It won't be easy for the University of Richmond to distance itself from controversial Board of Trustees member Paul Queally. The Connecticut resident is building a house next door.
Queally bought a $425,000 Cape Cod-style house on Towana Road last July, demolished it, and is building an English cottage-style house in its place. He says he hopes to see it finished by the time the Richmond Spiders' football season starts.
"I'm really excited," Queally says. "I can't wait."
The '86 alumnus, who built a fortune as a private equity executive in New York, is a prominent donor to UR. He's also created several headaches for the university.
The student newspaper reported in 2012 that Queally was the donor behind the university's move to add lacrosse as an NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports program by eliminating men's soccer and track, a decision that riled some students and alumni.
In February, a former New York Times reporter published a story containing homophobic and sexist jokes Queally made at a 2012 initiation event of Kappa Beta Phi, a sort of secret society of Wall Street types. He apologized for the jokes in a statement.
While there were calls for his resignation, others, such as sociology professor Eric Anthony Grollman, called for the university to use the incident as a lesson on inclusion. Asked about Queally's new house, Grollman says, "I'd prefer to stay out of this."
Queally's primary residence is a home in New Canaan, Conn., assessed at $4.2 million, according to property records there. How will the new place look?
Smith McClane Architects designed the house to match recent additions to the university. Architect Eddie Smith says he's worked on about 10 UR buildings since the '70s, but wouldn't go into details about Queally's project.
"We're pleased with it," Smith says. "He's fun."