An investigation ordered by Guilford County North Carolina District Attorney Doug Henderson, concluded that neither former A&T Chancellor James C. Renick nor Anna Anita Huff, a program manager who was fired in September 2006, violated any laws or enriched themselves with misused funds discovered in a 2007 audit of the university’s finances.
In September 2007, Henderson asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into a public released auditor’s report that found hundreds of thousands of dollars in university funds had been used inappropriately under the UNC accounting system.
The investigation focused on two funds: the Future Engineering Faculty Fellowship Program, funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research that Huff managed, and a Pepsi vending contract. Money from that contract was intended for student financial aid and campus debt.
Investigators looked at nearly $400,000 from the Pepsi vending contracts that had been transferred into Renick’s discretionary fund.
Although audits found that money from the contracts purchased a $150,000 retirement annuity for a faculty member, travel and artwork, Henderson found the expenditures all benefited the university. Henderson wrote in a news release that Renick didn’t understand the restriction on the vending funds. “We find that former Chancellor James C. Renick did not act in bad faith or with criminal intent,” according to the news release.
Auditors also found that grant money from the Office of Naval Research used in the fellowship program had been spent on a stipend for Huff’s husband, a student in the program, and wages and travel expenses for her daughter, a student employee of the program. The Office of Naval Research approved all the spending and found it to be within the grant’s guidelines, according to the release.
Huff had no influence over the selection committee that chose her husband to participate in the program, and the committee could not have known they were married, according to the release.
Program equipment the audit found missing has been located, and hiring her daughter “was not on its face illegal,” Henderson said, adding, “the university received benefit from her services.”
Renick, left A&T in 2006 to take a position at the American Council on Education in Washington. Under Dr. Renick’s leadership, the University grew by leaps and bounds in enrollment, funding and physical plant.
Prior to the criminal investigation, a building under construction on campus was originally to bear Renick’s name, but a university spokeswoman said it would be named the School of Education Building instead. Whether the University will do the right thing and rename the building in his honor was not addressed by Mabel Scott.
Scott, a special assistant to the vice chancellor for Development and University Relations, declined to comment on Henderson’s decision Tuesday but said: “We are very proud of N.C. A&T State University. … We’re ranked third in research within the UNC system with over $40 million in research and (are) a top producer of graduates in engineering, psychology and accounting.” Scott failed to give credit to Renick’s leadership which elevated A&T to the status of which she speaks. For this reason it might be a great gesture to rename that Education Building in Renick’s honor thus removing the mud from his name.