A nearly year-long financial investigation of Florida A&M by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement culminated Wednesday with no charges against anyone, but several discrepancies in how the university regulated use of funding.
The FDLE concluded, “Nearly all of the issues and concerns…resulted from FAMU and its employee’s failure to comply with university policy and procedure.”
The investigation looked at activities related to the marching band and the use of university purchase cards (P-cards), and also reviewed previous findings by FAMU’s Office of Audit and Compliance.
Numerous discrepancies in the payment of per diem to individuals traveling with the band were discovered. Of the average 370 persons scheduled to receive money, 79 were not registered students of the university. Those who received money “included elementary, middle and high school students and FAMU alumni who had graduated from the university.”
Former band director Julian White and FAMU officials were unable to provide explanations for the mismanaged money. White was not charged with any infractions. White and FAMU said it was the other’s responsibility to regulate and follow university policy in regards to travel and fund allocation.
A statement released by White’s attorney, Chuck Hobbs, said, “Elementary, middle and high school students were part of the orchestra that traveled with the band. Other adults traveling with the band included photographers.”
A complaint filed about the theft of band dues in 2007 was investigated by the FDLE. Checks totaling between $30,000 and $40,000 were stolen from a storage room secured by White. He failed to deposit them into a university account for six months and did not report the theft to the FAMU Police Department for three months, and only stated $12,000 as the missing amount.
The FDLE reviewed personal financial records of White during an investigation of money received for “production costs” for performances of the marching band. The investigation states that White was given the authority to negotiate contractual agreements for the band.
White deposited the money received into his personal account, but “band staff members indicated they had received cash payments from White for band performances.”
The report said there was a lack of internal controls and administrative input in the payments of band staff.
White’s statement from Hobbs continued, “Dr. White is satisfied that the rank speculation as to his culpable negligence and/or misconduct has been proved unfounded and he looks forward to enjoying his retirement with his family.”
The FDLE found that irregularities stemming from travel charge reimbursement requests were present, but the “majority of travel related charges were consistent with what appeared to be university business.”
No individuals were found to misuse university P-cards, although documentation for purchase justification was unavailable for a number of transactions.
The report noted the eight counts of travel voucher fraud charges brought against employee Tammy Hamlet last month wherein she falsely claimed $1,800 in travel reimbursements between June 2010 and June 2011.