Documents Destroyed? UA Audit Reopened

Documents Destroyed? UA Audit Reopened

Report released earlier this week showed the financial records had a deficit cash balance of $2.14 million for 2011 and $4.19 million for 2012.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - An audit looking into the budgets of the University of Arkansas Division of University Advancement has been reopened following accusations of document destruction from a former university employee.

The report, released earlier this week, showed the financial records had a deficit cash balance of $2.14 million for 2011 and $4.19 million for 2012.

A legislative hearing held on the issue Friday morning is detailed below by our content partners at the Arkansas Times:

The controversy over deficit spending in the U of A's Advancement Division potentially widened this morning with testimony from recently terminated UA Vice Chancellor John Diamond. Diamond praised the report released this week by Legislative Audit, which delivered a less-than-glowing review of both the university's lack of transparency surrounding this episode and accounting practices at the Division. Still, said Diamond, the Legislative Audit team "could not do its work as well as it needed to" because key documents were unavailable. Earlier in testimony, UA officials blamed the missing documents entirely on Joy Sharp, who is one of the two Advancement employees the university has already dismissed over mismanagement of funds. But Diamond says that at least some documentation may have been destroyed under verbal directives from Chancellor David Gearhart and another university officials. Diamond says that there are multiple witnesses who can corroborate this accusation and who will testify under oath if asked by the committee. When asked by Rep. Kim Hammer why those individuals weren't here today, Diamond said that most still have jobs at the university and feared reprisal from administration. Diamond also faulted university officials for maintaining a "culture of secrecy" around the issue and for not consulting himself and other senior staff when compiling a previous internal investigation into the fiscal trouble at Advancement (long before the external legislative audit work began).

Diamond delivered his testimony seated right next to a visibly angry Gearhart, who turned to face Diamond while he spoke. Gearhart called the allegations "astounding", "absurd", and "pathetic." He said that Diamond is a "disgruntled employee dismissed for a number of reasons...who is [now] unable to find a new job." Somewhat later, Rep. John Walker asked Diamond if he had received negative employee evaluations in the past; no, said Diamond, not until this began. Walker asked Gearhart if he had ever seen a negative evaluation of Diamond's job performance. The chancellor said he has not.

Immediately following Diamond's testimony, officials from Joint Audit huddled with Hammer, the House Chairman of the committee. After several minutes of whispered discussion, Hammer turned to the committee and asked for a motion to "accept this report as not presented in light of the information we've received today" — in other words, to declare the audit re-opened. The motion passed unanimously, which means the state's audit team will go back to work and present new findings to the committee at a future date. The U of A officials testifying and their attendant staff left the room quickly, preparing for their next round.


You can view the original article on the audit by clicking here.
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