2/1/2013: UO has no policy on free tickets or travel – not exactly “best practices” when it comes to claiming it’s exempt income, folks.
From: “Thornton, Lisa”
Subject: Public Records Request 2013-PRR-185Date: February 1, 2013 12:28:59 PM PST
Dear [UO Matters]-
The University does not possess records responsive to your request for ” a copy of UO’s policies and/or procedures on paying for travel and tickets to away games and/or postseason games”, made 1/28/2013.
Thank you for contacting the office with your request.
Office of Public Records
6207 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-6207
1/28/2013: Ever wonder how the Ducks get our administrators to look the other way about the accounting tricks that leave the academic side holding the bag for millions in athletic department costs? Free junkets are part of it. The Fiesta Bowl has a long history of corruption, see here.
Dave Hubin’s PR office provided this complete list of the UO Fiesta bowlers, today. Not all those listed in the letter below went, but plenty of others did. Here are just a few:
Gottfredson promises his
posse Executive Leadership Team they can bring a partner, with no tax consequences. UO’s free ticket policy is a little different on that point. I’m no tax law professor, but Jack Bogdanski of the Lewis and Clark Law School is, and he’s got this to say:
Fiesta fiasco: Duck suits dodging federal tax laws
As a member of the official delegation, you and your spouse or domestic partner may have your travel, lodging, meal and ticket expenses paid or reimbursed, and such payment or reimbursement has no tax consequences.
No deduction shall be allowed under this chapter (other than section 217 [relating to moving expenses]) for travel expenses paid or incurred with respect to a spouse, dependent, or other individual accompanying the taxpayer (or an officer or employee of the taxpayer) on business travel, unless—(A) the spouse, dependent, or other individual is an employee of the taxpayer,
(B) the travel of the spouse, dependent, or other individual is for a bona fide business purpose, and
(C) such expenses would otherwise be deductible by the spouse, dependent, or other individual.
Read more: http://bojack.org/#ixzz2JKAfskk8
More on the one-hour-long admissions event they are attempting to use to justify this, here.
12/27/2012: We made a public records request for the flyaway data – strictly for research purposes, of course. As of December 12, UO had no records showing that there was any UO business purpose for the trips. The IRS is gonna love that:
Subject: PR request, Fiesta Bowl junkets
Date: December 5, 2012 8:30:42 AM PST
To: Lisa Thornton
This is a public records request for
1) a list of the names of all UO or state employees (including e.g. state legislators) and excluding UO student employees that will be receiving free or reimbursed tickets or travel to the upcoming Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, whether directly through UO through UO Foundation accounts managed or controlled by UO employees, or through Fiesta Bowl funds related to UO’s participation in the bowl game. Please include the number in the party if family members or guests are also having costs paid through UO or the Foundation or the Fiesta Bowl.
b) a copy of any documents showing the UO business purpose of the tickets or travel.
I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest. The Fiesta Bowl has a long history of corruption. The former CEO is awaiting sentencing on multiple federal and state felony charges involving misappropriation of funds received in part from UO’s previous Fiesta Bowl appearance. The public has an obvious interest in seeing what’s happening this time.
UO has released documents on travel to previous bowl games in response to PR requests, and these have been used for stories such as that at http://dailyemerald.com/2012/05/07/the-price-of-roses/ Such stories, based on public records or FOIA requests, are also common at other universities and have spurred reform efforts.
Last, Oregon law limits state agency’s ability to dole out perks such as these, and these documents are essential to establishing if UO’s practice is consistent with state ethics laws.
The University does not possess documents responsive to your request made 12/5/12 for:
“1) a list of the names of all UO or state employees (including e.g. state legislators) and excluding UO student employees that will be receiving free or reimbursed tickets or travel to the upcoming Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, whether directly through UO through UO Foundation accounts managed or controlled by UO employees, or through Fiesta Bowl funds related to UO’s participation in the bowl game. Please include the number in the party if family members or guests are also having costs paid through UO or the Foundation or the Fiesta Bowl.
b) a copy of any documents showing the UO business purpose of the tickets or travel.”
Any documents responsive to this request will not be available until after January 3.
The office considers this information to be fully responsive to your request, and will now close your matter.
And the junkets have already begun – from one VP’s email auto-responder:
Currently, I am out of the office for winter break and the Fiesta Bowl on January 3, 2013 in Phoenix. I will return to campus Monday, January 7, 2013. If you need immediate assistance, please contact our organization by phone at [redacted by UO Matters due to mercy exemption]. Thank you and Go Ducks!
Go Ducks indeed. Lorraine Davis had a special clause inserted into her contract promising her – and her husband and family – this perk. Paid for by the UO Foundation’s slush fund:
Any more questions about where the UO Foundation is spending that scholarship money? 12/27/12.