UA audit problem sent to Prosecuting Attorney

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 95 views 

Roger Norman, director of the state’s division of Legislative Audit, has forwarded an investigative report to Prosecuting Attorney John Threet of Fayetteville.

On Friday, state lawmakers heard conflicting testimony from fired University of Arkansas spokesman John Diamond who said he was told by his superiors to destroy documents related to a budget shortfall in the UA Division of University Advancement. UA Chancellor David Gearhart, according to this report from the Arkansas Times, called the allegations "astounding,” "absurd" and "pathetic."

Lawmakers reviewed a state audit that found deficits in the UA Division of Advancement’s budget of $2.14 million in fiscal 2011 and $4.19 million in fiscal 2012.

In a letter delivered today (Sept. 16) to the General Assembly’s Joint Auditing Committee, Norman said:

“As you know, the above-referenced Investigative Report was discussed at the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee’s September 13, 2013 meeting. While under oath, witnesses presented conflicting testimony regarding the alleged destruction of budget-related documents in the Division of University Advancement.

“Ark. Code Ann. § 10-4-419(c)(1) states: “The Legislative Auditor shall notify and cooperate with the appropriate prosecuting attorney on all matters that appear to involve a criminal offense.” Based on the testimony presented, I determined that the testimony given at the September 13, 2013 meeting should be forwarded to the appropriate prosecuting attorney for further review. That has been done.”

Diamond, contacted Monday by The City Wire, declined to comment about the report being forwarded to Threet.

“At this point, beyond what I said at the hearings, I don’t have anymore to add,” Diamond said.

Diamond’s dismissal was announced by UA Division of Advancement chief Chris Wyrick on Aug. 23, with his last day to be Sept. 22. Diamond, who earns $173,000 a year, is to work from home, with his work assignments received by e-mail or phone.

University officials plan to have a response on Tuesday, according to UA spokesman Mark Rushing.