I’ve been getting lots of emails wanting to know when I’m going to weigh in on the state picking up part of the tab for the University of Kentucky’s legal defense of a lawsuit brought in a Texas Federal court by former coach Billy Gillispie.
My understanding of the matter is this. The Kentucky Government Contract Review committee approved a $100,000 expense for UK to hire a lawyer licensed to practice in Texas. Another legislative department still must approve it.
However, approving the spending of the money and actually appropriating funds for it are two different things.
From what I can see, all this committee did was approve the expense. It’s UK that will be spending the money in its own defense.
This happens quite a bit. It happened, for instance, with other committees and U of L’s football stadium expansion. Even though U of L was funding the expansion itself with private money, the legislature must still approve the expense, because U of L is a public institution.
So while this committee approved the $100,o00 expense, it didn’t cut a check to UK out of taxpayer money.
Where the money will come from at UK — out of athletic association funds or university funds set aside for legal matters — I’m not sure. It certainly is a matter in which the university itself has a great stake, and likely good reason to spend for its defense.
But while UK went to the legislature for approval for spending the money — as it is required to do by law — it didn’t go to the taxpayers for a check to foot the bill.