With a D.C. auditor's report expected to be released next week, City Council members offered conflicting views yesterday of published reports about expenditures by University of the District of Columbia president Robert L. Green for entertainment and travel.
Meanwhile, Green told a UDC Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night that he has received numerous death threats and obscene telephone calls apparently linked to the publicity over his expenses. Green has ordered beefed-up security at his university-owned residence and, according to one board member, has notified D.C. Police Chief Maurice Turner.
Reports in The Washington Post this month, based on materials obtained under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act, showed Green billed the school for 32 trips in less than two years, including one during which he stayed at a $260-a-night Atlanta hotel.
Green hosted functions at his residence that totaled $83,000 in catering services, the reports said. The stories also noted the purchase by Green of $21,045 in household furnishings.
"These kind of revelations help confirm that there is a cavalier attitude towards money up there," said Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), a member of the education committee that oversees the university. "I'm disappointed the revelations have had to come by the council, which is requesting an audit, and the press, which is digging, rather than the trustees [whom] we entrust with that responsibility."
Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large), chairwoman of the education committee, said it was premature to comment until the auditor's findings are known. The committee will hold a hearing on the matter after the audit is released. Council members Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3), William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5) and John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) also said they preferred to withhold comment until then.
The audit will not attempt to judge the level of spending, such as whether catering costs were too high, but will determine whether the proper funding source was used, according to a source familiar with the audit. It will also raise questions about how airplane tickets going in opposite directions could be bought for Green for the same day, but will not speculate on use of the tickets, the source said.
Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) said she believed the council ought to re-examine the legislative history of the university, which was established eight years ago. "Frankly, I am perplexed at all the perks," she said. "I'd like to go back and find out why they were established."
H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) said he is "supportive" of Green. "After all, he is marketing the university," he said.