Audit Results Discover Misuse of Funds for an SHSU Top Administrator

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

Thelma Douglass announced her retirement yesterday. It comes on the heels of the release of an internal audit of Ms. Douglass' department. The audit discovered nearly $9000 misappropriated by Douglass between September 2002 and December 2004.

And it identified quote, "fraud, waste, abuse and material deficiencies in the internal controls in the Division of Student Services."

The audit found the majority of the misused funds, more than $4000 worth, went to personal gifts to friends, family and employees that ranged from floral arrangements to gift certificates and tickets to sporting events.

A small portion, nearly $14 stemmed from personal phone calls made on a University phone.

More than $2000 was used to pay an employee to work on personal legal matters for Douglass on university time.

There was more than $2400 unaccounted for airline travel vouchers. That's the amount of money Sam Houston could have been refunded for a trip that was cancelled in 2001 if they would have petitioned the airline for a full refund of the ticket prices, but Sam never did.

The auditor concluded that while money was misused, it was not for Douglass' personal gain and that her actions appeared to be taken in good faith and that there didn't appear to be criminal intent.

However, the recommendation set forth by the auditor’s office suggested Douglass should be relieved of her supervisory capacity.

While Douglass announced her retirement yesterday, a university spokesman today said a reassignment would have been forthcoming.

"There was an audit she was relieved of her duties after that report. Audits look into how they follow rules and regulations, they look into accountability for purchases, they look into travel, and look into relationships with staff." says Frank Krystyniak, SHSU Public Relations Director.

The audit also turned up instances of Douglass creating a hostile work environment. University president James Gaertner has asked Douglass to defer her retirement to work as a special assistant to him until September 30.

She'll learn of those duties next week.


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