FAMU audit takes issue with interim president
By RON MATUS
Published April 26, 2007
Florida's top auditor is taking issue with claims by interim Florida A&M University president Castell Bryant that she never requested an internal review by the school's inspector general, who was later fired.
The review is one of two by Michael Brown that have never been published. But given what he called "discrepancies" with Bryant's claims, Auditor General Bill Monroe wrote in a report released late Tuesday that the FAMU Board of Trustees should refer the matter to the state task force now watchdogging the university's finances.
"Our audit disclosed correspondence from the former Inspector General to the President indicating the President was aware of and had requested the review," Monroe wrote in FAMU's most recent operational audit, "and we visually observed the work papers supporting the review."
Trustee R.B. Holmes said Wednesday he'll follow through on the auditor's request.
"I support the recommendation," said Holmes, who raised questions last summer about Brown's firing. "If I need to bring it to the board. ... I will do it gladly."
Tuesday's report is the final version of last month's preliminary audit, which angered lawmakers, spurred another wave of negative media attention and obliterated perceptions that FAMU's finances had finally made a turn for the better. Despite recent attempts by university officials to put their best spin on it, the final report makes it clear the state remains unconvinced that FAMU has made progress - and raises even more questions.
Monroe upheld all 35 findings from the preliminary audit, which flagged concerns about everything from undocumented phone calls and vehicle use to nearly $40-million that wasn't recorded as budgeted expenditures.
FAMU officials were hoping for a sunnier outcome. Two weeks ago, they asked that four of the findings in the preliminary audit be dropped, and insisted that another 26 had either been fixed or would be within three months.