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Venkatesh (May Have) Misused >$200k

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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17 Comments

  • uh says:

    @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.

    1. Keep it up Bwog says:

      @Keep it up Bwog As mentioned, this is a little sensationalist. That, combined with the orgy of hateful comments on Bwog’s zero-researched or reported post on the Brownstones, really makes me feel Bwog’s only metric of success is how much ruckus and clicks they can generate. Fucking disgusting.

      1. Michael says:

        @Michael Amen brother.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Oh, piss off.

        2. Kristine says:

          @Kristine I want you back

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous isn’t that Michael’s song?

      2. Seriously, though... says:

        @Seriously, though... How much extra research or reporting was Bwog supposed to do in announcing the three Brownstone winners?

  • $221,960 in expenses with “insufficient documentation” says:

    @$221,960 in expenses with “insufficient documentation” And that’s why you always turn in the E-form.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous *And that’s why you always leave a note

  • Anonymous says:

    @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.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous allegations

  • Anonymous says:

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

  • @Check your grammar Bwog! 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!

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I can’t wait until grammar nazis finally get too cocky and try to learn the Russian language. Sure, it’ll seem like you’re making good progress for the first few months, but then you’ll slowly come to realize that wow, there’s just so much grammar here – I’ve learned so much, but there’s just so much more, there’s no way I’m going to take care of this by the end of winter semester. By the second year, you’re crying, trying to figure out whether Stalingrad declines like a normal noun or whether it’s animate because it’s a person and then you will give surrender.

  • Anonymous says:

    @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.

  • dude says:

    @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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