CSUF Workers Penalized for Use of Funds

TIMES STAFF WRITER

At least three Cal State Fullerton employees have been disciplined for their parts in spending more than $600 in university funds on wedding and baby showers for two other campus workers, an employees' union official said.

In addition, an audit involving the Enrollment Management/University Outreach Department found that besides the expenditures on showers, at least $4,700 was spent inappropriately on items such as a retirement dinner, a student's hospital bill, a donation to a student association conference and sympathy flowers.

The review, performed by an auditor from the California State University System and released this week, found that charges of "misappropriation of funds were unsubstantiated" but that "misrepresentation, misauthorization, improper usage and lack of documentation" did occur.

It was not clear how university auditor Larry Mandel made the distinction, and he could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

In an e-mail to campus officials, CSUF President Milton Gordon wrote of the audit, "Despite the distinction between misappropriation and misrepresentation, dishonesty was involved, and I am greatly disappointed."

A CSUF report released in February found that money spent on the wedding and baby showers was "deliberately misrepresented" as training sessions on reimbursement forms sent to a nonprofit campus foundation that runs the bookstore and campus food service and administers research grants.

The new audit found the payment for a retirement dinner and a contribution to a picnic also were reported as training expenses.

The disciplined employees, whose names were not released by the university or the union, received letters Tuesday and Wednesday notifying them of the penalties, said Jay Jimenez, president of the California State Employees Assn., Local 317.

Two have been suspended for a month without pay, while the third received a letter of reprimand, Jimenez said. The suspended employees could lose about $2,500 each, he said.

They plan to appeal the penalties, with hearings for two of them taking place Monday, he said.

All three worked in the Enrollment Management/University Outreach Department, which recruits students to CSUF and sometimes pays for their meals during campus visits.

Besides those employees, Chuck Moore, the department's director, said he received a letter telling him to improve his management style and to pay more attention to his budgets.

Moore, for whom the baby shower was held, said he told auditors he thinks his employees deliberately hid the "training" reimbursement documents from him.

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