One of the things about small colleges is that their resources are so limited that they often have to purchase products and services from other places. That practice puts procurement in the hands of school employees. It also makes it easy to cheat the school. Jodi Cohen at the Chicago Tribune reports that:
A former Chicago State University employee was indicted Tuesday, accused of devising a scheme in which the university bought overpriced copy machines and paper from a company he owned.
Michael Vernon Warren, 60, the university’s former director of publications and copy services, was indicted on four counts of wire fraud and four counts of official misconduct, both felonies, said Scott Mulford, a spokesman for the Illinois attorney general’s office.
In 2007 Chicago State paid more than a quarter of a million dollars for two copy machines. The university bought the machines from A&W Group. Warren did not reveal at the time that he owned and operated A&W Group. Warren is also accused of overcharging for paper by more than $10,000. He was forced to resign from his position at Chicago State in 2007.
This latest indictment comes after several years of improper funding allegations at Chicago State. Two years ago the college’s president, Elnora Daniel, resigned after an audit revealed expenditures for “personal items, alcohol, and other unapproved expenses.”
The school’s board of directors now must approve any Chicago State purchases over $250,000.