The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees are likely to tap their construction reserve account for $1.2 million to help replace a $2 million donation pledged by Tony Cercy, a Casper businessman convicted of third-degree sexual assault in November.
Cercy had pledged $2 million to help fund the High Altitude Performance Center, the $44.5 million add-on to the Rochelle Athletics Center which opened in August.
After his conviction, the trustees voted at a special meeting in December to cancel that pledge.
Dave True, chairman of the board, told the Laramie Boomerang that was “a challenging decision.”
“For any group or institution, it’s difficult to turn away from a $2 million pledge,” he said.
At the time of the December board meeting, Cercy had already transferred $800,000 and the Foundation was expected to receive another $400,000 that month.
Trustees opted to return the transferred funds, as well cancelling the impending $400,000.
UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said the university’s athletic department, with help from the UW Foundation, plans to engage in more fundraising to replace the $2 million lost from the returned donation. That fundraising aims to completely reimburse the construction reserve account.
While the High Altitude Performance Center is already complete, Cercy’s donations weren’t scheduled to be fully received until 2020.
Baldwin said the Foundation typically collects donations, and then as general contractors draw money from UW, the university draws money from the Foundation.
The construction reserve account was creating in 2017 as part of the trustees’ decision to “sweep” numerous small reserve accounts scattered among the university into a few centralized funds.
Cercy was convicted for performing oral sex on an unconscious 20-year-old woman at his home in 2017.
Cercy appealed his case to the Wyoming Supreme Court, arguing that his third-degree sexual assault conviction constituted double jeopardy since he was acquitted of first-degree and second-degree sexual assault for the same incident.
The Supreme Court denied Cercy’s petition for review Nov. 20.