Probe in early stages

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UNT auditors plan to spend a total of 3,000 hours on investigation

Internal auditors for the University of North Texas System have spent 495 hours investigating apparent misuse of state funds for some employee benefits and payroll, and plan to spend another 2,500 hours investigating the financial irregularities this year.

According to documents that will be reviewed for approval by the UNT System Board of Regents on Thursday, the internal auditors have proposed shifting resources from other work to step up the review of problems that surfaced publicly earlier this year with the handling of state funds.

The state auditor’s office also is investigating.

Problems arose in November when the UNT Libraries were told they had to absorb $1.7 million worth of employee benefit costs.

The benefits were being paid improperly using state funds, which are not designated for those purposes. University and system officials have acknowledged the financial issues stem from problem transactions and reporting.

The university addressed the issues publicly in February, when Chancellor Lee Jackson said the system had hired outside auditors to look at financial records.

That month, Andrew Harris, vice president for finance and administration at UNT, and Carlos Hernandez, chief financial officer and vice president for finance at UNT Dallas, resigned on the same day.

Jean Bush, UNT senior vice president for finance, submitted her resignation pending medical leave on the same day as well.

The state auditors have not indicated whether the university will be required to repay some or all of the state funds that were mishandled. The full impact of the problem is expected to be determined by June 30.

The proposed amendments to the audit plan also add 10 other audits to be completed this year that were not originally scheduled, and cut out 37 planned audits to accommodate the 9,470 hours needed for the rest of the fiscal year.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.


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