Jan 292006
 
Authors: James Baetke

Police on Friday ordered the head of the University Counseling Center to appear in court on allegations he turned a blind eye to an employee accused of stealing more than $17,000 from the university.

It was unclear on Sunday whether Charles Davidshofer, the 61-year-old director of the UCC, would report to work as usual this week. Several calls made to his home over the weekend yielded a busy signal.

Davidshofer was issued a summons Friday morning at his office in the Clark building. Police believe this is the first time in CSU history that a department head has been served with a summons for a crime.

Police want Davidshofer to answer to charges of first-degree official misconduct – a misdemeanor crime described as knowingly using a public position for unlawful personal gain, or that of another.

Eric Lintz, a detective with the CSU Police Department, said Davidshofer may not have directly taken money from the university, but turned a blind eye to the criminal mischief of Reva Jeanette Miles – a former employee accused of embezzling $17,000 in cash deposits and goods over a three-year period.

"He may not have known what was going on, but he should have," Lintz said.

The detective said Davidshofer was "very shocked" and "seemed a little down," when he handed over the summons to the 35-year employee to the university.

"Jeanette (Miles) ruled the roost, and nine times out of 10, Davidshofer went along with it," Lintz said.

Officials at CSU are still determining whether to put Davidshofer on administrative leave.

"Colorado State University takes this very seriously. The summons was just issued today, and university administration is working to secure more information regarding the investigation and specifics of this case to determine the next appropriate steps," CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander said on Friday.

Miles, 55, worked at CSU for more than 31 years until she eventually left her UCC post last year after being charged with one count each of theft, embezzlement of public property and unauthorized use of a transaction device.

In May 2005, police began conducting an investigation into the financial woes of the UCC after an audit made some detrimental financial discoveries earlier in the year. CSUPD found evidence of departmental misconduct, including concerns with cash handling, ACARD purchases – cards university employees can use to make approved, business purchases – personal phone use, sick leave and inadequacy of supervisory oversight.

Thirteen years prior, another UCC audit found it "fiscally irresponsible." Some of the same monetary mishaps, including cash-handling procedures, were scrutinized in the 1992 audit.

Lintz concluded in his police report that "the UCC culture has been left on its own and has no accountability for at least 13 years, and probably beyond that."

The 2005 audit found Miles was the sole person responsible for making deposits for the UCC and the department was using an unapproved petty cash system – something Lintz said was commonly used by Miles to keep thousands of dollars to buy office supplies and reimburse employees.

The 1992 audit warned that if receipts were not issued for cash payments, there would be potential for misappropriation. The latest audit found that receipts were not properly kept, if kept at all, and no proper documentations system was in place to substantiate funds.

Several ACARD purchases by Miles – including one of a cappuccino machine – are considered personal because none of the items could be located at the UCC. Other purchases include 275 pieces of flatware totaling over $300 and a $415 office storage unit, none of which was located in the UCC office by auditors.

Lintz believes the 1992 audit was a slap on the wrist for Miles and Davidshofer . Between 1992 and summer 2005, Lintz said he has no doubt that Miles had been stealing from the university.

"In my opinion, this goes back 13 years," Lintz told the Collegian last November. "This is going to have ramifications for years to come."

Police have always been suspicious of Davidshofer's role and relationship with Miles and eventually decided to issue the summons Friday with support from the Larimer County District Attorney's Office. CSUPD also alerted Linda Kuk, CSU vice president for student affairs and immediate supervisor to Davidshofer, before issuing the summons.

Kuk could not be reached for comment.

"Davidshofer was never the focus; he was just in the background all along," Lintz said.

Police were able to tap into three years of alleged financial woes from, in part, documents secretly recorded by a UCC employee suspicious of Miles. The documents also assisted university auditors in drawing key conclusion about the UCC.

On March 8, the employee contacted authorities, which prompted an audit and eventually a police investigation.

When contacted Sunday, the UCC whistleblower said: "This is something I do not want to get involved in more than I already am."

According to the most recent audit: "It is apparent that UCC management was aware of the inappropriate business practices. Since the deficiencies persist, there is a concern that UCC management is either incapable or unwilling to operate in accordance with state fiscal rules and established university policies."

In 2005, Davidshofer received a Distinguished Administrative Professional award, according to the CSU official Web site, which cited his strong leadership and managerial skills and "wisdom and commitment to the profession and students."

Timeline Graphic Information- Source: CSU Internal Auditing Department

1992: A scheduled CSU internal audit finds the University Counseling Center is "fiscally irresponsible." Auditors lay out a plan of action to remedy the monetary problems. UCC Director Charles Davidshofer and UCC Program Assistant Reva Jeanette Miles sign an agreement.

July 2002: A counseling center employee becomes suspicious and creates an internal spreadsheet tracking deposit transactions made mostly by Miles.

March 2005: The concerned UCC whistleblower contacts the Office of the General Councilor to report the findings.

May 2005: CSUPD becomes aware of the situation.

June 2005: A university audit conducted by Brian Grube, bursar and cash manager for CSU, looks into financial mishandlings of the UCC. Miles is put on paid administrative leave one week before the audit's launch.

September 2005: CSUPD filed a complaint Sept. 2 and a warrant was subsequently issued for Miles' arrest. Records show Miles turned herself in Sept. 6 and immediately posted $5,000 bail. She remains free today.

January 2006: UCC Director Charles Davidshofer is issued a summons on CSU's campus to report to court on charges of first-degree official misconduct.

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