UT plans to unload executive mansion; Ottawa Hills home is ‘not satisfactory’

By Vanessa Gezari and Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writers

Page 13

The University of Toledo wants to get rid of its presidential mansion in Ottawa Hills and let President Vik Kapoor continue living in his house in Wood County.

Under the plan, discussed yesterday at a UT board of trustees committee meeting, the university would continue to pay Dr. Kapoor a $60,000 annual housing allowance.

Richard Stansley, chairman of the board’s buildings and grounds and administrative services committee, said the house in Ottawa Hills does not meet the university’s needs, and it would be too costly to renovate it.

“Our goal is to address the long-term needs of the university with an institutional home,” Mr. Stansley said. “We intend to build another home at some point.”

Dr. Kapoor, UT’s president since January, 1999, never has lived in the 6,000-square-foot house at 3883 Bancroft St. Instead, he has received a $5,000-per-month housing allowance while living in his own home in Middleton Township, Wood County, across the Maumee River from Waterville.

The university has continued to pay rent for the presidential house, which costs UT about $36,000 a year, including utilities and taxes. In October, Lucas County real estate tax records indicated the property had an assessed value of $536,314.

Providing a university president with a housing allowance when the school has a home available is unique in Ohio, state officials said.

The university leases the house from the UT endowment trust, which bought it in 1989 for $475,000 and spent $370,000 for renovations and updates for former UT President Frank Horton and his wife in the early 1990s.

The UT Foundation invests the cash holdings of the trust, but does not control the house, according to Brenda Lee, the foundation’s executive director.

The board’s buildings and grounds committee yesterday voted to recommend to the full board that the university terminate its $20,000-a-year lease with the trust. The board was expected to consider the matter at its meeting this morning.

“Currently, [Dr. Kapoor’s] residence is sufficient for the needs of the university,” Mr. Stansley, the committee chairman, said. “We believe that the value of the lease payments to the foundation and the reinvestment of the [house sale proceeds] should offset the stipend that’s being paid to him.”

Mr. Stansley said that at some time in the next several years, the university wants to build a house, and might ask its president to live there. “I think that’s a good possibility,” he said.

Joe Brennan, a UT spokesman, said that if the board wanted Dr. Kapoor to move into a university house, “it would be a subject he would be willing to discuss.”

Mr. Stansley told board members that the university house would need “extensive renovation” to “bring it up to standard.”

But Henry Herschel, a UT Foundation trustee, said the house is in “excellent condition.

“It’s very marketable, if it has to be sold,” Mr. Herschel said.

Mr. Brennan said the house is “in good shape, repair-wise.

“It’s not satisfactory to us, [because] it’s not a good house for holding meetings and doing the kind of official entertaining we want the president to do,” Mr. Brennan said.

“The floor plan is problematic, it doesn’t have a large dining room, and it doesn’t have a lot of parking. If you did the renovations to make it a good presidential residence, that might actually detract from the value of the house. The board feels it’s not a wise investment to make those renovations.”

Mr. Brennan said having such a house makes sense if a person has to move to take the university president’s job, but he pointed out that Dr. Kapoor lived in the area when he was hired to fill the post.