This is not supposed to be possible. How do you redirect grant funds to strip clubs?
The former chair of the Drexel University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering spent more than $96,000 on area strip clubs and sports bars, in addition to $89,000 on food and iTunes purchases, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
A university audit showed the longtime professor, who spent nearly three decades at the school, made numerous, unapproved purchases between 2010 and 2017 that he tried to be reimbursed for through research grants, according to state prosecutors.
My grants have all had long, detailed breakdowns of the proposed budget; the awards are then salted away by the university under multiple accounts with designated purposes, like “salaries”, “equipment”, “supplies”; there is a university administrator who monitors everything. I don’t have a checkbook that accesses the accounts. When I want to use my money to buy something, I go through university purchasing, which can draw on the funds, and they buy it for me. Last year I got a new incubator, which was justified under my proposal, and then I realized I needed a second one, which was not, and had to write an explanation to the administrator explaining why I wanted to move funds from one category to another to purchase this equipment. When we had the HHMI grant, we were frequently juggling the budget — this category came in under budget, this one looks like it was going to be a bit over — and we’d have to contact the Howard Hughes institution to clear it.
So this guy had an engineering grant, and he was able to blithely shuffle money from it into entertainment expenses? Unspecified entertainment expenses, since he wasn’t going to be able to invoice a local strip club, and just redirected reimbursements straight into his pocket to the tune of $185,000?
Unreal. I predict that a horde of accountants are going to crack the whip over every department at Drexel, because this is the kind of sloppy management that gets grants yanked.
Oh, yeah, and that department chair has already been fired, and is probably going to jail.