University of Wyoming Returns Tony Cercy Donation
The University of Wyoming's board of trustees decided this week to return a donation of $800,000 from convicted sex offender and former Casper businessman Tony Cercy, a university spokesman said Friday.
After an executive session Wednesday, the trustees held a public session about a pledge toward the $44 million High Altitude Performance Center from several years ago, Chad Baldwin said.
"In a public session they took an action, and the action was basically that they've authorized the university's administration to refund payments that were pursuant to pledge agreements that had been signed by Tony Cercy, and then to not accept any further payments pursuant to the pledge agreement," Baldwin said.
The total pledge from Cercy and his wife Caryl was $2 million, and the university is returning $800,000 that was paid toward that, he said. "And then the pledges will be canceled."
The board of trustees did not give a reason why it decided to return the money and cancel the pledges, Baldwin said. "I'm not in any kind of position or liberty to say anything more than, 'here's what they did.'"
Two weeks ago, Baldwin said the university's administration and the Athletics Department were considering whether to return the donation and would make that decision in 30 days.
The discussion arose after Cercy, the former owner of Power Service, Inc., in Mills, was convicted by a nine-woman three-man jury of assaulting a then 20-year-old woman at his former house at Alcova Lake on June 25, 2017.
In February, he was tried and acquitted on counts of first- and second-degree sexual assault, but the jury deadlocked on one count of third-degree sexual assault.
The victim asked the Natrona County District Attorney to charge and try him again on the third-degree sexual assault charge, and that trial was held at the Hot Springs County Court House in Thermopolis.
Cercy is being held in custody without bond awaiting sentencing.
Several years ago, the Cercys pledged $2 million to the Olympic weight room of the $44 million Mick and Susie McMurry High Altitude Performance Center, which was a renovation of the Rochelle Athletics Center at the university, according to the UW Foundation's 2014-2015 annual report.
Cercy has donated large sums to other organizations and projects, including a $1 million gift for the David Street Station in downtown Casper and the Natrona County High School's foundation -- the NCHS Millennium Fund -- for a scoreboard at the school's football stadium.
After he was arrested in July 2017, the Natrona County School District returned the donation for the scoreboard to the NCHS Millennium Fund.
During the trial in November, Caryl Cercy said the family was in the process of moving to Texas.
In April, the Cercys, through one of their companies called Lucky LACT, LLC, bought a group of properties north of Winnsboro, Texas, which is northeast of Dallas.
Lucky LACT, LLC, paid $6.7 million for the 428-acre property and buildings that were listed for $12 million.