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KU donor Kivisto issues statement

Ousted SemGroup CEO and president remains ‘committed to the Tulsa community’

July 28, 2008

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— 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."

Comments

gccs14r 5 years, 8 months ago

Ha! My guess is that ol' Lew never saw a dollar he didn't like.

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clyde_never_barks 5 years, 8 months ago

In other news, Perkins to return his $250K salaray increase due to fault on donor commitment. News at 6, on Channel 6.

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Jim Williamson 5 years, 8 months ago

Good Lord, folks, you don't think KUAC knew about this long ago -- probably shortly after Kivisto knew it was coming? Development staff have probably been lining up folks to pick up the slack for some time now.

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Rickyonealku 5 years, 8 months ago

So will the present and future Kansas University Students be paying for the balance????

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starbucks 5 years, 8 months ago

i am happy to see this news. anyone engaged in speculation deserves to lose their shirt.

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Godot 5 years, 8 months ago

He lost money on oil futures? What did he do, short oil?

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 8 months ago

So, what is he saying in the statement? Not much it appears.

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pace 5 years, 8 months ago

lets see, do we care more about people and jobs or is this about the ku athletic corp. Now the big question, can Ku sports survive? He sounds like a good guy, NO way will KU return the donation to help the company or individual ,Maybe they will get in line with other creditors, lots of one ways streets in this town.

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cato_the_elder 5 years, 8 months ago

When will people learn that futures speculation is no different from gambling in Las Vegas? What a sad story for all involved.

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LogicMan 5 years, 8 months ago

"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)"Oops. So how was the new football facility's construction paid for if he's only sent in $3M so far?

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