Sunday, April 03, 2016

Grant Thornton report at odds with Mangum’s claim that BOT “authorized the garage project”

Grant Thornton LLP has released its findings on a $71,529 garage project at the on-campus FAMU President’s House that nearly led to the firing of President Elmira Mangum in October.

The employment agreement between Mangum and the Board of Trustees (BOT) states that: “Dr. Mangum shall obtain prior approval from the Board (or its designee) for any capital improvements or repairs to the home or its grounds which have a project cost over $10,000.” The purchase order for the garage project was made on June 19, 2014, which was after the April 1, 2014 start date of Mangum’s contract.

Mangum sent a memo to the BOT on October 21, 2015 that said that: “I did not have any knowledge nor did I authorize or sign off on the construction of the garage. Upon further inquiry, it was discovered that the Board of Trustees authorized the garage project.”

The memo from Mangum did not reference any specific documents concerning that claim.

But the report by Grant Thornton said that “no formal BOT approval of this project was documented.”

That finding matches what FAMU Vice-President for Audit and Compliance Richard Givens had already told the BOT.

The Florida auditor general's office recently asked Givens to look into whether two purchase orders for renovations at the President’s House had received BOT approval. The first was issued February 13, 2014 and was for $300,209. The second, which was for the garage project, was issued on June 19, 2014 and was for $71,529.

“I was not able to find approval for the purchase orders by the Board (or Board designee) in the Board minutes or that the Board approved in separate written correspondence,” Givens wrote to Cheryl Buchanan, an audit coordinator for the Florida auditor general, in a memorandum dated October 1. “Also, as requested in your e-mail dated October 8, I cannot find documentation that the Board was officially notified of the renovation or garage construction.”

Givens gave a copy of that memo to the BOT.

Grant Thornton concluded that: “The University did not comply with the provisions of the President’s Employment Agreement regarding the renovations to the University owned residence.” It called the problem “Material noncompliance with University owned residence renovation regulations.”

The report by Grant Thornton recommended that the BOT improve FAMU policies in order to prevent more noncompliance with those regulations from taking place in the future.  

Read the full report here.

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