Venkatesh (May Have) Misused >$200k

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An article in The New York Times appearing in print tomorrow contains shocking allegations of a money-misuse scandal at Columbia. Professor of Sociology Sudir Venkatesh appears to have been internally investigated for illicitly spending over $200,000 in school funds, and paid back only $13,000. An excerpt from The New York Times gives the details:

All told, the auditors listed $19,405 in “inappropriate transactions” — like $1,514 in town car charges — and $221,960 in expenses with “insufficient documentation” — like payments to unnamed research subjects…Professor Venkatesh directed $52,328 to someone without any ‘documented evidence of work performed.’ …He charged Columbia for town cars to take him around, to take his fiancée home from work one late night, to take someone — it is not specified whom — from Professor Venkatesh’s address to a building that houses a nail salon and a psychic. All told, auditors questioned expenses amounting to $241,364.83.

The Times did note that “The documents do not indicate what judgment Columbia administrators reached about the audit, or what actions, if any, they took as a result.”

Venkatesh via ChigacoMag

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  1. uh  

    "embezzled"? 200k? Did you read the article? He hasn't been charged with any crime. He's only been asked to repay 13k. Tone this way down. And while you're at it, fix his name. You misspelled it.

  2. $221,960 in expenses with “insufficient documentation”

    And that's why you always turn in the E-form.

  3. Anonymous

    Columbia should ask for the documentation and the money back. It is disgusting what he did. He obviously asked for reimbursement of non university affiliated expenses. The only question remains is how egregious was he.

  4. Anonymous  

    So funny thats its ridiculously hard for student organizations to get money for what they need quickly and then this can happen.

  5. There are 4 grammatical/ word usage errors in this sentence:

    "An article The New York Times appearing in print tomorrow provides shocking alegations [sic] for an money-misuse scandal at Columbia."

    It should be:

    An article [in] The New York Times appearing in print tomorrow provides [should really be "contains", but we'll let it slide] shocking [allegations] [of] [a] money-misuse scandal at Columbia.

    Get it together Bwog!

  6. Anonymous

    When a financial audit is undertaken, the auditors will give the subject of the audit (a person or an organization) the opportunity to produce appropriate documentation of expenses if the documentation is missing initially. In this case, the auditors would have made effort to track down documentation of the work performed by the recipient of $52k - from Venkatesh, and probably from the "worker". And it takes a whole lot of gumption to spend $200k of your employer's money without providing receipts.

  7. dude  

    This guy studies prostitutes and gang members. They're not going to provide "evidence of work performed" and the places he goes to study them are going to be kinda sketchy.

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