Tag: James Ramsey

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

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

David Jones Sr

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.

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”

In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

The white-shoe world of philanthropy is usually collegial and rarely combative, which makes the $355 million James Graham Brown Foundation‘s public accusations yesterday against the University of Louisville Foundation so extraordinary.

The Brown foundation, which has given $72 million to the school over the past six decades, sent the broadside in a letter from Chairman and CEO R. Alex Rankin and President Mason Rummel, according to The Courier-Journal.

They expressed concern that “expenditures may have been made that were not exclusively for the charitable and educational purposes of the university,” or were not consistent with UofL rules barring donors, members or trustees from personally profiting from the UofL foundation, according to the CJ’s Andrew Wolfson.

Alex Rankin

Established in 1943, the Brown is second only to UofL’s among the city’s biggest philanthropic foundations based on asset size; UofL’s has about $820 million. That gives the Brown and Rankin extra clout, and could spur other big donors to also threaten funding cutoffs. Rankin is well-connected in the city’s power structure, sitting on the boards of Churchill Downs and Glenview Trust Co., where fellow directors have very strong UofL connections.

In their letter, Rankin and Rummel also said the Brown foundation is troubled the university hasn’t honored open- records requests from the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, Larry Benz, concerning UofL foundation accounting records, the CJ says.

Underscoring the gravity of their concerns, Rankin and Rummel threatened to cut off funding unless UofL hires a nationally recognized forensic accounting firm to review its finances. The specific request for a forensic accounting is striking because Continue reading “In a sharp rebuke, JG Brown foundation asks whether UofL foundation funds were improperly diverted, threatens to cut off future gifts”

UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 4:56 p.m.

UPS just reported second-quarter results that were in line with Wall Street’s forecasts. The shipper — Louisville’s single-biggest private employer — reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.43 a share, up from $1.23 billion, or $1.35 a share, in the year-earlier period. The FactSet consensus of analysts was for earnings per share of $1.43.

Revenue was $14.6 billion, up from $14.1 billion in the year-earlier period and in line with the FactSet consensus of $14.6 billion. The shipper reiterated its full year EPS guidance of $5.70 to $5.90, compared to the FactSet consensus of $5.80 (MarketWatch and press release). UPS shares closed at $108.10, down 63 cents. The company employs 22,000 workers at the Worldport hub at Louisville International Airport — the biggest fully automated package handling facility in the world.

John Schnatter

PAPA JOHN’S late yesterday boosted its quarterly dividend by a whopping 14%. The new 20-cents-a-share payout, up from 17.5 cents a share, will be paid Aug. 19 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 8 (press release). The pizza giant’s shares closed today at $73.95, up 30 cents. On an annual basis, the 10 cents-per-share hike is worth another $1,045,598 to founder and CEO John Schnatter. His 10,455,981 shares — the most owned by anyone — are now worth $770 million. Shareholders proxy report lists all major holders.

KFC: In the U.K. and Ireland only today, fast-chicken giant KFC today will give away a year’s supply of hot chicken wings to one very lucky winner and their best mate in a promotion celebrating National Chicken Wing Day. “All you need to do is follow KFC on Twitter and then tell them why your best mate is, well, the best, using the hashtag ” (Metro). But don’t hesitate: You must enter by midnight tonight U.K. time, which is six hours ahead of Eastern Time.

TACO BELL: The world’s media outlets are now devoting wall-to-wall news coverage to Taco Bell’s new Cheetos-stuffed burritos debuting in the middle of August in Cincinnati. Behold the $1 sandwich in all its orange glory:


AMAZON spent $3.9 billion in the second quarter on its distribution network, Continue reading “UPS hits Q2 forecasts; Papa John’s hikes dividend 14%; it’s National Chicken Wing Day at KFC; and Franklin Circuit judge blocks new UofL board, casting school into more turmoil”

Kindred to open new hospital in Tacoma; Amazon’s Q2 beats top and bottom; orange you glad: Taco Bell’s burrito + Cheetos = ‘peak stoner’; and Ford’s stock dives 8% on poor results

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 7:25 p.m.

KINDRED said it would build a 60-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital in Tacoma, Wash., in a new joint-venture partnership with CHI Franciscan Health. The new hospital will care for adults recovering from stroke, neurological disease, injury to the brain or spinal cord and other long-term illnesses or injuries. The Louisville-based hospital and nursing home giant will manage the day-to-day operations at the new facility. Subject to regulatory and other approvals, Kindred expects the hospital to open by the first quarter of 2018.

In its Seattle market, Kindred already operates two transitional-care hospitals, two nursing centers, two co-located hospital-based sub-acute units, and it provides home health and hospice services. CHI Franciscan is affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, the third-largest nonprofit health system in the nation, with operations in 19 states (press release). Kindred has more than 2,200 employees in Louisville, and 102,000 company-wide. More about Kindred.

UPS is considering a $106 million expansion of its ground hub in Lexington (Herald-Leader).

AMAZON: The retailer just reported second-quarter financial results that beat Wall Street’s forecasts on the top and bottom lines. It earned $1.78 a share on sales of $30.4 billion. Analysts were expecting $1.11 EPS on revenue of $29.6 billion, according to FactSet (MarketWatch and press release). The company’s stock rode a roller coaster in extended trading: Shares are now up 2.7%, or $20.34, to $722.

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt bought 50,000 shares of company stock at $31.45 a share on Tuesday, for a total cost of $673,000 — a bullish sign he thinks the stock may be headed higher (Reuters). Shares closed today at $31.25, barely changed.

Cheetos bagTACO BELL is introducing its latest mash-up experiment, the Cheetos Burrito, mid-August in Cincinnati for $1. This is the second version sold by the Yum unit; it rolled one out last spring, the Cheetos Crunchwrap Slider,  that GrubStreet dismissed as the “height of laziness” (GrubStreet). According to the Orange County Register, it’s a burrito “stuffed with crunchy Cheetos, buttery white rice, seasoned beef and nacho cheese” (Register). We can only imagine how the concoction will taste, muses Uproxx. “Will the Cheetos inside get soggy and soft? Or will they maintain that crunch that everyone loves?” Its verdict is already in: “Peak Stoner” (Uproxx).

FORD‘s stock fell 8.2%, or $1.13, closing at $12.71 a share on weak second-quarter financial results. Revenue totaled $39.49 billion and adjusted earning per share came in at 52 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 60 cents. But that’s a beat on the consensus revenue forecast of $36.31 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters (press release and MarketWatch).

BROWN-FORMAN: How one bourbon distillery makes its handcrafted barrels (Al.com).

In other news, embattled University of Louisville president James Ramsey agreed to resign yesterday, effective immediately, in a deal with the school’s trustees where he’ll be paid $690,000 in severance, the equivalent of about two years of his university salary only. Provost Neville Pinto will lead the university until a new president is selected.

James Ramsey

Chairman Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman said the board rejected Ramsey’s proposal to serve for up to one year as interim president. Bridgeman indicated that at one point the board considered firing Ramsey, 67, outright (Courier-Journal).

His exit caps a tumultuous period where Gov. Matt Bevin fired the previous board of trustees last month because, he said, it had become too dysfunctional to deal with multiple scandals on Ramsey’s watch.

Ind. Kindred exec accused of child molestation found dead; layoffs hit Deutsch ad agency that lost Pizza Hut account; GE Firstbuild’s cold-brew coffee maker set for 2017 release

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 7:42 p.m.

KINDRED: The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says Kindred Greenwood hospital CFO William Brenner was found dead inside his home near Indianapolis yesterday, 10 days after authorities accused him of molesting a 6-year-old boy he was fostering in 2014 and 2015.

William Brenner

Police say there was no evidence of a struggle and no weapons were found near the body. Investigators believe he may have had a medical episode and had died several days earlier. His body was found in a hallway and was badly decomposed (WIBC).

Brenner, 49, faced four counts of felony child molesting and one count of felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors, according to the Indianapolis Star. The Greenwood facility is one of Louisville-based Kindred’s 95 transitional care and rehabilitation hospitals. Greenwood is 12 miles south of Indianapolis.

Also today, Kindred said it would release its second-quarter financial results on Aug. 4 after stock markets close. The following day, it will host a teleconference with Wall Street analysts to discuss the report (press release).

In downtown Louisville, construction is picking up at Kindred’s new headquarters expansion at Broadway and Fourth streets after a relatively slow start. The $36 million project financed with substantial public incentives will add 142,000 square feet and around 500 new jobs. Plans also include around 7,000 square feet of restaurant space (Broken Sidewalk).

PIZZA HUT: Advertising agency Deutsch went through a round of layoffs at its Los Angeles office last week directly related to the loss of the Pizza Hut account last spring. A Deutsch spokesperson would say only that less than 2% of the L.A.-based team had been affected. Deutsch won the struggling Yum unit’s account two years ago and went on to create the agency’s debut campaign (which essentially said, “We’re Italian”); video, top. Last December, the pizza chain started shopping the account, eventually choosing the independent Droga5 agency in May — its fifth agency of record in six years. Multiple sources have told Adweek that Pizza Hut is not the world’s most agreeable client. It’s not yet clear when Droga5’s first work for the chain will appear (Adweek).


GE: A cold-brew coffeemaker developed by GE Appliances’ Firstbuild laboratory in Louisville is scheduled to reach the market next summer, after first passing through a crowdfunding round on IndieGoGo. The lab is using unconventional funding for the coffee maker, called Prisma, not so much as a financial requirement as it is an awareness-raising launchpad. “We believe crowdfunding is a great way to validate products with the early adopter community,” Firstbuild Senior Design Engineer Justin Brown told Daily Coffee News. The Prisma can make anywhere from five to 25 ounces of ready-to-drink cold coffee (Daily Coffee News).

AMAZON has reportedly fired one of its delivery men Continue reading “Ind. Kindred exec accused of child molestation found dead; layoffs hit Deutsch ad agency that lost Pizza Hut account; GE Firstbuild’s cold-brew coffee maker set for 2017 release”

Taco Bell to open flagship Cantina on Las Vegas Strip; Pizza Hut launches a chatbot ordering system; and Humana stock edges higher, breaking downward spiral

A news summary, focused on 10 big employers; updated 5:34 p.m.

Artist’s rendering shows new two-story Las Vegas restaurant.

TACO BELL this afternoon announced plans to build a two-story 24-hour flagship Cantina in Las Vegas right on the Strip at East Harmon Avenue, across from CityCenter and The Cosmopolitan Hotel; it’s expected to open this fall and will be the third in the growing Cantina division. Like other Cantinas, the Las Vegas restaurant will serve alcohol, including beer and Twisted Freezes slushies. Taco Bell introduced the Cantina concept last year with two urban locations, in a bid to draw younger diners with a more tech-focused ordering system and design. Of the 2,000 Taco Bell restaurants planned to be built by 2022, 200 will be urban locations, a typically underrepresented geography for the brand (press release).

Cantina debuted in Chicago last September, and a San Francisco outpost followed a few weeks later. After Las Vegas, Taco Bell plans to take the concept to Atlanta, and further expansion is in the works for college towns and dense urban areas across the country (Eater). Twisted Freezes come in three flavors: Taco Bell’s proprietary Mountain Dew Baja Blast (blue), Cantina Punch (red), and Margarita (green). Patrons can add their choice of rum, tequila or vodka (Chicago Eater).

Baron Concors

PIZZA HUT announced a new artificial intelligence chatbot that works within Facebook Messenger, and on Twitter, part of a massive roll-out the company is calling “social media ordering.” Chief Digital Officer Baron Concors demonstrated the chatbot at MobileBeat 2016 during a session on chatbot innovations. The new bot can handle pizza and other food delivery orders from customers who have Pizza Hut accounts, streamlining the process, improving accuracy, and eliminating wait-times. It will be available starting next month (Venture Beat and press release).

HUMANA‘s stock closed moments ago at $154.65 a share, up less than 1% — still, the first up day since news broke last week that the insurer and Aetna of Hartford were struggling to keep their $37 billion merger on track during an unexpected meeting with the Justice Department. Aetna’s stock fell less than 1%, closing at $115.50 (Google Finance). None of the parties in the DOJ negotiations Friday have publicly disclosed the outcome. Humana has 12,500 employees in Louisville.

AMAZON: Some shoppers encountered a glitch Continue reading “Taco Bell to open flagship Cantina on Las Vegas Strip; Pizza Hut launches a chatbot ordering system; and Humana stock edges higher, breaking downward spiral”