mistakenly credit the $200,000 from David Jones Sr. to Dr. Jones and his $950, pushing the doctor to the top of the list? It certainly seems possible. That would mean the Humana co-founder is the real top donor, with a total $241,500. We’ll watch Business First for any clarification in the days ahead.

McConnell,Mitch-012309-18422-jf 0024
McConnell

This much is certain: The Kentuckians for Strong Leadership PAC is solidly Republican. “Our highest priority in 2014,” its website says, “was ensuring the reelection of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In 2016, we turn our attention to delivering control of Kentucky’s State House of Representatives to the Republican Party.”