Two CSU employees accused by police of mishandling $17,000 in cash are set to face trials this summer, while friends of one of the employees – the head of the University Counseling Center – are showing support.
UCC administrative assistant Reva Jeannette Miles, 55, is set to face a jury May 30 on a felony count each of theft and embezzlement along with a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device.
She could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted of just one of the felonies, according to court documents.
Her supervisor, UCC Director Charles Davidshofer, also faces a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct, and is set to appear in court on May 24.
Miles had resigned last year after CSU police implicated her in stealing $17,000 over a three-year period while working as an administrative assistant at the counseling center. She allegedly pocketed most of the university’s cash deposits while only depositing checks.
CSU police arrested Miles on Sept. 6 after Brian Grube, the university bursar and cash manager, found that $27,000 worth of cash was missing between July 2002 and April 2005 from the counseling center.
Miles, who is staying in Texas, must return to Fort Collins five days before her trial to avoid any possible complications, according to an order granted by the Larimer County District Court.
Miles’ arrest came after a five-month police investigation and internal audit that found evidence of departmental misconduct, including concerns with cash handling, personal phone use, sick leave, inadequacy of supervisory oversight and ACARD purchases – cards university employees can use to make approved, business purchases.
CSUPD Detective Eric Lintz concluded in his report that “the UCC culture has been left on its own and has no accountability for at least 13 years, and probably beyond that.”
Police accused Miles’ immediate supervisor, Davidshofer, in January of turning a blind eye to the financial mishaps of his department.
Davidshofer’s trial is expected some time this summer and he has since filed a request to squelch all pretrial publicity, an order approved earlier this year.
The status of the UCC today remains the same, said Linda Kuk, vice president for student affairs. Kuk acknowledges she has made personal agreements with Davidshofer while he awaits trail.
Kuk ultimately decided to keep Davidshofer off administrative leave because the criminal charge in January did not shed any additional light on Davidshofer’s role in the UCC scandal.
“The decision to keep things as they were was related to the fact that no new information was shared that differed from what we knew from August or September,” Kuk said.
Kuk is still in charge of overseeing the financial affairs of the UCC and said Davidshofer is still handling the ins and outs of payment to the center. Davidshofer has worked at CSU for 36 years.
“As soon as the audit was concluded, I immediately moved to strengthen everything and make sure everything was in order,” Kuk said.
Support for Davidshofer
Ernie Chavez, chair for the psychology department and a 30-year-plus veteran at CSU, said all cash handling procedures were halted in his department once the UCC troubles came to light last year.
“Because of Jeannette (Miles’) behavior, all the rules have changed for the rest of us,” Chavez said.
Chavez has personally known Davidshofer for more than 30 years and believes the UCC director should be held responsible at an administrative level, but not criminally.
“If you are the individual in charge, you are still in charge of everything that goes on, even if you aren’t aware of what’s happening,” Chavez said.
Chavez says he regularly sees Davidshofer at church on Sundays and riding his bike to campus.
“I have a strong personal relationship with him,” he said. “There isn’t a dishonest bone in Chuck Davidshofer’s body.”
In 2005, Davidshofer received a distinguished administrative professional award from the university.
Grant Sherwood, former interim vice president for student affairs who recently retired from CSU after 36 years, says Davidshofer is not the type to ignore criminal mischief.
“I truly believe he had no idea of the cash handling problem going on at the UCC,” Sherwood said. “I was very disappointed to see Chuck caught up in that.”
James Baetke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.