ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 22, 2006) -- Ohio University's Office of Internal Audit has found no wrongdoing in how the College of Business spent funds from the Charles G. O'Bleness endowment.
According to media reports, a faculty member in the college had alleged that the dean was using the funds improperly to reward his friends. In a report issued on Nov. 20, auditors concluded, "no such fraudulent activity occurred. The expenditures met university guidelines and were used to benefit Ohio University and the College of Business Administration."
Glenn Corlett, dean of the College of Business, said, "I am very pleased that the results of the audit show that the O'Bleness gifts were used in accord with the desire of the donor and the trustees of the O'Bleness Foundation. These funds have greatly benefited the College of Business and Ohio University over the years."
Charles G. O'Bleness, an 1898 graduate, established endowed professorships with a gift he made in 1963 and his estate made in 1978. Today, income from these endowments supports a chair in banking, an executive-in-residence program and several professorships.
The auditors observed that the requirements for the endowments were not always clear and that the college's internal guidelines "were not always strictly followed." For example, in 1988, the university received the O'Bleness Foundation's permission to expand the number of endowed professorships from one to three. However, an internal document apparently created around that time states that there will be "a minimum" of three professorships.
Corlett also said that the O'Bleness Foundation has allowed the college to determine many of the specific details of how the funds will be used, and that he plans to ask the trustees of the O'Bleness Foundation whether they would like to develop formal guidelines.
The audit also found that some expenditures for the executive-in-residence program had been incorrectly charged to an account used for the professorships, when they should have been charged to the banking chair account. Corlett said that this was a coding error and would be corrected.
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