By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama State University Board of Trustees hired Dr. Joseph Silver to be the President of the historically Black college in Montgomery. Within weeks of his tenure as ASU President, he found what he believed were financial irregularities in the operations of the University and conflicts of interest involving some at the University.
Within days of voicing his concerns to the Board of Trustees, he was fired by the BOT. Following that political firestorm which ultimately ended with Silver taking a generous buyout package, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) ordered a forensic audit of the University’s contracts.
Governor Bentley assigned the comprehensive review to Forensic Strategic Solutions (FSS). After a lengthy review, FSS released its preliminary report alleging that there were financial irregularities at Alabama State. Within days of receiving the preliminary report, the ASU Board of Trustees responded to the findings by announcing Tuesday that they were filing a lawsuit against FSS.
An angry Governor Bentley vowed after releasing the report, “We also will furnish all of this material to the appropriate authorities. We will furnish it to the Attorney General’s Office and we also will furnish this to the federal authorities.” Bentley has accused ASU authorities with stonewalling the investigation.
The preliminary findings claimed that auditors found evidence suggesting conflicts of interest, numerous contracts without proof that work was actually done, financial waste, inappropriate relationships, payments to BOT members family and friends, inappropriate payments, intentional obscuring of inappropriate payments, circumventing policies and procedures, and obstructing the investigation.
The report names former Trustee Larry Lemak, current trustee Marvin Wiggins, and BOT Chairman Elton Dean.
The law suit, which is filed in Los Angeles, CA, charges that FSS both intentionally and negligently affected ASU’s actual and prospective economic relations. ASU alleges that the FSS charges are both false and misleading and has affected the college’s credit rating.
ASU accuses the State of Alabama of having a long and ugly history of discrimination involving ASU and accuses FSS of not using accepted accounting procedures in the audit.