Drexel University has agreed to pay back the nearly $190,000 in federal grant money its former head of electrical and computer engineering spent in strip clubs.
Chikaodinaka Nwankpa, 56, was first discovered spending much of his grant money on strippers in 2017, according to a Justice Department report. The university agreed to pay back $189,062 to the federal government to avoid potential liability under the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced Monday.
The majority of Nwankpa’s “shameful misuse of public funds” took place in Philadelphia strip clubs, where the professor used his grant money to attain various “goods and services,” according to the Justice Department. However, despite the hefty tab the former academic left on Drexel’s doorstep, he’s only been forced to pay for a less than a third of his allegedly ill-gotten entertainment, and was only barred from receiving more federal grants for six months.
We appreciate Drexel’s self-disclosure and cooperation in this matter. At the same time, we are disappointed that Dr. Nwankpa’s conduct went unnoticed for so long, but Drexel’s strengthening of its charge approval process is certainly a step in the right direction.
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) October 7, 2019
However, a representative from the U.S. attorney’s office responsible for Nwankpa’s case has clarified that Drexel’s settlement doesn’t render him safe from prosecution, according to the Inquirer. (RELATED: Professor Rips Tom Brady’s ‘White Masculinity’)
Nwankpa’s fraudulent spending spanned a decade, lasting from 2007-2017, according to the report. In 2015, he was named the Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering after demonstrating “exceptional leadership,” according to an old university announcement. The notice also lauded Nwankpa’s fundraising ability, highlighting that he has received over $10 million dollars in grants.
The professor only held his head position for two years, as he resigned from it after allegations of his mismanagement of federal research dollars came to light.