Delaware State University broke state law that required it to seek bids for minor capital construction work that used state funds to make more than $98,000 in improvements to the university president’s home, a state audit report said.
Delaware State University broke state law that required it to seek bids for minor capital construction work that used state funds to make more than $98,000 in improvements to the president’s home, a state audit report said.
“The DSU president approved an emergency contract to add a recreation room, full kitchen, screened porch and patio to his campus residence,” said a report released Thursday by the Delaware Office of the Auditor of Accounts.
The state requires publicly funded construction projects to seek bids in order to procure the best price for such work. But Delaware State University waived the formal bidding process in lieu of an emergency contract signed July 6, 2010 in order to complete the additions prior to the president’s inauguration on Sept. 17, 2010.
But DSU President Dr. Harry L. Williams was named president on Jan. 10, 2010, the audit stated. That allowed the university ample time to go through the formal bid process.
“Our investigation identified that DSU has not complied with procurement throughout the period of our investigation,” Chief Administrative Auditor Kathleen A. O'Donnell wrote in the audit.
The Office of the Auditor of Accounts expressed disappointment in DSU’s lack of accountability for state procurement requirements.
State Auditor of Accounts R. Thomas Wagner Jr. released the documents on Thursday.
The emergency contract was approved on July 6, 2010, by Williams, who was the acting president of DSU at the time, said Andrena M. Hurley, audit supervisor for the Office of Auditor of Accounts.. Williams was inaugurated the following September.
Delaware State University officials disagreed with the state audit’s findings that DSU’s noncompliance with state bidding law was a common theme at the institution of higher learning.
“The [Auditor of Accounts], after five months of investigation, found a single, identified case in which DSU allegedly failed to comply with state procurement requirements,” DSU General Counsel Thomas P. Preston said in a Dec. 8, 2011 letter to Auditor's office. “Furthermore, criticism of the lack of formal policies and procedures fails to mention that DSU is in the process of preparing a revised and comprehensive set of such policies …”
A draft of such polices was shared with the Office of Auditor of Accounts, he said.
DSU’s response to the audit was included within the state report.
The audit also found that the allegation that a DSU supervisor authorized his secretary to pay a DSU carpenter who was unqualified for time not worked was only partially substantiated. Namely, the employee was not paid for time not worked, but AOA determined he was unqualified for five out of 15 job requirements.
In all, the investigation of Delaware State University found that one out of nine allegations was substantiated, and a second allegation was partially substantiated.
The Office of Auditor of Accounts found that a third allegation that Absolute HVACR installed non-functional equipment was inclusive. And allegations that this same vendor offered kickbacks and overcharged for services were also unsubstantiated.
In addition, the allegation that an Absolute HVACR employee was improperly fired “due to political pressures at both DSU and Absolute HVACR” was unsubstantiated.
“While working at Absolute HVACR, he installed HVAC parts in a Newark Hotel, but the parts were charged to DSU,”O'Donnell said in her report. “DSU had proper documentation to support the employee’s termination. We will provide information on the second item to the Attorney General’s Office for their consideration."
The Office of Attorney General had received a copy of the state auditor's report and was reviewing it, Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Jason Miller said.
Among the unsubstantiated allegations was the accusation that DSU had unsatisfactory control over up to $200,000 in parking feels collected during NASCAR’s race weekend.