A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records from the University of the District of Columbia and will begin an investigation of possible fraud and bribery by officials connected with the administration of former president Robert L. Green, sources said yesterday.
The grand jury will review consulting contracts awarded by Green's administration as well as employment contracts of a number of senior administrators hired by Green, according to sources.
Green resigned under pressure 12 days ago after news reports and disclosures by D.C. Auditor Otis H. Troupe that he had misspent thousands of dollars of UDC funds on consulting contracts, travel and personal items.
U.S. Attorney Joseph E. DiGenova, whose office began an investigation last month of alleged financial improprieties by officials at UDC, said yesterday that he was "not at liberty to either confirm or deny the existence of [a grand jury] investigation."
Sources said the university received a subpoena from Assistant U.S. Attorney Rhonda C. Fields, who is assigned to the UDC case, asking the university to release records of contracts that Green awarded to more than a dozen former associates, many of whom were his colleagues at Michigan State University. Green was a dean at Michigan State before accepting the UDC presidency in September 1983.
Among the consulting contracts that the grand jury will review are a number awarded to Cassandra A. Simmons, a former student of Green's at Michigan State. The Washington Post reported in July that Simmons, an assistant professor at the East Lansing campus, had received $37,200 in consulting fees from UDC, as well as a $10,000 consulting contract from then-D.C. Secretary Dwight S. Cropp shortly after Green took office. Cropp later became a UDC vice president.
The grand jury also will investigate contracts Green awarded to Maxie C. Jackson and W. Louis Stone, both former Michigan State colleagues who are now provost and budget director at UDC, sources said.
In addition, sources said, the contracts of at least five other consultants from Michigan will be investigated, including two contracts awarded to Arthur Dudley, a relative of Green's by marriage, who received more than $1,000 in fees for contracts and travel expenses to UDC during Green's presidency.
Sources said the subpoena covers a host of UDC records, including canceled checks and vouchers, employment and payroll records, work products of consultants, travel documents and resumes.
The subpoena said the records were to be used as part of the grand jury's review of "possible violations" of several federal codes, including those covering bribery and fraud, sources said. The documents from UDC will be turned over to one of several federal grand juries now hearing cases in the District.
Next week, City Council member Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large), who heads the council's Education Committee, will begin hearings on UDC's financial management. The hearings will cover the role of the UDC trustees in the Green controversy as well as efforts by UDC officials to reduce the university's administrative staff. Sources said Mason's hearings will also focus on employes hired by Green.
Next week the UDC trustees will hold their first formal meeting since Green's resignation and are expected to vote on new board officers, a politically charged issue because the board chairmanship is now up for grabs. The next chairman will preside over the selection of a permanent replacement for Green as well as a series of audits of university finances that are expected to be completed by Troupe and the national accounting firm hired by the trustees, Coopers & Lybrand, in the coming weeks.
Last week, a subcommittee of the board interviewed a number of Green's top aides to try to identify how the former president's spending went unchecked.
Another trustees' subcommittee has issued several recommendations that would decrease the household and residential perquisites given to the UDC president.
Under the terms of his $74,900 contract, Green was provided with two fulltime maids and a revolving $5,000 household account that entitled him to make unlimited purchases of household items costing less than $500.