ASU presidential search committee to keep finalists confidential - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ASU presidential search committee to keep finalists confidential

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Despite Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's call that the search for a new president at Alabama State University be halted, the search committee decided to move forward with a search for a new leader.

The committee help a meeting Thursday night and finalized a list of 11 candidates for the vacant position. The committee also decided the names of the candidates will remain confidential.

ASU has been without a president since December 2012, when the university struck a separation agreement with then-president Joseph Silver.

Silver was met with resistance when he raised questions and concerns about financial dealings at the university.

One of the members of the Alabama State University Presidential Search Committee took the opportunity to lash out at the governor and the audit that revealed allegations and findings of financial waste, conflicts of interest and payments that were unaccounted for.

Donald Watkins, a Birmingham attorney and businessman, referred to Forensic Strategic Solutions, the firm that conducted the audit as, "some little accounting firm in Birmingham."

He also said that FSS was "handpicked" by Gov. Bentley, even though Alabama State University agreed that FSS would conduct the audit and none of the members of the Alabama State Board of Trustees raised issue at the time.

The contract was in-fact a no-bid, but state law does not require a bid process for such agreements, and the state legislature's Contract Review Committee approved the deal without issue.

Watkins criticized the findings in the report, saying that there is no allegation that money was stolen, missing, or otherwise unaccounted for.

"Ain't no money stolen. Ain't no money missin," Watkins told the committee.

Auditors said there is evidence to support their conclusions that two current and one former board members' personal business interests and family members benefitted financially from the university.

The current board members are Board Chairman Elton Dean, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee Judge Marvin Wiggins. The former trustee in question is Dr. Lawrence Lemak, whose foundations and non-profit groups collected more than $1.6 million from ASU from 2007-2013.

Gov. Bentley's press secretary Jennifer Ardis responded to the criticism of FSS with a statement saying, "FSS is a nationally recognized forensic financial investigation firm. Other firms were considered for the ASU investigation, but the Governor chose FSS based on a process that included recommendations from respected professionals in the fields of law, law enforcement, education, accounting and forensic accounting. The Administration had not worked previously with FSS."

Gov. Bentley did not attend Thursday's meeting. The governor's chief legal adviser and a lawyer for the administration were in attendance.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

  • Inside News Leader 9More>>

  • TrackBack: ASU audit

    TrackBack: ASU audit

    TrackBack: ASU audit

    Ken Hare In Depth: Audit suggests ASU made mockery of open records lawASU President says school is "under attack by the governor"ASU, board members blast Gov. Bentley's audit release, feel "betrayed"ASUMore >>
    Ken Hare In Depth: Audit suggests ASU made mockery of open records lawASU President says school is "under attack by the governor"ASU, board members blast Gov. Bentley's audit release, feel "betrayed"ASUMore >>
  • LocalMore>>

  • Columbus woman shot on Cusseta Road Thursday morning

    Columbus woman shot on Cusseta Road Thursday morning

    Thursday, July 20 2017 8:30 AM EDT2017-07-20 12:30:07 GMT

    Columbus police confirmed a woman was shot early Thursday morning on According to police, the shooting happened on the 2000 block of Cusseta Road near 25th Avenue around 5:30 a.m. 

    More >>

    Columbus police confirmed a woman was shot early Thursday morning on According to police, the shooting happened on the 2000 block of Cusseta Road near 25th Avenue around 5:30 a.m. 

    More >>
  • Most Wanted: July 2017 Rigdon Road shooting

    Most Wanted: July 2017 Rigdon Road shooting

    Wednesday, July 19 2017 10:33 PM EDT2017-07-20 02:33:21 GMT
    (Source: WTVM File)(Source: WTVM File)

    Three people shot, one died, and a gunman is a free man as Columbus police need help to take this person off the streets.

    More >>

    Three people shot, one died, and a gunman is a free man as Columbus police need help to take this person off the streets.

    More >>
  • Whitewater in Columbus, 5 years later

    Whitewater in Columbus, 5 years later

    Wednesday, July 19 2017 11:17 PM EDT2017-07-20 03:17:42 GMT
    (Source: Aaron Lee/WTVM)(Source: Aaron Lee/WTVM)

    It was five years ago when the Chattahoochee River in Columbus changed, and the economy surrounding the river changed as well. 

    More >>

    It was five years ago when the Chattahoochee River in Columbus changed, and the economy surrounding the river changed as well. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly