Education

Ex-fundraiser reimburses UNC for travel expenses

Posted October 23, 2012 1:38 p.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2012 7:13 p.m. EDT

— A former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill administrator said Tuesday that he has reimbursed the school for more than $16,000 in personal expenses found during an audit of his travel and spending.

Matt Kupec resigned last month as vice chancellor for advancement amid an internal review of his travel.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said at the time that some of Kupec's fundraising trips appeared "personally driven" and noted that Tami Hansbrough, the mother of former UNC All-America basketball player Tyler Hansbrough, accompanied him on many of the trips.

Tami Hansbrough resigned as a major gifts officer at UNC-CH two days after Kupec stepped down. Sources have told WRAL News that the pair are dating.

"I am very sorry for my lapse in judgment, and I apologize to Chancellor Thorp, the Board of Trustees, the faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and all members of the Carolina family," Kupec said in a statement.

The UNC-CH Foundation had paid for the trips, and Kupec said he had reimbursed the university $16,579 for personal expenses he racked up on the trips.

"Tami Hansbrough was unaware that the charges had not been reimbursed to the university," he said.

A UNC internal audit completed Tuesday identified $16,973.10 in unallowable charges between September 2009 and May 2012, according to a UNC-CH spokeswoman.

Of that amount, $15,767 was for 14 trips and expenses for air travel, transportation, parking, lodging and meals. In addition, there were about $1,135 in charges for various meals not tied to a business purpose and $71 in online purchases.

Through her attorney, Tami Hansbrough released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying she is "happy that the truth has finally come out" and that she was forced to resign.

"I did nothing wrong in any way while working for the University of North Carolina," she said. "Every effort I took for the university advanced its reputation and fundraising."

University officials previously said Kupec and Tami Hansbrough traveled together 28 times between 2010 and this year. Destinations included New York, Dallas, Atlanta, San Diego and college towns like Charlottesville, Va., Louisville, Ky., and Morgantown, W.Va.

Auditors were concerned that some of the trips corresponded to dates and locations where Tyler Hansbrough or his brother might have had basketball games. Tyler Hansbrough now plays professionally with the Indiana Pacers, while his brother played for Notre Dame in 2010-11.

A week after Kupec and Tami Hansbrough resigned, Thorp said he would step down as UNC-CH chancellor at the end of the 2012-13 school year. He said the stress from athletic, academic and administrative scandals over the past two years had taken a toll on him and his family.