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Review shows possible ethics violations by FSCJ's former president

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Updated: 7/03/2013 6:28 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News has obtained a copy of the Florida inspector general's review of Florida State College at Jacksonville.

The draft findings show former president Steve Wallace may have violated state ethics laws.

Florida Inspector General Melinda Miquel looked into the expenses of the colleges foundation and reported "We found evidence of weak internal controls and inadequate policies and procedures which allowed the former College President and other staff to use Foundation funds without a clearly documented benefit to the college and in the best interest of the state."

The report also points to travel by Wallace, and in some cases his wife, to Ireland, Thailand, Costa Rica and China, at little to no expense to him, the college or the foundation. The question is who paid for these trips. Accepting gifts from outside interests would be a violation of ethics standards and could even lead to criminal charges.

Gov. Rick Scott said "The IG's draft report on FSCJ exposes egregious and irresponsible actions on the part of the former President at FSCJ. Left unchecked, those actions called into question the institution's ability to act as a trusted public steward of taxpayer dollars. However, under the new leadership of Interim President Will Holcombe and the reconstituted board, I am hopeful FSCJ will restore the public's confidence by focusing on what should be their top priority -- providing Florida students an affordable, high-quality education."

Interim College President Will Holcome said, "We appreciate the thorough and professional job done by Melinda Miguel, the state of Florida's chief inspector general. We have only today received the draft report and will study it to fully understand the findings and recommendations. As with all audits, we have been afforded the opportunity to respond and we will do so in a timely way. Until such time as we have studied the report, we decline to offer any further comment."

The inspector general inspector general has referred the allegations to the Florida Commission on Ethics.
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