Tag: Jim Gray

Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

When Tom Jurich chases the money John Schnatter gives to charity every year, it’s the ever-prowling cats that pose competition.

No — not those ones. I’m referring to the snow leopard and other big cats at Louisville Zoo, just five miles from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, the University of Louisville colossus about to undergo a $55 million renovation that athletics director Jurich wants done in just two years.

Schnatter, 54, loves U of L. He’s donated more than $20 million to the 22,000-student school over the past decade, winning naming rights for his Louisville-based pizza chain for decades to come. (And Schnatter’s a Ball State graduate, to boot.)

Papa John's logoBut he also likes other charities — especially the zoo, according to the most recent IRS tax returns for his John H. Schnatter Family Foundation, which filed its 2015 return only last week. The returns show the foundation gave $111,000 to the zoo in 2012-2015; only one other recipient — U of L — got more, among the dozens of charities Schnatter and his wife Annette support. And that was on top of $1.1 million they donated to the zoo in 2008. To be sure, the zoo was just barely ahead of No. 3 on the foundation’s gift list (keep reading).

The returns offer an inside look at how one of the city’s richest couples — we’re talking $800 million — positions themselves in a pecking order where the right kind of philanthropy is the ticket to top-drawer society. This much is clear: the Schnatters don’t give a flying fig about old-money Louisville. They’re passing on virtually all the usual suspects: the Speed Museum, Actors Theatre, Kentucky Opera, the Fund for the Arts — cultural war horses favored by more established families like the Browns and their 150-year-old whiskey fortune, or the Binghams and their faded media empire from 1918.

Instead, the Schnatters devoted their relatively modest $1.9 million to 86 charities over the four years I examined, focused heavily on helping children and veterans; animal welfare and — crucially, for anxious development officers — advancing John Schnatter’s growing interest in free enterprise and limited government.

But he’s never been old money, anyway.

1980s: bustin’ out

After graduating from Ball State University in 1983, Schnatter started Papa John’s in a broom closet at his father’s tavern, Mike’s Lounge, which he famously saved from ruin with $2,800 he got selling his prized 1972 Camaro. Nearly 32 years and many millions of pies later, he stars in his own TV commercials blanketing the air, proving he’s not above getting dirty to make a sale — literally. In a Sony Pictures marketing tie-in this summer, he played a slimed Ghostbuster pizza delivery guy; that’s a still photo, top of page. (Can you imagine Brown-Forman Chairman George Garvin Brown IV dressed as a dancing mint julep for an Old Forester spot? Neither can I.)

Tom Jurich

No matter. Schnatter’s laughing all the way  to the bank. Today, Papa John’s has more than 4,700 restaurants in 38 countries and territories. Its 22,000 employees include 750 in Louisville. And his stake in the $2.8 billion behemoth just soared past $800 million for the first time. That’s a lot of loot that’s arrived relatively fast. On a split-adjusted basis, Papa John’s stock has increased six-fold in the past five years alone. The question over at U of L: How much of that will Jurich wrangle for his $55 million stadium project? Continue reading “Slime time: In the genteel world of old-money philanthropy, pizza king Schnatter is busting loose”

Opinion: Paul no friend of coal industry, or its beleaguered miners; ‘he hasn’t done a single thing’

That’s according to John Winn Miller, a retired journalist, screenwriter and movie producer who took on Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed piece in this morning’s Courier-Journal.

“Paul pretends to be a friend by railing against big government and the mythical ‘war on coal,'” Miller writes. “But actions speak louder than words. The reality: he hasn’t done a single thing or passed a single bill to help the coal industry, distressed coal counties or out-of-work miners.”

And he cites several examples where the senator’s actions went against the industry’s interests. Miller says Paul:

  • offered an amendment to waive some environmental regulations and wage requirements in high unemployment areas. In other words, screw the coal miners and the health of people living in Eastern Kentucky. It was overwhelmingly rejected (33-64) in the Republican-dominated Senate.
  • supports the Keystone Pipeline and competing industries like cheap natural gas from fracking that — along with the growth of green energy — have far more to do with the demise of coal production than environmental regulations.

Miller’s contention the Republican senator hasn’t helped the industry comes despite the fact it’s been one of his biggest financial backers, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks Federal Election Commission data. In 2015-16, mining companies donated $129,250 of the total $9.5 million he took in, according to the center. The top 10 sources where industries were identified:

Rand Paul industry contributions 2015-16

Paul, an ophthalmologist, got the most support from health professionals: $471,241, or nearly 5% of all.

Coal on the way out

Miller writes: “The reality that Paul won’t admit is that coal production in Kentucky has been declining for decades –- long before President Barack Obama. It is the marketplace and the global shift to clean energy that is killing coal. Even China is starting to reduce coal mining and use.”

Indeed, statewide last year, Kentucky had only 9,493 coal mining jobs, a 46% decline from 17,670 as recently as 2008, according to the latest data from the Energy and Environment Cabinet. Mine operators produced 61.4 million tons, nearly half as much as the 121.2 million in 2008.

Jim Gray

Paul, who’s in his first Senate term, is up for re-election in November; he’s facing Democratic challenger Jim Gray of Lexington, the candidate Miller says is the only one “with a real, four-point plan to help the coal industry and revitalize coal-dependent counties as well as the ability to work with both parties.”

The Center for Responsive Politics hasn’t Continue reading “Opinion: Paul no friend of coal industry, or its beleaguered miners; ‘he hasn’t done a single thing’”

Rand Paul really likes Uber

In the battle for Sen. Rand Paul‘s senate seat, he and his Democratic challenger Jim Gray both spend a bundle on payroll, technology, research, and consultants, according to a review of 1,400 expenditures they’ve made from January 2015 to the end of this April.

Paul and Gray
Paul and Gray

Paul has outspent Gray, a construction company executive and Lexington mayor, more than two to one — mostly because Paul’s been campaigning so much longer, their campaign expenditure reports to the Federal Election Commission show.

The reports also show Paul’s campaign really likes Uber; it spent $5,866 just on the ride-hailing service in his total $104,073 for travel.

The bottom line

Overall, Paul spent $2 million from Jan. 2, 2015, to April 27, 2016. His three biggest categories:

  1. payroll: $222,740
  2. website development: $215,193
  3. finance consulting: $195,457

Gray spent $945,911 from Jan. 31 to April 27. His three biggest:

  1. advertising: $278,000
  2. payroll: $220,703
  3. research: $110,600

This spreadsheet lists all of Paul’s expenditures. And this one shows all of Gray’s.

Irony alert: Railing against debt, Sen. Paul’s defunct White House campaign owes $300K to dozens of businesses

Rand Paul for President reported $301,108 in debts and $2,558 in cash on hand as of June 30 in its most recent filing to the Federal Election Commission, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Paul and Gray
Paul and Gray.

After quitting the White House race in February, the first-term Republican senator returned to Kentucky, where he’s raised $3.1 million in a separate re-election campaign to beat Democratic challenger Jim Gray, the mayor of Lexington.

Campaign spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper told the Lexington newspaper that everyone will be paid in full, but declined to give a timetable. “Closing down campaigns takes time, as evidenced by other presidential campaigns that are at similar stages of doing so,” Cooper said.

In its story, the newspaper noted that Paul, 53, called debt  “the greatest threat to our national security” during one of the Republican White House debates. And on his Senate campaign website, Paul says: “When I talk with people across Kentucky and the United States, the most common top concern for our country is our ballooning federal debt.”

Here’s video of the debate:

Related: Paul’s stock portfolio jumped double-digits last year. (Also: he likes silver coins.)

Gray says he raised nearly $1.1M in second quarter in Senate race against Paul

That boosts Democratic nominee Jim Gray‘s total raised to more than $2.8 million in his campaign against incumbent Republican Rand Paul. The Lexington mayor announced the figures in a press release yesterday; he says he expects to file a formal report with the Federal Election Commission by next Friday’s deadline.

Paul and Gray
Paul and Gray

Paul, completing his first senate term, hasn’t reported his fundraising totals for the quarter. But at the end of April, according to the FEC’s website, he had about $300,000 more on hand than Gray, despite the fact Gray had out-raised him since the beginning of the year, according to The Courier-Journal.

New Ky. campaign finance data show Clinton’s raised 16 times what Trump’s received

Although Donald Trump has a virtual lock on the GOP nomination for president, he’s at the back of the pack in campaign contributions from Kentuckians.

Trump and Clinton
Trump and Clinton.

Newly released Federal Election Commission figures through May 31 show the New York billionaire has taken in just $43,861 in the 2015-2016 campaign cycle. The Democrats’ likely nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has raked in 16 times as much: $709,377.

Viewed another way, of the 10 White House candidates who’ve raised the most money in the commonwealth, Trump has only received 3% of the GOP donations from Kentuckians. Clinton has gotten considerably more: 54% of Democrats’ total contributions:

Final campaign finance graphic

Still, the Republican Party of Kentucky — led by Brown-Forman executive J. MacCauley Brown — says it isn’t worried about Trump’s weak fundraising. Spokesman Tres Watson told WFPL: “The RPK and Republican National Committee continue to raise significant funds and will have more than enough financial resources to win races up and down the ballot this fall.”

Nationwide, Clinton also has a huge fundraising advantage. She’s received $229.3 million vs. $63.1 million for Trump. That’s burdened him with the worst financial and organizational disadvantage of any major party nominee in recent history, according to The New York Times.

Trump began June with just $1.3 million in cash in the bank vs. more than $42 million for Clinton.

Sen. Rand Paul, the Republican now defending Continue reading “New Ky. campaign finance data show Clinton’s raised 16 times what Trump’s received”