The University of Central Florida admitted to inappropriately using $51 million to partially fund eight construction projects, according to the school’s board of trustees.
Over the past five years, UCF has misused millions of dollars to build eight separate projects such as Research Building 1, Band Building, among others.
“We need to find out why we did what we did,” a UCF Board of Trustee member said. “We’re still out of compliance.”
UCF plans to withdraw millions out of the school’s various accounts to repay the misused money. UCF claims that student services will not be affected by the repayments.
At today’s board of trustee meeting, chairman Marcus Marchena posed the question whether UCF President Dale Whitaker knew about the misuse of funds. Whittaker said he didn’t know.
“I had no knowledge these funds were being used inappropriately,” Whittaker said. “If I had, I would’ve stooped their use.”
As Knight News previously reported, UCF’s former Chief Financial Officer/ Vice President of Administration and Finance, William Merck, stepped down days before the $38 million Trevor Colbourn Hall controversy broke.
In Merck’s retirement statement obtained by Knight News, he cites the approach of his 74th birthday as the reason for his retirement.
Since then, UCF has hired an outside law firm to investigate the university’s “capital projects”, according to a contract obtained by Knight News.
As Knight News previously reported, Florida House Speaker, Richard Corcoran has opened an investigation into UCF.
“I am baffled by how the actions of one irresponsible officer’s effort at flouting the Legislatures and State University system’s budget controls could result in a four-year-long unauthorized endeavor of this magnitude,” Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Richard Corcoran wrote in a letter to UCF President Dale Whittaker. “There are only two possibilities: that others within UCF were aware of and conspired in this misuse of public funds, or your administration lacks the necessary internal controls to manage its fiscal responsibilities.”