The University of the District of Columbia has spent substantially more in public funds for President Robert L. Green's entertainment expenses and official residence than the two other Washington area public universities have spent for their chief executives, according to documents released by UDC.
Documents obtained by The Washington Post under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act show that during a 21-month period Green hosted at least 124 official functions that have cost the university $83,200 for catering services.
This amount is roughly four times what a spokesman for the University of Maryland said its president, who oversees five campuses and 87,000 students, spent on entertainment during the same period. At George Mason University in Fairfax County, all the president's entertainment expenses are paid with private funds, a university spokesman said.
Green said yesterday through a university spokesman that he would have to review UDC records with his budget officers before he could respond to questions about the disparities in spending levels among the chief executives at area universities.
UDC documents also show that since Green, 51, took office in September 1983, the university has reimbursed him $17,900 for small household items, including nearly $1,597 for lamps and $1,369 for towels and linens for the UDC residence near Chevy Chase Circle in Northwest.
University funds were used to pay one bill totaling $901.97 for house plants purchased at Interior Plant Distributors in Rockville on April 13, 1984. The Greens also were reimbursed $629 for one bill for floral arrangements bought last June from New Flower Place in Gaithersburg, and $142 for a glass hummingbird purchased in Michigan.
At George Mason and U-Md. at College Park, state money is used only for maintenance, upkeep, minor repairs and some furniture purchases for the presidents' and chancellors' residences, spokesmen for the universities said.
The official residences at UDC, George Mason, Maryland and many other state-funded universities are used frequently for university functions.
The U-Md. at College Park fiscal 1985 operating budget, excluding federal research funds, was $243 million for a campus with 38,000 students. The fiscal 1985 budget for UDC, which has about 12,600 students, was about $68 million. GMU's operating budget for its campus of 15,550 students in Fairfax County was $64 million for the same period.
UDC is eight years old and, with a smaller and less organized alumni association than older universities, has raised less private funds to cover presidential expenses. Although some of Green's expenses are paid out of D.C. tax dollars, most are financed through fees collected by the university.
The D.C. auditor currently is examining the UDC administration's financial controls and management and is reviewing Green's expenditures for entertainment and household items as part of his audit. No findings have been released.
In addition to his $74,900 annual salary, UDC provides Green a car with a cellular phone, a full-time chauffeur, memberships in clubs, reimbursement for his family's medical expenses and two housekeepers for the UDC residence on Rittenhouse Street NW.
Green held at least 92 official functions in 1984, including 14 that cost more than $1,000 each (excluding functions that Green's office paid for but he did not officially host). UDC Vice President Dwight Cropp said last year's entertainment costs were higher than usual because some funds -- at least $16,000 -- were for Green's inaugural festivities that the board of trustees had insisted on despite his opposition.
The chancellor at Maryland's College Park campus is allowed $18,500 annually for entertainment, all of it from private donations, a spokesman said. The chancellor usually hires the student dining services to cater his functions, according to the spokesman.
At 13-year-old George Mason, the president's entertainment budget also comes entirely from private funds, said Helen Ackerman, a GMU spokesman. On rare occasions when the state pays for a function hosted by the president, Ackerman said, he must submit to state officials a detailed accounting of the expenses and a guest list. No state money may be spent for liquor or flowers, according to Ackerman.
The budget for the current year for maintenance and renovation of the UDC residence is about $114,000. In addition, Green has a special $5,000 revolving account that he requested when he became president to cover items costing less than $500, such as pots, pans, linens, towels and hardware.
Documents obtained under FOIA show that Green and his wife Lettie have used the account to buy items such as a heating pad, night light, feather duster, wooden luggage rack, bridge table, three Christmas stockings, end tables, stemware, candles, a salt and pepper shaker, placemats and napkins, Ralph Lauren sheets, a curio cabinet and a clock radio/cassette.
"I don't think the expenditures have been out of line," Green said during an interview earlier this month. "I have tried to do what a college president is supposed to do. There has been an effort on my part to extend the university to the community." Green said he and his wife spent their own money to buy a television and a stereo since moving into the university house.
The university purchased the president's residence in 1982 for $335,000 and spent $69,000 on new furnishings prior to Green's arrival, according to documents obtained under FOIA. The university spent $11,000 per year to lease furniture but terminated the lease a year after the Greens moved in.
Since Green became president, UDC has spent $21,045 on house furnishings -- including $2,200 for a grandfather clock -- according to records obtained under FOIA. All of the items purchased by the Greens are considered university property.
"The university should fully furnish the house, from toilet paper to linen," Green said. "The grandfather clock adds to the value of the university. I am not an inconsiderate person when it comes to spending funds. I'm a taxpayer, too."
U-Md. at College Park Chancellor John Slaughter receives a maximum of $20,000 in state funds for maintenance and repairs at his official residence. Renovations on the chancellor's house, which have totaled $29,000 in the past two years, were financed with money collected from vending machines on campus, according to Joseph E. Gilmour, the chancellor's executive assistant.
The chancellor's residence is divided into private and public areas, and the university pays only for items in the public section of the house, Gilmour said. New purchases of furniture are selected jointly by the chancellor's spouse and the university's interior decorator, according to Gilmour.
At George Mason, the state contributes $53,000 annually for maintenance and upkeep of the university residence, which includes $14,500 for one housekeeper.
Both Maryland's Slaughter and GMU President George W. Johnson are provided state cars, but neither has a driver or a car phone. U-Md. President John S. Toll has a car and a chauffeur.
About $44,000 in the UDC residence budget comes from tax dollars. The remaining $70,100 comes from the university's postsecondary education account, which is made up of university fees and returns on short-term investments that this fiscal year totaled $252,000.
The Washington Post, under FOIA, asked UDC officials in April for records of expenditures from the president's representation fund -- a discretionary fund to cover expenses while Green is representing the university on official business -- and the postsecondary education account. UDC officials declined to turn over complete records from the postsecondary account but originally agreed to release records from the representation fund. That position was reversed abruptly two weeks ago.
Earlier this month, The Post filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to obtain release of the records.