UNC dental foundation report shows Tami Hansbrough's travel to see son play

dkane@newsobserver.comSeptember 18, 2012 

UNC-Chapel Hill’s dental foundation released a three-year-old report Tuesday that said Tami Hansbrough did not receive proper approval for a trip to Memphis in which her son, Tyler, was playing for the basketball team in the NCAA Tournament.

Hansbrough was hired as an associate director for the foundation in December 2008 to raise money. UNC officials later said the trips were for fundraising, and the report includes an addendum in which her fundraising activities on those trips were listed.

The News & Observer had sought the release of the report after learning about issues with Hansbrough’s travel that ultimately caused her and Matt Kupec, the vice chancellor for university advancement, to resign last week.

Hansbrough and Kupec began a relationship while she worked for the dental foundation, and he later sought to hire her as a fundraiser in his department. Chancellor Holden Thorp did not allow that job to go through, but he later approved another fundraising job for Hansbrough in the student affairs office. Kupec’s office funded that job.

Hansbrough had a different boss as a result, but in the new job she continued to travel regularly with Kupec, and Thorp last week said his review found trips that appeared to be personal in nature. The trips included travel to cities in which Tyler and another son, Ben, were playing basketball games.

The foundation’s board sought the spending report after some foundation expenses increased dramatically. Credit card charges, the report found, had gone up from $9,300 to nearly $47,000 from 2008 to 2009.

The report found personal expenses for foundation employees and family members being charged to the foundation. The report said those charges included Hansbrough’s travel, several hundred dollars that the foundation executive director and the director of professional relations each spent for themselves and their spouses for what appear to be UNC-related cruises, and roughly $1,600 the executive director spent on himself for a trip that included his daughter and showed no stated business purpose.

The report said Hansbrough’s travel to the 2009 NCAA tournament in Memphis, at a combined cost of $1,000 for hotel and airfare, did not have proper approval, nor could the auditors find any history of staff being sent to such postseason football or basketball events.

“There was no supporting documentation to indicate any related development activities and/or donor involvement,” the report said.

A synopsis the foundation sent to the N&O along with the report indicates that Hansbrough met with donors and prospective donors on the Memphis trip and on another trip to the ACC men’s basketball tournament in Atlanta that year that was not mentioned in the report.

Included with the released documents are reports of Hansbrough’s activities during those trips that appear written by her. They list breakfasts, dinners and receptions in which she met with prospects and big donors. Many of the donors’ names are redacted.

Brad Bodager, the executive director of the foundation, resigned after the review. Attempts to reach him recently have been unsuccessful.

The firm that conducted the review, Davenport, Marvin, Joyce & Co. of Greensboro, found a lack of communication with regard to financial matters both within the foundation and with the dean of the dental school. It reported a “perceived lack of support on the part of the Dean related to questioning by the staff of the excessive and questionable spending by the Development office employees.”

The firm also recommended several measures to increase accountability, such as an annual travel plan that would explain why certain trips are needed, how much they would cost and how they would be funded.

The foundation’s current executive director, Paul Gardner, had denied the release of the report, saying the foundation is not a governmental entity subject to the public records law. He released the report at Thorp’s request.

Kane: 919-829-4861

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