Archive for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kivistos fall behind on donations pledged to Kansas Athletics

A Kansas fan gets pumped up after a stop by the Jayhawks during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Kivisto Field.

A Kansas fan gets pumped up after a stop by the Jayhawks during the second quarter Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Kivisto Field.

June 10, 2010


Two of the most generous donors for Kansas Athletics Inc. in recent years did not fulfill their pledge for the past year, money that had been expected to help finance KU’s new football practice facility.

KU donors behind on payments

KU donors Tom and Julie Kivisto are behind on their $1M payment to the athletic department they had agreed to in their pledge. The field at Memorial Stadium is named for the couple. Enlarge video

Tom Kivisto and his wife, Julie, of Tulsa, Okla., did not pay the $2 million they had pledged last year to Kansas Athletics, the department confirmed last week as part of an open-records request. The Kivistos had been current on previous donations, the department said.

“Tom still has the greatest affection for KU and the people at the university,” said John Tucker, an attorney for Tom Kivisto in Tulsa. “He wants to support it in any way he can. The economy’s in a bad position right now for people to do that sort of thing.”

Kivisto, who played basketball for the Jayhawks, had been CEO and president of Tulsa-based SemGroup, an energy trading, storage and transportation company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008 after suffering reported losses of $2.4 billion in the oil futures market.

Information about the pledge was included on a list of donor accounts distributed this past February to officials with the Williams Fund, seeking information about whether the accounts would be paid.

On the list were 50 accounts whose 2009 pledges had not been paid, and another 18 whose pledges had been paid only in part.

The Kivistos’ pledge — the largest on the list — showed that the couple had pledged $2 million in 2009 for the practice facility, adjacent to the Anderson Family Football Complex at Kivisto Field.

That pledge was not paid, although previous pledges were all up to date, the department said.

In September 2005, the Kivistos had pledged $10 million for athletics, of which the university already had received $2 million. By February 2006, KU had received another $2 million payment, plus a pledge for an additional $2 million.

At that time, KU announced that the field inside Memorial Stadium would be known as Kivisto Field.


Kevin Randell 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, living here in Tulsa, I have known for a while now that the money would not come. So, that I wont get banned just go to and you can search the Kivisto name. All I can say is this.....right now it seems the KU ship is sinking. It is time for TRUE Blue KU fans and alumni to pull together. Oh....and if you don't believe in might want to start. :)

yankeevet 7 years, 10 months ago

yes;; perhaps they should..............

puddleglum 7 years, 10 months ago

so now can we call the football field the perkins-mangino memorial field? that's neat.

weeslicket 7 years, 10 months ago

well, it seems the news just keeps getting better and better. n't

ralphralph 7 years, 10 months ago

It's getting harder and harder to steal that much money these days.

whats_going_on 7 years, 10 months ago in Kivisto Field...the football stadium? And he played basketball. Makes sense.

Kevin Randell 7 years, 10 months ago

Well, his family is going through some tough I think it was yesterday his 18 year old daughter was arrested for driving drunk....running away from police with speeds in excess of 100 mph and finally crashed her car. She said that she ran because she didn't want her dad to find out and get mad at her. Don't worry hun....daddy has more to worry about. How about the fact he is broke!

KRITIKOS 7 years, 10 months ago

Typical of a public entity, spent the money before they had it.... Watch Ronald Reagans speech from 1964 utube it sez it all .

truman1902 7 years, 10 months ago

How about, for every month, this "pledge" goes unpaid, ONE LETTER from the KIVISTO field logo is taken down, hmmmmm?

jackpot 7 years, 10 months ago

Still waiting for the check for the oil removed sold and never paid for. Yes I still get the updates from the court handling the case. Guess I can go see where my money went.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe it's time to remove the Grid Iron Club banner.

Spend the money on academics.

imastinker 7 years, 10 months ago

This was my thought too. It's really sad to hear the hatred people have for someone that gave so much to our university.

parrothead8 7 years, 10 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking. It seems low-class and tasteless to run a front-page article about how "stingy" a previously generous person has been lately. It also seems low-class and tasteless to kick these people when they're down. I didn't ever notice anybody commenting here about what a troubled family they are when they were giving millions of dollars to KU.

JayhawkAlum03 7 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know what it means to "pledge" the funds to KU? Is it basically just a statement saying that they plan to give that much or is it more binding than that? Since it isn't any kind of an endowment (i.e. funds are already there accruing interest but just pulled yearly according to the schedule), then I'm going to say KU athletics should have known better and realized that donors may not always be able to follow up on their original intentions....

William McCauley 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey FrankieJ65,

Have ya heard of a little thing called Google? You might want to try it out, a quick search of Tom Kivstos name will let you enlighten you as to the rise and fall of the man, it's pretty bad when you rank in the top 12 infamous bankruptcies of all time, right up there with enron, worldcom and the latest and greatest guy, Bernard Madoff.

Do ya think KU will give back the shady/dirty money so Tom can pay it back to the creditors?

beaujackson 7 years, 10 months ago

Over the past two years, I have a "drawer-full" of letters from a law firm in Houston re. Kivistos' oil purchasing firms' bankruptcy.

Bottom line: Lawyers got most of what was left, while royalty owners (like me) got "zip".

I knew then than that Kivisto would be unable to fulfill his obligation to KUAD.

KUAD should have the "money in the bank" before naming athletic fields built on "promises".

Kontum1972 7 years, 10 months ago

LoL...who is next to jump off the new hotel?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow, what a horrible thing to post. "LOL"?

William McCauley 7 years, 10 months ago

Box in the new club @ 50 yrd line....... DUH.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years, 10 months ago

The schadenfreude is running at an all-time high on this board.

Why is the Journal World publicly shaming someone who gave so much to KU? I don't know Kivisto, but is it really necessary to kick a man while he's down? These forums bring out the worst in people and the Journal World looks foolish for setting up the bait with these ridiculous articles every day.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 10 months ago

I came here to see how easy it would be for people to trash generous people who they've never met out of spite and envy. Apparently, for some, that comes very easy. Here's an idea: if YOU have never given seven figures to a school, whatya say you keep your criticisms to yourself?

Kevin Randell 7 years, 10 months ago

I am close....I am in debt for 64K in loans to a university that gave me a degree that is worthless. But I still am able to come up with some money from my $12 an hour job to donate to KU. So...I feel that I have a right to comment as an alumni of KU and as a citizen of the Tulsa area who was affected by an man's unethical decisions.

William McCauley 7 years, 10 months ago

Here try reading this,

Everyone Mr. MADE-OFF ripped off thought he was a great guy too, till the sh**, I mean scam hit the fan, you got to work pretty damn hard at ripping off people to join a club with the likes of those on this list.

Do you think the investors of his company feel his "generous" giving at their expense is all that great of a deal? Maybe you send him money for legal fees!

Andrea Hoag 7 years, 10 months ago

When I read about the astronomical amounts paid to these athletics folks, I really have to thank all of the lowly professors in the Liberal Arts, music, dance, and any of those other "optional" disciplines. Those are the REAL heroes - people who are passionate about teaching a subject they love for a comparably meager sum who keep on doing what they should year in, year out. I know we need sports for a variety of reasons, but let's keep the emphasis on what's really important - academics and equipping the next generation for a difficult economy.

anon1958 7 years, 10 months ago

A tidbit from the Business Pundit article,

"Additionally, TulsaWorld reports that Kivisto (along with ex-CFO Gregory Wallace) was sued in 2009 seeking the return of $362 million in company funds squandered in their own private lives."

Maybe some of the creditors need to come visit the KUAC and demand the stolen 4 million that Kivisto donated?

newmedia 7 years, 10 months ago

A name alone does not pay the piper !!

happyrock 7 years, 10 months ago

What is amazing is that Lew contributed to trumpet Kivisto's donation as the ship was sinking. Everyone seemed to know that he would not be good for the money except Sweet Lew. I would not be surprised to see the bankruptcy court demanding his initial donation back from KU.

dubujg 7 years, 10 months ago

Why hasn't the LJW or Chancellor Dolittle started an investigation into how much KU Endowment Assc. lost in royalty income in the SemCrude fiasco......might be interesting to see how much the Endowment Assc. lost compared to how much KU Athletics received in donations from Kivisto.

truman 7 years, 10 months ago

I would imagine a pledge is like your tithe/pledge to your church. You state each year that you are giving X amount. But there aren't any rules that say you have to pay up if you have a financial crisis...

truman 7 years, 10 months ago

Another thought- let's say I tell KU I am leaving them $$ in my will and they get all excited. Then I change my will but don't tell them or my creditors get all my money after all. I haven't done anything illegal.

Rickyonealku 7 years, 10 months ago

Now just try to take a class before paying your tutition in full.....

sdbrewer 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe you all need to shut the F up. Personal attacks on their family life? You sound like a Mizzou fan. Real classy.

P.S. - DB # 1 up there, if your KU degree is so worthless, why do you even care?

Kivistos, i got your back.

Kevin Randell 7 years, 10 months ago

I care because I actually graduated from KU, and I do have the right to my opinion if you like it or not. Also, I have to chuckle because I know you would never have the guts to tell me to "shut the Fup" to my face. But just in case I will be more then happy to give you my ticket location for this next season. We can clear it all up in the fall. :)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 10 months ago

I remember Tom Kivisto as a basketball player. And I am not a KU fan, Mr. Kivisto lives a lot closer to my favorite school team ("Boomer Sooner!). But I know he was a prime player for Kansas.

This is a very sad, sad story. I am sure he is not the only one who fell into the mistake of riding the "high tide" with good intentions, and then when things fell flat, well, the rest you know. It is an oft-repeated story.

In today's society where most everyone is judged by how many toys he can afford ("He who dies with the most toys wins!!!!!). It can be very enticing to think that you can "float" debt and good intentions and hope that the money is in the bank before the check gets there. But as we all know, this is the prototype for disaster.

As for the university, I too wonder about how such pledges are treated? A pledge is a promise, but I am not sure it is binding. It would be foolish for any institution to rely solely on such arrangements, for as we have all seen, the devil is around the corner and a lot of people trip, stumble and fall regardless of their best intentions or talents.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps this article merely highlights the mismanagement of KUAD funds no matter the source...aka reckless spending.

Steve Bunch 7 years, 10 months ago

Regarding the football stadium, three words: Mock sea battles.

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 10 months ago

I can't believe the paper outed these people publicly like they're a pair of delinquents or something. Heck KU already got $10 million from them!

This story kinda carries a vibe that these people owe something to KU. I mean seriously, what's the point of this article?

rgh 7 years, 10 months ago

I honestly feel badly for the Kivistos and the others who can't pay. The economy does stink for everyone right now. They gave with their hearts to a great university. This is a former basketball player trying to something good for the struggling football program trying to make a name for itself (which it was until Mangino gave it all away by losing 7 straight).

I'm glad to see those of you still backing the Kivisto family.

ToriFreak13 7 years, 10 months ago

The underlying question here is.."How the heck did someone LOSE so much money on oil futures the last 5 years, to have to go bankrupt?".

Robert Rauktis 7 years, 10 months ago

Tasteless individuals make tasteless stories. What a loser!

7texdude 7 years, 10 months ago

I understand the attacks on the Kivistos, but they are unnecessary and classless. It is interesting to watch Jayhawks turn on each other during the bad times but then call themselves brothers in the good times. Yes, everyone has a right to their opinion and my opinion on my school drops every time I read these bites and blogs from the "real fans."\

I wonder if we will ever be able to call each other brothers after this unless we learn enjoy ourselves in the MWC.

AuntJay 7 years, 10 months ago

This report is mind-boggling. IMO there are two remarkable issues here. First, the undeniable breach of confidentiality that exposes what should have been closely held donor information. Every not-for-profit like the Williams Fund or the KUEA must deal with the status of pledges, just like any business handles its receivables. But, to have that publicly exposed not only causes donors embarrassment and alarm--even for those whose pledges are current--it also raises questions among prospective donors who would be dissuaded from supporting KU.

Then, piling on the Kivisto's is sport for those sitting in glass houses. Are YOU willing to contribute the $4mm to KU so the money can be returned to Kivisto's? Really, do you think their financial and legal woes were part of an intentional business strategy? The problems in Tulsa and elswhere related to that family will play out, so let's leave it alone. For bonafide KU supporters, this is a time that calls for unity and positive results, not cheap shots. What comes next for KU is still in the hands of those some of you are sharply criticizing; think about that.

I am shocked and disappointed in whoever released that donor information AND also in the LJW for stooping so low to publish this article. There is much to do, much to repair right now at KU, and we alumni, the students, Lawrence--and even the LJW-- will suffer considerably if KU suffers. Step up!

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