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Archive for Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kansas donor Kivisto fired in Tulsa

October 29, 2008

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Tom Kivisto, a former Kansas University basketball standout and KU donor, has been fired by SemGroup LP, the Tulsa firm he helped start eight years ago and guided into one of nation's biggest private firms until its bankruptcy amid gigantic oil trading losses.

In July, the company had removed Kivisto as CEO and put him on administrative leave with pay, according to reports in the Tulsa World.

Last week, a company spokesman confirmed that Kivisto was still earning a salary - estimated in court records at about $350,000 annually - while SemGroup conducted an internal investigation.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after revealing $2.4 billion in oil futures trading losses and at least $3.5 billion in other debts.

No details were available about any possible severance package for the former CEO, who earned $42.5 million in salary, bonuses and other compensation in the year leading up to the bankruptcy filing.

Creditors and shareholders have alleged the company did not disclose the extent of its financial troubles or the nature of its failed trading strategies, according to reports.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh is heading an investigation requested by the trustee overseeing SemGroup's bankruptcy case.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also is looking into the disclosures of SemGroup's financial health by SemGroup Energy Partners, the sole public subsidiary also known as SGLP.

Kivisto, who earned All-Big Eight honors while playing point guard on KU's 1974 NCAA Final Four team, had pledged $12 million to Kansas Athletics Inc. The football field in KU's Memorial Stadium is named for him.

KU athletic director Lew Perkins has declined to reveal how much of that pledge has been received by KAI, but it is believed to be about half.

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