Tom Kivisto may be out as CEO of what had been one of the fastest-growing private companies in the country, but he's still part of Kansas Athletics Inc.
And he's still current on his payments for a $12 million pledge he's made to improve football facilities on campus.
"He has been an important part of our family," said Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director. "He still is, and he will continue to be an important part of our family. Anything we have to say will be said privately, between us and him."
Kivisto, a former KU basketball player, recently lost his job as president and chief executive officer of SemGroup LP, an energy company he'd founded in 2000 and had led into becoming one of the country's 20 fastest-growing private companies.
Earlier this month, the company moved quickly to deal with a financial shortfall. The company replaced Kivisto as CEO, then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing losses of at least $2.4 billion and saying Kivisto owed the company at least $290 million for trading losses associated with one of Kivisto's private companies.
Such developments have called into question whether KU would ever receive all the money pledged by Kivisto and his wife, Julie, who grew up in Lawrence.
"I am a strong proponent of personal and corporate giving to the local community," Kivisto said in a prepared statement, which he read Saturday in Tulsa, Okla. "Despite SemGroup's news, this has not changed for me personally."
Dale Seuferling, president of the KU Endowment Association, declined to discuss specifics of the Kivistos' gift to Kansas Athletics, but emphasized that prevalent media reports - that KU had received only $4 million of the $12 million pledge - were incorrect.
Such pledges typically involve donations made according to a schedule established by a donor, Seuferling said.
"We do not discuss in public the status of an individual's giving, or the status of their commitment to giving to the university, but I can say, in this case, the commitment is current and satisfied to date," Seuferling said.
While Marchiony also declined to discuss the status of the Kivistos' pledge, the department previously has disclosed information about the size of the pledge and how much had been received by the university:
¢ In September 2005, Kivisto had pledged $10 million for a football facility at Memorial Stadium; at that time, the university had received $2 million.
¢ In February 2006, the department said, Kivisto had contributed $4 million and "committed" an additional $8 million. That's when the university announced that the field inside Memorial Stadium would be renamed Kivisto Field, and that the new football complex would be known as the Anderson Family Football Complex, in honor of the Anderson family and its own contribution of $2 million and commitment of another $10 million.
As the 2008 football season approaches, coaches and the rest of the football program all are based out of the $31 million complex, which carries the name of the Anderson Family Football Complex at Kivisto Field.
Anyone thinking that KU might come up short on its financing for the complex is mistaken, Marchiony said Monday.
"We have no doubt that the project will be paid off as it's supposed to be paid off," he said. "There's not a worry. We have no doubts about the amount of money that we have coming in."
The department remains committed to raising money through donations, both for capital projects and for other needs, Marchiony said.
"That effort is not going to stop," he said.