Gov. Bentley's Audit Finds ASU Board Members Misused Money


By Ashley Thompson

Alabama State University is on the defense after an audit of the university's finances revealed serious misuse of money.

Governor Robert Bentley ordered the independent audit after then-ASU president Joseph Silver said there was financial mismanagement at the university.

The report points to several key problems within the university including...

-A lack of governance and concerns of financial mismanagement

-Payments to friends and family of board members Elton Dean and Marvin Wiggins in the form of contracts

-Conflicts of Interest with Board Members Elton Dean, Marvin Wiggins and former board member Dr. Lawrence Lemak

- A breach of contract with Medicaid - in which the university spent over a million dollars of unauthorized money, money that cannot be recovered

It's something Governor Bentley says is most troubling to him.

"We have turned this over to the Attorney General's office," he says. "We've turned this material over to the federal office, our federal investigators. One of the things I'm most concerned about is the million dollars in possible medicaid fraud."

But Alabama State University is firing back, releasing a statement through their attorney denying the allegations made in the audit's findings and blasting the governor's office for making the findings public.

The statement reads in part, "The release of this document is unfair and is in violation of an express agreement reached with the Governor's Office two weeks ago that ASU would be allowed to review and respond to the forensic audit before it was released."

In the middle of all of this are the students, who say they're not happy with the news.

"I think the whole thing is quite ludicrous because our tuition has went up this year and they're spending unnecessary money," says student Merkaylan Scott.

"They need to either bring Silver back or find a new president because if you're going to spend money like this, it's going to run a lot of people away from the school," says student Brandon Randolph.

Governor Bentley says former president Dr. Joseph Silver may have been right all along.

"Some of those are findings that were actually spoken to me about from Dr. Silver. He had some suspicions."

These are the preliminary findings, they are not complete findings because the firm conducting the audit, Forensic Strategic Solutions, said ASU would not cooperate when asked for information.



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