The Advance-Titan

UW System: Wells failed to inform all regents

“The University of Wisconsin System filed a response to former Chancellor Richard Wells’ April 5 court filing, in which the system contends the full board of regents never received a full presentation of the projects’ plan.

The filing also disputed Wells’ claim that the comfort letters UWO issued were not binding financial agreements.

According to University System, Wells and former Vice Chancellor Tom Sonnleitner illegally transferred funds from the UWO Foundation to help pay for loans for five development projects.

Chancellor Andrew Leavitt was tipped off about these happenings when former UWO Foundation President Art Rathjen came to him for money to help pay for the projects.

The April 27 filing stated UWS denied that Wells and Sonnleitner made a presentation to the entire board of regents around Oct. 8, 2010.

The UW System also denied that the board was told about UWO’s master plan, which was investing for growth and had been aggressively trying to improve and enlarge campus buildings for the needs of the future.

“Admit that nine members of the board attended a joint meeting…at which Chancellor Wells and Mr. Sonnleitner made the referenced presentation,” the court filing stated.

The court filing stated Wells and Sonnleitner had taken care of a $3.8 million financing agreement to purchase property and fund a sustainability startup, involving the anaerobic biodigester.

The court filing denied the biodigester project and hotel development project were “public/private business development partnerships.”

According to the statement, Art Rathjen offered to provide the board with detailed information regarding the formation, construction plans and financing the Foundation, including the benefits of the UWO Foundation’s partnership with UWO.

Court filings admitted that government has federal banking regulations, but denied that those regulations had anything to do with this court case.

Even though the laws against comfort letters aren’t laid out in an ordered form, the court filing said just by the comfort letters existing they are legally binding.

“Deny, as to the allegation that Sonnleitner’s and Wells’ actions were within his scope of employment,” the court filing stated.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UW System: Wells failed to inform all regents