Lawmakers Press SC State President on $50M in Missing Money

WIS-TV (Columbia, South Carolina), January 25, 2011

What did South Carolina State University do with $50 million? The money was supposed to build the James Clyburn Transportation Center, a project that’s 12 years behind schedule. Lawmakers say the answers the university president gave Tuesday are unacceptable.

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How the university spent $24 million that was supposed to build the James Clyburn Transportation Center, and another $26 million on the research programs.

Construction started in July, 12 years behind schedule. State auditors opened an investigation last summer. Cooper [President Dr. George Cooper of South Carolina State University] spent 20 minutes Tuesday answering questions from a house subcommittee.

Cooper told the members that he’d have answers once the audit is finished. “My questions are simple, they’re not difficult questions,” countered Limehouse.

Limehouse asked Cooper about tax dollars the school spent on Clyburn Center interns. “I’ve been informed there were several trips taken, one to Charleston where the interns apparently went to Frankie’s Fun Park, paid for it with these specific funds,” said Limehouse. “Another one, they went to Six Flags Over Georgia and paid for that with these specific funds. Am I going down the wrong road, or am I totally misinformed?”

“I really am not in a position to answer that question,” responded Cooper.

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“Certainly there’s an accountability issue, yes,” said Neal. “And there’s certainly a trust issue as to, can you handle the dollars we’re giving you?”

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