Tulsa, Okla. Former Kansas University basketball player and current athletic department benefactor Tom Kivisto, who on July 18 was removed as CEO and president of SemGroup of Tulsa, on Saturday spoke publicly for the first time since his dismissal.
He read a prepared statement to media members in Tulsa, taking no questions from the press.
Kivisto, who according to the Tulsa World has so far paid a quarter of his $12 million donation to KU's athletic department ($10 million to help construct the new football complex), on Friday was sued by Bank of America.
Bank of America, the Tulsa World reported, sued Kivisto and his trust organization for $12.8 million and interest unpaid on a 2006 loan, according to a complaint filed Friday in Tulsa federal court.
Kivisto guaranteed the $15 million loan himself and through the Thomas L. Kivisto Trust's limited partnership interest in SemGroup, the Tulsa World reported. Other litigation has also been filed by creditors and shareholders. The World reported of complaints including allegations that subsidiaries defaulted on loans, used loan funds improperly or sold common stock without warning investors about the cash shortage and debt load.
SemGroup, a privately held Tulsa energy trading, storage and transportation company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week in Delaware. Reports indicated SemGroup LP lost $2.4 billion on the oil futures market, $290 million of that by Kivisto himself.
Here is Kivisto's statement:
"Over the past 10 days, I have waited to make any public statements as my administrative leave from SemGroup makes it inappropriate for me to answer any questions related to SemGroup issues. With an investigation under way, I cannot answer any of the pressing questions or comment on speculations regarding the SemGroup situation. I would, however, like to speak to the SemGroup family as well as the Tulsa community.
"First and foremost: my biggest concern has been - and will be - for the hard-working SemGroup family of employees who were the reason for SemGroup's unprecedented growth and success. SemGroup employees are world-class and I want their professional and financial futures to be secure and rewarding.
"Whenever crisis hits an organization, employees lose trust and faith in what they thought they knew and understood about their leaders. In turn the leadership owes those who have given their careers to that organization an explanation for the circumstances.
"With investigations, and the complexities of the issues, these explanations are slow in coming. I trust, however, as the facts and truths surrounding this chain of events are revealed, the SemGroup employees will regain their trust in what they initially believed.
"Secondly, my family remains committed to the Tulsa community.
"I am a strong proponent of personal and corporate giving to the local community. Despite SemGroup's news, this has not changed for me personally.
"However, Tulsa has never been, and never will be, built on a single corporation : and Tulsa has always rebounded well when bad things happen to one of its corporate citizens. I expect great things for Tulsa in the immediate future, as well as the years to come."