Officials take quick action
July 12, 2007
By Sally Linder
A system Ohio University put in place to create safeguards and protections against fraud has worked as intended, uncovering an administrator's possible financial improprieties. As a result, an associate athletics director has resigned after an investigation into possible problems with his purchasing-card expense reports.
On June 6, the university's Internal Audit office received an anonymous tip through its ethics Web site that Robert Andrey, associate athletics director for business and internal operations, may have misused his p-card.
Making ethics a priority
Members of the Ohio University community are encouraged to report suspected criminal, unethical or otherwise inappropriate behavior via the university's ethics hotline and Web site. These sites offer information and guidance.
The Internal Audit office began an immediate investigation and on June 18 brought preliminary findings to Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt. Hocutt contacted Andrey and arranged a meeting for the next day.
Andrey resigned June 19, effective June 30.
Following the meeting, Internal Audit began a broader investigation of all expense records to which Andrey had access. The administrative investigation continues, and the case has now been turned over to the Ohio University Police Department, which issued a statement Tuesday that it is investigating the situation as a criminal matter.
"This is a prime example of the system working," Hocutt said, referring to the concerned employee's use of the ethics Web site, which allows anyone to anonymously report suspected wrongdoing. "We were able to gain valuable information and take steps in a matter of days."
The university's ethics reporting site has been in place since February 2006. President Roderick J. McDavis and members of the Board of Trustees wanted to create an effective tool for the university community to bring problems to light, particularly anything involving financial misconduct.
"The ethics Web site has turned out to be a very effective communication tool," Internal Audit Director Kathy Gilmore said.
She added that the university is always looking at ways to tighten its internal controls, and the ethics site is helping to accomplish that.
"We recognize that in a community of this size, there are bound to be people who do not live up to the university's standards," Hocutt said, expressing gratitude regarding the tip.
"I am grateful that an individual has stepped up and taken the time to report his or her concerns," he said. "In the future, I hope others will do the same and continue to preserve the reputation of this great university."