The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Photo: AP Photo: AP  

Alabama governor charges black college with major fraud

An audit that found evidence of financial mismanagement at Alabama State University was received poorly by college officials, who stand accused of hampering the investigation and profiting from corruption.

Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley released the findings on Monday. The audit concluded that “despite the numerous impediments to the investigation… there is sufficient predication to believe that a jury or trier of fact could conclude that multiple acts of fraud, waste and/or abuse are occurring and/or have occurred at ASU.”

The audit lists conflicts of interests, improper contracting, waste and nepotism as abuses committed under ASU’s leadership.

Two board members — Elton Dean and Marvin Wiggins — stand accused of giving jobs to friends and family members. The Wiggins family received $250,000 from ASU in the last three years, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Wiggins and Dean denied wrongdoing, and interim ASU President William Harris expressed doubts about the validity of the accusations.

ASU is a historically black college in Montgomery, Alabama. Its previous president, Joseph Silver, was fired last year and paid $685,000 to leave the university due to his strained relationship with the board. Silver claimed he was removed for asking questions about financial mismanagement. Bentley allowed board members to remove Silver, but forced them to agree to be audited.

In the wake of the audit’s revelations, Bentley has asked ASU to suspend its search for a new president, according to The Birmingham News.

“The preliminary report from the auditor raised very serious concerns, and we believe the work of the search committee should be put on hold until those matters can be discussed by the full board,” said a spokesperson for Bentley’s office, in a statement.

So far, the university has given no indication that it will postpone the search.

“ASU’s presidential search process is ongoing and it’s committee will meet on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in Montgomery to transact business,” an ASU spokesperson told The Daily Caller.

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