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Chicago State Mishandling Finances... Again

By Prescott Carlson in News on Apr 15, 2011 3:00PM

Looks like Chicago State University is having trouble keeping track of more than just its artwork -- things like its accounts receivable and payable.

In a new financial audit of Chicago State by the Illinois Auditor General, 41 compliance issues were found for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, up from 13 findings from the previous audit -- 11 of the 13 findings were repeated and still unaddressed. In contrast, the University of Illinois only had 3 findings in its most recent audit.

Many of the findings were beyond sloppy filing, and one of the more egregious was the discovery that the university had not even bothered to bill students for their tuition, and let students with outstanding balances register for classes. Other findings included the understatement of construction costs, mishandling of purchasing cards, and over $6 million in vendor contracts that had no checks to verify the vendor was not suspended or debarred from receiving contracts funded by Federal awards. The audit also revealed over a million dollars in "stale checks" which had not been cashed, some dating back eleven years.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the university's vice president of administration and finance Glenn Meeks says there's nothing to worry about, saying, "I know on the surface it looks bad for the institution, especially with the history that Chicago State has had. But believe me, this is not all bad."

That history Meeks refers to includes those 13 previous findings in 2009, 20 in 2008, 17 in 2007, and 12 in 2006.

About the university's failure to complete even the simple task of billing students, Meeks did admit it was "embarrassing," but that steps are being put in place to correct these issues and to just wait until next year's audit, telling the Trib, "That will be the greatest test of changes. Many of the findings that surfaced in the 2010 audit will go away. They will disappear."

Given that there's only 2.5 months left in the university's fiscal year, Meeks goal may be overly ambitious.