In this instance, the state arguably stood to gain a lot more benefit from the video than multinational corporations Visa or Citibank.
So who benefits from branding Gainer as an ethics law violator?
The Republican Party immediately comes to mind, since Gainer was toying with the idea of a 2014 run for the 1st Congressional District seat held by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.
The complainant in this case, of course, was our old pal, GOP operative Rob Cornelius.
For what it's worth, the West Virginia University Foundation didn't hide the fact it took a bath on its investments in West Virginia Media, according to the IRS 990 form it filed for 2007.
It states: "During 2002, the Foundation purchased investments in West Virginia Media Holdings LLC (West Virginia Media), a media company operating television stations and a newspaper in West Virginia. The chairman of West Virginia Media was a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors; his term expired in 2005. Five members of the Foundation's Board of Directors advised the Foundation they have individual investments in West Virginia Media prior to the Foundation's purchase. The Foundation's investment in West Virginia Media was comprised of a $2 million equity position and $5.75 million of senior subordinated notes that mature in 2010. Interest was scheduled to be paid quarterly on the notes at an annual rate of 10 percent through the date of the sale. The carrying value of this investment was $2,703,000 at June 30, 2006. The investment was sold in January 2007 at the June 30 carrying value for a realized loss on investments of $5,047,000."
(All I know about senior subordinated notes is what I Googled ... They're evidently high-yield, high-risk loans with low priority for claims in the event of a bankruptcy -- which may explain why the Foundation bailed out in 2007.)
To put the $7.75 million investment in perspective, the Foundation manages more than $1 billion in assets, including more than $418 million in publicly traded stocks, and $551 million in other securities.
Finally, speaking of the Foundation, among its assets, according to its 990 filing from 2010: Greenbrier Classic golf tournament passes, with a fair market value totaling $495,000.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.