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Audit: NCCU Official Took Federal Research Money

Posted February 12, 2008

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— A North Carolina Central University administrator has been reassigned after a state audit revealed he had skimmed about $15,000 from federal research grants to pay his credit card bills.

Franklin Carver was stripped of his duties as assistant provost and associate vice chancellor of academic affairs but retained his faculity position at N.C. Central. The university said in a statement that Carver has a tenure and cannot be fired without a due process hearing.

Campus police and local and federal law enforcement authorities are reviewing Carver's actions to determine whether criminal charges should be filed, N.C. Central officials said in their response to the audit. The university also is seeking repayment of the skimmed funds.

The audit, released Tuesday, was prompted by a call to a tip-line at the State Auditor's Office last fall that claimed $2,000 checks were being given to students for work they didn't perform.

A three-month investigation showed Carver authorized nine checks, totaling $36,041, between April 2003 and March 2004 to people who shouldn't have received any money. The money was taken from grants to the university from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  as part of the Minority Biomedical Research Support and the Overcoming Racial Health Disparities program.

The checks were handed to an N.C. Central undergraduate who was romantically involved with Carver, as well as Carver's nephew, the nephew's girlfriend and "fewer than 10" other people not affiliated with the university, according to Frank Perry, lead investigator in the State Auditor's Office. Carver instructed the people to cash the checks, return him a portion of the money and keep the rest, the audit report states.

Seven of the checks, totaling $15,341, were cashed, according to the audit. Perry said the other two checks were caught by internal financial controls and denied.

"I think abuse of authority is the appropriate description (of the case)," Perry said. "I think that part of the reason (the scheme ended) was that some of his requests were denied. He was getting clear resistance to the rightness of this."

Investigators also reviewed Carver's university-issued credit card account and found various personal items charged to the card, in violation of university policy, according to the audit. Investigators found delinquency charges, a notice of account cancellation and a notice to assign the account to a collection agent, supporting the claim made in the initial tip that the kickbacks were being used to pay Carver's credit card bills, the audit report states.

"It seems he was attempting to pay off his credit card, which was issued by the university," Perry said.

The university also has changed its procedures for approving the disbursement of federal grant funds and plans internal audits of credit cards used by staff members to reduce the potential for fraud, officials said.

“North Carolina Central University has a solid reputation, and I hope that the actions of one individual do not taint the positive work they are doing," State Auditor Les Merritt said in a statement. "I have full confidence in Chancellor (Charlie) Nelms’ ability to put these issues in the past and lead N.C. Central forward.”


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  • issymayake Feb 13, 2008

    wakemom, you're absolutely right; but I'll attempt to explain it

    nshdoodah, we all agree that he should be released from NCCU, but it's not that easy when it comes to tenured faculty members. He will be relieved of his contractual duties as Asst. Provost, which is an at-will job, and then go through due process for misconduct and ethics violations as a faculty member.

    homer s, a teaching license is not required to teach on the university level, and NCCU is clearly not a elementary or secondary school.

    We are a regional, mainly commuter university; with increasing emphasis on serving non-traditional student populations. The language concerning amorous relationships between students and staff/faculty is vague to allow for situations like dating older undergrads, graduate students and spouses without repercussion. Dating students is frowned upon by the administration, but is not necessarily an offense which garners immediate termination.

    Carry on.

  • nursepjs Feb 13, 2008

    I don't see how a university concerned with its reputation can keep an administrator on staff when he had a relationship with a student. The money is a serious matter, but how much more serious for a person in a position of authority to abuse it by romancing a student. It's disgusting.

  • homer s Feb 13, 2008

    he's not having to turn in his teaching license? or is there none required at that "school"?

  • wakemom Feb 13, 2008

    yawl are really pressed. lol

  • dianadarling Feb 13, 2008

    I guess even with a 143,000 salary and a 1.4 million dollar house you still need to steal to eat.
    salary at charlotte observer website


    house at durham county website (in his wife's name but he is registered to vote at the same address)


  • twc Feb 13, 2008

    Crystal Mangum is truly a hero! She has brought about welcome change. Now, no one is forced to resign until they have a fair hearing. Our hero!

  • nshdoodah Feb 13, 2008

    If they don't fire him keep your tax money and your donations. His actions were egregious and he deserves to be fired. It's a black mark on the employees who do a good job to rationalize why you can't fire him. That's not the reason for tenure and certainly not what tuition paying students deserve in the classroom.

  • wakemom Feb 13, 2008

    The East Carolina University athletic department gave $25,000 in "inappropriate" payments to a relative of athletic director Terry Holland, according to an auditor's report and a statement from the university.
    The school did not publicly identify the relative. The Free Press newspaper of Kinston cited anonymous sources to report that the relative is Holland's brother, Gregg, who is in his late 40s or early 50s and has been enrolled as a student. Two university sources confirmed that Monday.

  • photophenom Feb 13, 2008

    I'm on board with issymayke. I work at NCCU and as with any state employee, you can't just "fired" them. You have to go thru the process so they can't come back and say they were dismissed unfairly.

  • issymayake Feb 13, 2008

    Some of you are unfamiliar with common HR practices. Firing at-will isn't always the best practice for a university worker, and can have legal ramifications. The employer has to go through due-process.

    BTW, a list of colleges that have had major embezzlement cases since 2000: Tufts University, Auburn University, Morris Brown College, University of Michigan, Southern University, University of Kansas, University of North Texas, University of Georgia, etc