UCLA filed a $500,000 civil suit Wednesday against one of its professors, contending that he used university grant funds to purchase electronic equipment at inflated prices from a company he co-owned.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also claims that Prof. Cavour W. Yeh, 52, of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, approved the appointment and payment of salaries to a brother and two sisters without disclosing they were relatives.
The university, which said it had been damaged “in excess of $500,000,” also turned the results of its 15-month investigation over to the Los Angeles County district attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
Al Albergate, spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said he could “only confirm that we do have an active investigation into this.” He would not disclose any details.
Yeh was unavailable for comment. His wife said she knew nothing about the matter.
Robert Stern of the law firm Tuttle & Taylor, which filed the action, said that in addition to claiming that it had been charged “in excess of the fair market value of the equipment,” the university declared that it had not received some of the material it had paid for.
He could not specify the type of electronic equipment involved or say what agencies--public or private--provided the grant money involved.
The company, according to the complaint, was called EMtec Engineering Inc.
The complaint asked the court to freeze all “misappropriated” grant funds as well as profits and property allegedly derived from their misuse between January, 1982, and March, 1986.
UCLA said Yeh has been on the faculty since 1967 and received his electrical engineering degrees from Caltech. His main field of research is in the field of fiber optics communications, a UCLA spokesman said.