UNC-Chapel Hill fundraiser resigns over questionable travel spending

Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CHAPEL HILL (AP) — The latest scandal confronting North Carolina’s flagship public university has led a second fundraiser, the mother of a former basketball star, to resign over travel spending.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said Wednesday that Tami Hansbrough had resigned. The school suspended Hansbrough with pay this week as it looked into possibly improper travel spending using donated money.
She is the mother of former Tar Heels basketball star (and now NBA player) Tyler Hansbrough.
Earlier this week, Matt Kupec, a billion-dollar university fundraiser and former star quarterback, resigned amid questions about travel expenses.
Campus administrators are investigating trips the two took together using university funds, possibly to follow the Notre Dame basketball career of Hansbrough’s younger son. Both Hansbrough and Kupec are divorced.
Tami Hansbrough did not return telephone and email messages to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
University Chancellor Holden Thorp declined to say in an interview Tuesday how many trips Kupec and Hansbrough shared, but said the travel costs came from university donations or other fundraising foundation sources, not taxpayers.
“I came to the conclusion that a number of the trips that he had taken were personally driven — that is, that there may have been business conducted but they were set up because of personal interests,” Thorp said.
Kupec, who served as vice chancellor for advancement for 16 years, was paid $349,800 a year. Hansbrough earned $95,000 a year.
The questions over travel spending are another black eye for the elite public university after two years of troubles.
The NCAA investigated players under since-fired football coach Butch Davis having contact with agents and receiving jewelry and other gifts. The NCAA in March imposed a one-year ban from postseason play, 15 forfeited scholarships and other penalties on the football team. But the probe also found academic fraud — including a tutor who worked on football players’ term papers.
Subsequent investigations found academic fraud including changed grades, no-show classes and lightly supervised independent studies in a department popular among UNC athletes. State criminal investigators are looking into signs of possible forgery, conspiracy, fraud and whether a professor was paid for summer courses he didn’t fully teach.