Posted: Wed, March 21 2012 at 6:18 PM, Updated: Wed, March 21 2012 at 6:50 PM
An internal investigation of Jefferson Public Radio and its foundation is calling into question JPR's involvement in the Holly Theater, the planned relocation of studios to Medford, and the Cascade Theater in Redding.
The State University Chancellor ordered an internal audit. It suggests that the Holly Theater project as well as other downtown ventures and the project in Redding, may put Southern Oregon University which is connected to Jefferson Public Radio in jeopardy.
What's stirring up all the controversy can be found in an audit done by the Oregon University System.
Auditors concluded "JPRF commitments related to newly purchased and donated buildings that could result in an additional strain to the JPRF debt burden and community fundraising."
The audit, talked about many of the projects in Medford, inlcuding the Holly Theater and the Larsons building downtown that was taken on by the foundation.
"I think it's an absolutely unproven assertion," said Ron Kramer, Executive Director of JPR and the JPR Foundation.
"The foundation deliberately developed a fundraising strategy [...] that minimized soliciting the community," he said.
The audit also noted "...a lack of segregation of duties by Executive Director of both JPR and JPRF, Ron Kramer, when entering into contracts."
"According to the audit, the Director of JPR and JPR Foundation should not be the same person, there is a potential conflict of interest," said SOU Spokesman Jim Beaver.
"I have never in other respects, signed agreements for the Foundation with the University," said Kramer.
According to Kramer, carrying out what the foundation board wants, like taking part in the Holly Theater restoration, is part of his job description.
"If the university didn't want me to be the Executive Director of JPRF, they should have removed it from my position description," Kramer said.
But the university claims they have JPR's best interests in mind.
"JPR and the university are one in the same," began Beaver.
"The university is responsible for operating JPR [...] JPRF is a separate fundraising organization."
The audit's findings categorized the financial risk to SOU as high if issues between themselves and the foundation aren't resolved.
Right now a task force has been developed by SOU.
"The task force continues to do its work to resolve the issue," said Beaver
Southern Oregon University management agreed with all of the auditors recommendations and hope to implement a plan by the end of June.
In the meantime, what is the fate of the Holly Theater? The city of Medford says it expects JPR to honors its agreements and continue the project as planned.