Message from the Chairman
A fundamental obligation of governing boards is to act with integrity, thoroughness, and transparency in all matters affecting the well-being and trust of stakeholders.
This responsibility is particularly true, and heightened, when unexpected events undermine the trust and confidence necessary for effective oversight.
UCF’s Board of Trustees and Administration have taken decisive and meaningful action to correct organizational weaknesses that allowed a breach of trust in the misuse of funds in the construction of Trevor Colbourn Hall. We discovered other inappropriate transfers and have replaced all such funds. We will cooperate fully in ongoing investigations by the Board of Governors and legislative committees to ensure this will never happen again.
We have posted the full report from our external, independent investigation here. You also can find on this website information about how to contact UCF’s IntegrityLine, which is available 24 hours a day.
- Bryan Cave Investigation Report and Exhibits
- Update from President Whittaker (1/18/19)
- Chairman Marchena Statement, Board of Trustees Meeting (1/18/19)
- President Whittaker Statement, Board of Trustees Meeting (1/18/19)
- Summary of Projects Involving Spent or Unspent E&G Funds
- Recommendations from Trustees (1/24/19)
- UCF Corrective Actions (2/8/19)
About Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is the external firm examining UCF’s process, procedures and personnel concerning how we finance facilities. The group is one of the top firms in the country specializing in corporate internal investigations. UCF does not have a previous relationship with the firm, allowing them to provide a “fresh set of eyes” on this important issue.
The external reviewers will work with the UCF Board of Trustees Audit and Compliance Committee along with our full Board of Trustees, the Auditor General’s Office and Board of Governors leadership.
Frequently Asked Questions
What did the Bryan Cave investigation include?
- The three-month investigation involved interviews of more than 40 witnesses and the review of “tens of thousands” of documents, including financial and accounting records, audio recordings, emails and text messages.
- The firm worked closely with the Board of Governors’ inspector general and shared all of the documents requested with the Board of Governors and the Florida House of Representatives’ Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.
How has UCF responded to the issue?
- President Whittaker has:
- Identified eligible funds to replenish the E&G dollars and transferred those funds quickly following the Board of Trustees’ approval to do so. Students are not adversely affected by these financial moves.
- Accepted the resignation of UCF’s Vice President for Administration and Finance and created a new chief financial officer position outside of the Administration and Finance division to ensure there is separate oversight of the construction facilities and how they are funded.
- Required real-time audits for all major capital projects to ensure the funds we said would be used for projects are, in fact, being used.
- Hired retired Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen Jr., a decorated Army veteran and former superintendent for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, to lead change at UCF by recommending and implementing new financial and operational structures, policies and procedures.
- Instituted a moratorium on all new construction projects to be funded with at least $2 million of university funds.
- Started the termination process for four administrators in the Administration & Finance division. The actions surrounding Trevor Colbourn Hall and other projects revealed a serious breach of trust and professional responsibility.
- The UCF Board of Trustees has:
- Launched the independent, external investigation into Trevor Colbourn Hall and related activity. The completed investigation was led by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, one of the nation’s top law firms specializing in corporate internal investigations, and it included UCF’s processes, delegations of authority, procedures and personnel.
- Committed to sharing all information and activity with the Florida Board of Governors and fully cooperating with the Florida House of Representatives Public Integrity & Ethics Committee.
- Required future Board of Trustees’ approvals of capital projects with a written certification by the president, vice president presenting the item, general counsel and chief financial officer identifying the source of funds and certifying that they are appropriate for that purpose.
- Suspended temporarily the Performance Unit Program for the president and vice presidents until the investigation is resolved to the Board’s satisfaction, at President Whittaker’s request.
Did UCF find additional misspent or improperly budgeted money?
- In addition to the $38 million misspent on Trevor Colbourn Hall, UCF in September identified an additional $13.8 million of Education & General funding that made up portions of funding across eight other university construction projects.
With approval from the Board of Trustees, the university immediately replaced those funds with funds that were appropriate for construction.
Since then, UCF has identified $32.7 million in other E&G funds budgeted for construction projects – but never spent. That money has been removed from the budgets for those facilities.
For details, see the attached List of Projects.
Did anyone gain personally from these actions, directly or indirectly?
- No, according to the Bryan Cave investigation.
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The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a university-funded benefit that offers the support and resources you need to address any personal challenges and/or concerns that may affect your personal well-being and/or work performance. It is confidential and free to all faculty and staff (excluding OPS employees) as well as their eligible family members, including spouses, dependent children, parents and parents-in-law.
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