The Real Reason UVA's Endowment CEO Left UVIMCO

In mid-March this year, Chris “Chip” Brightman inexplicably left his role as CEO of University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO), citing personal issues.

About a week later, on March 29th, Brightman’s assistant’s husband filed for divorce on March 29th. In his complaint, he says that Carolyn Paige Sawyer (now Carolyn Paige Barfield), Brightman’s assistant, committed adultery on February 10 and 11 while on a business trip in Phoenix, Arizona.

Charlottesville news site c-ville argues that all signs point to an affair.

c-ville, also found a letter Brightman wrote on UVIMCO letterhead, in support of his assistant’s application to City Hall.

He says, “I admire Paige for her many valuable qualities and regard her with the utmost respect.”

She is “keenly devoted to her work.”

During the financial crisis UVA’s endowment dropped 20%, from $5 billion to $4 billion, but performance doesn’t appear to be why he left. (And he can’t be that bad. He’s not on our list of the 10 worst endowment managers. And we know many other endowments, including Harvard’s and Yale’s, fared badly in 2008 too.)

UPDATE: We spoke to Brightman, too. His reponse is “no comment.”

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